Can your phone be used to help prevent fraud? That’s the idea behind Finsphere, a Bellevue mobile security startup that matches the location of a consumer’s mobile phone with financial transactions occurring at ATMs, banks or retail stores. If something seems out of whack — for example ATM withdrawals are occurring in San Francisco when your phone is actually in Seattle — alerts are sent out.
The company, led by wireless veteran Michael Buhrmann, has raised $11.3 million of a $15.4 million venture capital round, according to a SEC filing. It’s unclear whether a $3.95 million round raised in October is part of the new round.
Prior to the latest capital infusion, Finsphere had raised more than $20 million from Shasta Ventures, Mohr Davidow and Frazier Technology Ventures. We’ve reached out to Buhrmann for comment about the new capital, and we’ll update the post when we hear more.
Last year, Buhrmann offered this explanation to GeekWire on how Finsphere works.
“Your mobile phone is such a personal device now and it is something that people carry with them everywhere, all of the time, that it can end up being synonymous with who you are,” he said. “So, the big idea was: ‘Could we use your mobile phone as a proxy for your identity?”
Here’s Buhrmann — a former McCaw Cellular and @Mobile exec — describing the service.
UPDATE: Finsphere confirmed the funding amount on Monday, issuing this press release:
Finsphere Corporation, a leading provider of identity analytics, today announced an $11.3 million investment led by Vodafone Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Vodafone Group. Finsphere will utilize the additional funding to expand its patented Identity Security Services platform and grow its strategic partnerships with wireless carriers and targeted key industry players.
“Through strategic relationships with mobile network operators and working with key industry partners, Finsphere enables wireless carriers to help protect their customers,” said Mike Buhrmann, CEO of Finsphere. “Finsphere provides a sophisticated analytics platform for the development of non-intrusive identity services to enhance privacy and protect information across all industry segments.”
Tobin Ireland, Group Director of Commercial Development at Vodafone, joins the Finsphere Board of Directors. Also participating in theinvestment are existing Finsphere investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Shasta Ventures, and Frazier Technology Ventures.
Finsphere uses its unique knowledge of identity validation and wireless technologies to offer companies non-intrusive, privacy enhancing solutions for multi-factor authentication of credit and debit card transactions, new account applications, online banking activities, mobile payments, enterprise access events and personal online identities.