BIO-key to acquire IDaaS provider PistolStar
16 June 2020 16:16 GMT

BIO-key International, a provider of biometric software and hardware solutions for enterprise authentication, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy privately-held PistolStar, an established provider of large-scale on-premise and Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) identity and access management (IAM) solutions, for $2.5 million in cash.  PistolStar’s highly complementary team and products will become part of BIO-key’s organization and offerings. 

The acquisition will be immediately accretive to both revenue and operating income and is subject to customary closing conditions.  The transaction is expected to close by the end of Q2 2020.  BIO-key will fund the purchase with a combination of cash on hand, an escrowed deposit, short term financing, and a 12-month promissory note.  PistolStar’s founder will remain in a consulting role to assist BIO-key after the acquisition.  PistolStar’s 2019 revenues were $1.65 million and net profit excluding prior owner compensation of $455K (unaudited).

PistolStar’s flagship product is PortalGuard, a highly regarded enterprise multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO) platform deployed and used by millions of users at hundreds of customers around the world.  PortalGuard delivers a flexible but uniform cloud or workstation logon MFA experience for cohesively securing an enterprise’s users and cloud applications.  PortalGuard supports nearly every cloud authentication federation standard, all major directories, and a wide variety of authenticators, including BIO-key’s world-class passwordless biometric capabilities. 

PistolStar is complementary to BIO-key in three strategic growth areas.  First, it will allow BIO-key to capitalize on a growing demand for biometrics as an MFA factor, by providing “super-MFA” IDaaS, hybrid, or on-prem solutions that offer BIO-key-based advantages and options simply not found in competing MFA offerings, while allowing enterprises to leverage existing investments in factors their users already have.

Second, adding PistolStar’s experienced team and outstanding product line significantly expands BIO-key’s market reach and revenue potential, combining an already proven suite of IAM and IDaaS solutions with BIO-key’s superior biometric user experience and value proposition.  Going forward, PortalGuard customers can start with the authenticators their users already have, then raise their MFA ceiling by strategically adding BIO-key’s powerful server-based biometrics to provide users with a persistent, portable positive authenticator that doesn’t rely on a token or phone, and can’t be shared or lost.  The combination of PortalGuard and BIO-key solutions will make BIO-key the only biometric IDaaS provider owning its entire biometric IP stack, which is important when committing to a strategic technology like biometrics.

In addition to BIO-key’s server biometric platform, PortalGuard supports all major authentication factors found in the enterprise, including Windows Hello, FIDO/WebAuthn hardware keys such as YubiKey and Feitan, RSA SecurID hard and soft tokens, Google and Microsoft Authenticator apps, printed bar codes, and challenge questions.  PortalGuard also supports leading federation and SSO standards including, SAML, OAuth v2.0/OpenIDConnect, Shibboleth, CAS v3.0, RADIUS, and desktop Kerberos, making it compatible with most SaaS and web-based applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Office 365, Workday, AWS, GSuite, Atlassian, SAP, DocuSign, as well as common IAM frameworks such as Okta, ForgeRock, Ping, IBM ISAM, and CA/Symantec SiteMinder.  PortalGuard integrates with Microsoft Active Directory (on-prem or Azure AD), OpenLDAP, IBM System I, Lotus Domino or custom SQL directories.

Third, the PortalGuard customer base includes over 200 institutions and enterprises, with a strong presence in higher education, and has little overlap with BIO-key’s existing customer base, thereby creating significant cross-selling potential. The combined organizations will benefit from consolidation of sales, administration and finance functions, while allowing PistolStar’s development team to continue to innovate their product line.  BIO-key also expects to generate improved gross margins by eliminating licensing payments on PistolStar technology currently included in BIO-key’s ID Director for Windows solution.

BIO-key’s CEO Michael DePasquale, commented, “PistolStar’s PortalGuard, and the talented team behind it, are the perfect complement to BIO-key’s industry-leading suite of biometric security and authentication solutions.  Cyber-attacks are growing threats to global enterprises and small businesses alike, and implementing MFA is high on most IAM roadmaps.  Still, large functionality gaps exist in traditional MFA solutions, including how to handle roving and work-from-anywhere users, how to prevent unauthorized account delegation, and absorbing the cost of multiple authenticators per user to prevent lost token downtime.  Phone authenticators only authenticate the phone, not the user, and many workplaces prohibit phones for safety or security reasons.  The time for secure, privacy-by-design server-based biometric authentication is now.   PortalGuard and BIO-key will allow enterprises to leverage whatever legacy authenticators they have, and then elevate their capabilities using biometrics where it makes sense.  The acquisition will be immediately accretive to both revenue and operating income, in addition to enhancing our suite of solutions to include an IDaaS and  significantly expanding our global sales potential, while reducing time to value.”