The CIA’s Venture Firm Invests in Mobile Cloud Security


By Anam Alpenia, Red Herring

In-Q-Tel, the venture capital firm of the Central Intelligence Agency, made a strategic investment backed by a technology development agreement in cloud mobile security provider Tyfone for its “proven capabilities” in secure ID and NFC. An independent nonprofit, the firm’s primary purpose is to identify “innovative technology solutions to support the U.S. Government,” according to the press release.

The size of the investment is undisclosed.

Based in Portland, Oregon, Tyfone specializes in mobile financial transaction security and identity solutions. In a world going to the cloud, the company’s technology enables distributed authentication and cloud security on any network. The company produces a mobile banking platform, a mobile wallet, contactless NFC, marketing tools, and hardware products. Founded in 2004, the company serves several US credit unions as customers. It has over 300 issued invention claims along with 50 issued and pending patents in the U.S., Taiwan and Patent Cooperating Treaty countries.

“Tyfone has an impressive patent portfolio and history of innovation in mobile financial, secure ID management, and NFC solutions,” said Jay Emmanuel, Technology VP at IQT. “We believe that Tyfone’s technology has the potential to address a wide range of complex government and commercial secure identity challenges.”

Though there’s no guaranty the US government will pick up Tyfone’s technology, it’s likely expecting something for its money. Cyber terror has been identified by the US government as a crucial terror threat, so it makes sense that the government is putting its money behind its press releases.

“A key benefit of our strategic partnership with IQT is the ability to take our innovative mobile security and NFC platform to the U.S. government,” said Siva Narendra, CEO and co-founder of Tyfone. “Our platform includes high volume manufactured hardware that brings smartcard security and NFC to virtually any mobile phone, tablet or PC. In addition, our mobile platform’s software has processed over 7 million secure financial transactions, and we look forward to extending it to IQT’s government customers.”