BMW’s venture capital firm, BMW i Ventures, has announced its lead investment in a US$10m (£8.75m) Series A round for Alitheon, an optical AI technology company.
Alitheon’s FeaturePrint technology is designed to digitise physical objects for irrefutable identification, authentication, and tracing, and the elimination of misidentification and misuse of items.
BMW i Ventures previously invested in the company’s seed round and is co-leading this round of investment alongside Imagine Ventures, a Seattle-based venture capital firm.
According to BMW, by using additive and antiquated solutions, such as stickers, barcodes and QR codes, to identify items, companies place themselves at high risk of losing traceability and facing counterfeits.
However, by capturing an item’s image with a standard off-the-shelf camera, Alitheon’s FeaturePrint optical AI reportedly ‘sees’ and renders minuscule surface details of the item into its own unique profile.
As a result, this is said to enable effective identification of the item among millions like it, ensuring product authenticity and provenance.
“The counterfeit crisis is a major cause of concern – not only for economic reasons, but even more as individual safety is concerned,” said Marcus Behrendt, managing partner at BMW i Ventures.
“Alitheon’s cutting-edge technology and ability to bring trust and safety back to supply chains is groundbreaking.”
What’s more, Alitheon’s FeaturePrint does not require special hardware investment, change to manufacturing lines or physical change to the item.
With the new capital, Alitheon said it aims to invest in new talent and accelerate its sales and marketing efforts to fuel expansion of its FeaturePrint technology across more industries, including aerospace, collectibles, industrial manufacturing, luxury goods, medical and precious metals.