Jumio Improves Its Computer Vision Software & SDK; Mobile Wallet Could Be Next

Jumio, a mobile payments and ID-scanning startup backed by $32 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Eduardo Saverin and others, is today releasing a new version of its Netswipe Mobile SDK alongside improvements to its core technology. The updated SDK, which is the software developers use to add Jumio’s mobile payment functionality to their apps, has been improved on a number of fronts, from card-reading and auto focus capabilities to app publishers’ ability to customize the branding in the screens Jumio displays.

But these improvements are not all that Jumio has in store, it seems.

According to new Jumio CMO Marc Barach, who previously served as CEO & CMO of Emotive prior to joining the startup just a couple of weeks ago, the white labeling option is being seen by some of its customers as their secret weapon. “They don’t want their competitors to utilize it as well, until it becomes more common knowledge,” he says. Barach says Jumio has several of these big-name customers who have established volume deals for use of the software, but declined to provide names or hard numbers regarding the size of the developer install base. He did place it in the “hundreds,” however, as opposed to the thousands and admits they saw a bump following competitor Card.io’s exit to PayPal. “We were able to immediately engage with a number of companies who were using that service when it was a standalone company, but have a different view now that it is part of PayPal,” he says.

Now Jumio is trying to incentivize more developers to install their software with the lure of cold, hard cash. The company announced a $5 million Jumio SDK Developer Fund in May which funds 500 free scans per month per developer for smaller-scale startups. Larger companies pay $0.15 per transaction, or negotiate their own volume deal. $1 million of that fund has already been used up, and Barach speculates the rest will be distributed over the next 60 to 90 days.

Other improvements to Jumio’s core technology rolling out today include better security and improved performance and auto-focus. These latter two items allow Jumio’s software to function better in real-world scenarios like low light, or where the user’s hands shake, the card is angled to the side or to the back, the thumb is covering a lot of the card’s surface, and other issues which could have previously slowed the scan time down.

Now, scans are 2 to 2.5 seconds long, with the entire process, including transmission,  taking 4.5-5 seconds in total. Barach compares these numbers to keyed-in entry which takes, on average, 50 seconds to complete. And because Jumio’s other product, the id verification system known as Netverify, also takes advantage of the same core technology, it too benefits from the algorithm enhancements here, as does the desktop version of Netswipe.

In addition, developers who struggled before to implement the mobile SDK will also benefit from other improvements to the SDK itself. Whereas before, the time varied based on the developer’s own proficiency, the entire implementation process has been shaved down to 20 minutes, with improved documentation as well. Before, some developers may have worked for an hour on implementation or even required hands-on help.

As for what’s next, Barach says that Jumio has yet another product in the works that will leverage its core technology in a new way. While he couldn’t discuss what it was exactly, we do know that it’s mobile-facing and it’s arriving in October of this year. Of course, the obvious next step for this company would be to build a mobile wallet application of some sort which would enable customers to quickly digitize all their cards, credit, debit, ID and otherwise. Perhaps something similar to what Lemon is dong, or even Apple’s forthcoming Passbook. So, Jumio, is it a wallet?

“That’s a good idea, I’ll take note of that,” Barach says with a laugh. Aw, c’mon. It’s a wallet, right? “It’s possible,” he says.