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COMPUTEX Must-See Startup: Birosign, secure online signature verification service in the age of pandemic

Angela Kao 2021/06/08

As millions of people have been asked to work from home due to the pandemic, especially now in Taiwan, the importance of safe, cost-efficient, paperless, and fast digital administration for remote work can hardly be overemphasized. Compared to traditional ownership-based biometrics, Hungarian startup Birosign offers a more secure alternative for companies to have their contracts signed online.

2021 Taipei International Computer Exhibition "COMPUTEX Virtual" organized by TAITRA and Taipei Computer Association has started online since 31st May. Epoch Foundation, which has long been introducing international resources to assist local member companies to upgrade their industries, has selected "46 Must-See Startups" from worldwide applications via their Garage+ program to join the exhibition, including signature verification service provider Birosign.

Founded in 2018, Hungarian startup Birosign provides a signature verification service for frequent signers and companies in the financial, IT and public sectors that are in need of frequent contract signing.

Birosign identifies users by the fine motor movements of the hand. It traces handwritten gestures of the individuals through stylus, trains the algorithm with the traced movement data, and thus It's matching algorithm can analyze the unique characteristics of individuals' signatures to authenticate the signees.

Birosign provides a secure way of keeping traditional signing authentication in the digital world

Balázs Nagy came up with the idea as he was working as a research assistant in an educational institution where documents requiring personal signature accounted for a large portion of his work. Sending the papers back-and-forth could take a lot of time, but there wasn't a better solution at the time since digital document signing services weren't secure enough.

"Billions of documents are signed annually and billion-dollar losses, million-dollar verdicts due to signature forgery worldwide, since the visual difference is hardly distinguishable for non-professionals." said Balázs Nagy, CEO of Birosign. Since current digital document signing providers do not verify the signatures when using a tablet for signing contracts, the recipient of the contract can not be sure that the signature appearing on the digital contract was provided by the real counterparty of the contract.

As for traditional biometrics such as fingerprint detection, face recognition, or knowledge-based methods like PIN and passwords, "they can be stolen, forged, or forgotten," said Balázs Nagy.

However, the hand movement of each person when signing is unlikely to be forged. "Our technology is based on the dynamic signature, a unique handwritten gesture", said Balázs Nagy. "The signature imprint is not essential in our approach, because the whole hand movement is traced." Thus, he believes the security level of their technology is much higher than traditional biometrics.

In addition, they have already invented their own stylus - the Birosign Pen, which has won the 2019 Red Dot Design Award and 2020 Hungarian Design Award. It is equipped with sensitive sensors designed to capture the characteristics of individual signatures.

The second-generation Birosign Pen has won 2019 Red Dot design award However, as Birosign has a working prototype of their algorithm technology, it can be adapted to third-party devices. Thus, the application works with not only Birosign Pen but also the pens of other major manufacturers, such as Apple Pencil and Adonit styluses.

Therefore, they are now focusing mainly on expanding their B2B and B2B2C business. That is, licensing their signature verification service for document signing providers and more stylus manufacturers.

Currently, Birosign consists of six people with academic STEM backgrounds, and three of them are family members. They see the increasing need in the digital signature market not only in the US and Europe but also in Asia. On top of that, Nagy thinks that Taiwan has a great capability of both technology and hardware manufacturing. Hence they applied for the Epoch Foundation's Garage+ Startup Global Program, looking for possible hardware manufacturing partners in Taiwan.

About the Author
Angela Kao
Author >

Angela Kao is a freelance journalist pursuing a master's degree in Journalism at National Taiwan University. With experiences in both starups and media organizations, she is devoted to reporting news regarding startups and trending technologies in Taiwan.

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