Alcatraz AI is building Face ID for corporate badges

Meet Alcatraz AI, a startup that wants to replace all the badge readers in your office with a Face ID-like camera system. Alcatraz has integrated multiple sensors to identify faces and unlock doors effortlessly.

If you think about it, it’s weird that fingerprint sensors took off on mobile but everybody is still using plastic badges for their offices. Sure, high-security buildings use fingerprint and iris scanners. But it adds too much friction in too many cases.

First, when everybody gets back from their lunch break, it can create a traffic jam if everybody needs to place their finger on a sensor. Second, onboarding new employees would require you to add their biometric information to the system. It can be cumbersome for big companies.

Alcatraz AI promises a faster badging experience with facial authentication. When you join a company, you also get a physical badge. The first few times you use the badge, Alcatraz AI scans your face to create a model for future uses — after a while, you can leave your badge at the office.

The company has built custom hardware with three different sensors that include both traditional RGB sensors and infrared sensors for 3D mapping. Customers pay Alcatraz AI to install those hybrid badge/face readers. After that, companies pay an annual fee in order to use the platform.

Alcatraz AI customers get analytics, real-time notifications and can detect tailgating. This way, if somebody isn’t supposed to go in the secret lab, Alcatraz AI can detect if they’re trying to sneak in by following someone who is authorized to go in there.

The idea is that the ongoing license cost should cover what your company was paying for guards. The startup has raised nearly $6 million from Hardware Club, Ray Stata, JCI Ventures, Ruvento Ventures and Hemi Ventures.