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Business

Turn Your Mobile Phone Into a Wallet

Richardson-based DeviceFidelity has big plans for the future of cellular devices.
By Mark Druskoff |
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DeviceFidelity co-founder Deepak Jain is obsessed with innovation. photoraphy by Trevor Paulhus

When it comes to leading DeviceFidelity, Deepak Jain is laser-locked on one thing: innovation. “Groundbreaking technology leads to market-dominating companies,” he says.

That’s the key principle upon which Jain co-founded the company with his college chum Amitaabh Malhotra in 2007. And Jaim puts his money where his mouth is.

Employees are judged and rewarded based on the innovations they contribute to DeviceFidelity. “Everyday … we think innovation,” he says.
The obsession is understandable.

Richardson-based DeviceFidelity is racing to bridge two very large and complex industries—telecom and banking—so that people can use their phones as electronic “wallets.”

In a nutshell, the company’s technology stores credentials through a plug-in microSD card to certify the identity of the user. No more swiping a credit card at a checkstand; with the company’s microSD card, you simply wave and go.

DeviceFidelity began generating revenue this year, and expects to have $10 million in sales by 2011. Critical to its growth will be the company’s expansion internationally—first to Europe, then to Asia.

To fund that growth, DeviceFidelity is looking to raise an undisclosed sum from strategic investors. Although Jain declines to disclose which firms he’s talking with, some heavyweights have partnered with the company in the past.

Earlier this year, for example, Visa announced a strategic partnership with DeviceFidelity, and Apple endorsed the company’s technology for use with its iPhone. (Jain describes the last development as a “big dream come true.”)

The company also has strong local ties. AT&T works with DeviceFidelity and is “very important” to the company’s future, Jain says. In addition, most of the company’s $8 million in start-up capital has come from Dallas-area angels including investors James Erwin, Jim Graves, and Sydney Smith Hicks. It also has received support from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.

As the boundaries between physical and digital forms of identification blur, Jain believes that in the future your phone could hold any number of important credentials—from a driver’s license to a DART pass to a Starbuck’s card.

Within five years, Jain hopes DeviceFidelity will own 50 percent of its market.

“We want to be known as the company that made the mobile phone synonymous with transactions,” he says.