Be authentic, be yourself. Be authenticated with yourself.

- John Whaley, Founder and CEO of UnifyID


UnifyID is the first holistic implicit authentication platform designed for online and physical world use. This solution utilizes sensor data from everyday devices and machine learning to seamlessly authenticate users. By combining 100+ attributes, UnifyID achieves more than 99.999% true rejection rate.


The UnifyID product consists of an app that runs on your devices as well as a cloud service. The local apps periodically collect sensor data from the local device, process it, and communicate with the cloud service. We use a variety of data sources all of which are implicit in nature, requiring no conscious action by the user. On mobile devices, we make use of a variety of sensors including GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, barometer, ambient light, and wifi and Bluetooth signal telemetries.

All sensor data is processed locally and we send a small stream of extracted features to our cloud-based machine learning system, which automatically finds correlations between factors and discovers what makes you unique. The data is kept on the local device, is encrypted and anonymized using best practices in differential privacy. We only periodically sample sensor data when it’s necessary, so the impact on battery life and data usage is minimal.

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What others are saying about UnifyID?

Fortunately, we all benefit from the inventive and ingenious minds solving tomorrow’s problems in industries like health, virtual reality, and cyber security today.

UnifyID demonstrated they were the most innovative by proving there is a way to actually leverage the individuality of humans to improve security.

UnifyID is designed to know it’s you because you’re unique and you have different ways of behaving that make you, you.

Whaley, who has a master’s in computer science from MIT and a doctorate in the field from Stanford, is catching attention. His company competed with scores of others as the most innovative startup in the field of cybersecurity at last month’s RSA conference in San Francisco, which drew 43,000 attendees, and won in a unanimous decision of the judges.

Forget fingerprints -- UnifyID wants to use machine learning and factors like the way you walk to identify you as you. That's great. Passwords are risky. Even fingerprints can be stolen.

One example where machine learning and anomaly detection can actually work well for security is in classifying human behavior. Humans, it turns out, are fairly predictable, and it is possible to build fairly accurate models of individual user behavior and detect when it doesn’t match their normal behavior.

UnifyID uses signal processing and sensor fusion to combine multiple signals into a set of attributes that expose the unique aspects of each individual.

It took a lot of work, but what we discovered was both shocking and heartening: it turns out people are both very predictable and very unique in their behaviours, actions, and environments. In essence, there is only one you in the world, and it was possible to authenticate you based on the sensors already around you. UnifyID was born.

Aaron Jacobson, a venture capitalist with New Enterprise Associates, says eliminating password verification at least 90 per cent of the time would improve website users’ experiences.


Founder Photos and Biographies

John Whaley

Founder, CEO

John Whaley is Founder and CEO of UnifyID. He was previously Founder and CTO of Moka5, and was a Visiting Lecturer in Computer Science at Stanford. He is an expert in computer security and has spoken at numerous conferences and industry events. He holds a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University, where he made key contributions to the fields of program analysis, compilers, and virtual machines. He is the winner of numerous awards including the Arthur L. Samuel Thesis Award for Best Thesis at Stanford, and has worked at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center and Tokyo Research Lab. John was named one of the top 15 programmers in the USA Computing Olympiad. He also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from MIT.

Kurt Somerville

Founder, COO

Kurt Somerville is Founder and COO of UnifyID. He is a domain expert in growth and strategic operations and has worked in technology startups for the duration of his professional career. Kurt has worked with Fortune and Global Executives in the areas of Enterprise Security, Risk Management, and Business Continuity. He also specializes in working with companies to grow their presence and meet the technical demands of partners and customers. He has built numerous growth strategies that utilize nontraditional methods to achieve high success rates. He was also a key organizer in the inaugural US National Drone Racing Championships and enjoys tinkering on DIY projects. Kurt studied Business Administration at Suffolk University and has merged his technical and business abilities to enable success at every growth stage.

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In March 2015, UnifyID was founded by John Whaley and Kurt Somerville.

In January 2016, UnifyID received its first seed investment and opened a modest 1,000 square foot office in SoMa, San Francisco.

In September 2016, UnifyID placed TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield Runner-up out of over 1,000 startups.

In October 2016, UnifyID hosts its first private beta party for early adopters at HQ.

In November 2016, UnifyID kicks off its inaugural AI Fellowship, Fall Edition.

In December 2016, UnifyID conducts global security survey across 700+ organizations.

In February 2017, UnifyID Scores a Unanimous Win at RSA Innovation Sandbox!

In March 2017, UnifyID sweeps SXSW and places #1 in Security & Privacy.

As of 2017


For press inquiries, please email or to learn more about our latest, visit us on our staff blog.


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