EBRD supports innovative technology firm Alcatraz AI

By Olga Aristeidou

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  • EBRD supports development of innovative technologies in Bulgaria
  • Equity investment in rapidly growing company Alcatraz AI
  • Investment supports advancement and expansion of Alcatraz AI’s autonomous access-control solutions.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the product development, sales and marketing of Alcatraz AI with an equity investment, as part of a US$ 25 million, series-A financing round.

The round was led by Almaz Capital and included the EBRD, Endeavor Catalyst, Silverline Capital and Golden Seeds, along with participation from existing investors JCI Ventures (the corporate venture arm of Johnson Controls), Ray Stata and LDV Partners.

Alcatraz AI transforms access control by leveraging artificial intelligence and analytics to make powerful decisions at the edge. The company is based in the US, with a software product development team in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Alcatraz AI has developed a physical-access control solution that enables touchless and secure entry to buildings based on facial authentication and artificial intelligence (AI). Its state-of-the-art product, the Rock, is the first AI-driven facial authentication access equipment powering autonomous access and is deployed at some of the most successful enterprises in the world, including 25 of the Fortune 500 firms.

The EBRD’s participation is part of its Venture Capital Investment Programme, which supports early and growth-stage technology companies via equity and equity-linked instruments. The programme’s overarching objectives are the development and commercialisation of innovative technology and the drawing-in of top venture capital funds to the EBRD regions, where the availability of venture capital remains very low and venture capital systems are still nascent.

“We are excited to support the team as it scales up its biometric authentication technology to make entrance to buildings and spaces secure and frictionless,” said Aziza Zakhidova, Principal Banker in the EBRD’s Venture Capital team.

Tina D’Agostin, CEO of Alcatraz AI, commented: “At Alcatraz AI, we believe that safety and security is the first principle, and we are committed to leading a new era of frictionless access control by leveraging the unique power of the human face to make accessing spaces as secure, quick and easy as unlocking your phone. We are excited to enter the next phase of our company's growth by partnering with our investors with a strong track record scaling companies globally that deliver next-generation technology.”

The EBRD puts a digital focus at the heart of its activities – investments, policy engagement and advisory services – across the Bank’s regions and aims to play a leading role in shaping the impact of digitalisation.

The EBRD is a major investor in Bulgaria and has committed more than €4.3 billion to 275 projects in the country to date. 

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