June 22, 2021

Dear Friends of Bindle Systems,

Today is our one year anniversary (!) and we are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished in a whirlwind 12 months.

Topics covered below: impact of CDC’s updated guidelines; CLEAR’s IPO; signed channel partnerships; our current round of financing; a look back on our first year (by the numbers).

As per usual, everything in these updates is public and can be forwarded to anyone.

Thanks as always for your support!

Team Bindle

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A Tale of Two Markets

It’s very easy to be confused by the current market for health passes in the United States. On the one hand, it seems like the market is too politically fraught to be viable or perhaps not even necessary. Governors of some US states are banning “vaccine passports” altogether, the Biden administration is maintaining its position not to create a federal system, and many offices, schools, and merchants seem to be fine with the “honor system”.

And yet, on the other hand, the view from the ground is the complete opposite: our positioning as the antithesis of a “vaccine passport” is resonating, and our revenue growth and pipeline have never been stronger. Envoy has sent us dozens of new leads for “return to work” over the last several weeks, including some well-known F500 companies; our partnership with Tessitura will connect us to their 700+ venues looking for solutions to safely reopen, and PNC will be taking us into 280 colleges and universities.

So what’s driving the dichotomy? Shared spaces are broadly falling into two camps: those that assume the pandemic is effectively over in the US and don’t want to deal with health verification; and those that recognize the endemic nature of COVID-19 and are preparing for another year (or more) of variants, boosters and continued uncertainty. Some in this latter category have also indicated to us that they want to deploy health verification infrastructure in anticipation of the next pandemic.

But regardless of what’s causing the dichotomy, here’s the bottom line for Bindle: we have more conviction than ever that health verification will be one of the fastest growing technology sectors in the US over the next several years, and we believe we have built precisely the right product for this market.

CLEAR’s IPO

All of this makes CLEAR’s recent S-1 filing an especially interesting development for us. The IPO, led by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, is arguably a strong validation of the importance of identity platforms in the digital age. CLEAR intends to list on the NYSE under the stock ticker YOU, which is a reinforcement of their tag line “You Are You”, a play on the fact that your biometrics are your passport to speed through life.

Now that sounds an awful lot like the promise of self-sovereign identity (SSI), right? Where you as the individual are at the center of your digital life? “You Are You”, after all.

But here’s where that begins to fall apart: CLEAR’s business model is based on a centralized database of biometric data. We think this centralized biometric approach will prove problematic because 1) it requires expensive hardware to read the biometrics, 2) centralized biometric identification is currently not a reliably smooth customer experience, 3) a database of biometric information is a significant honeypot for hackers and 4) the data can be legally accessed by the government.

In fact, the CLEAR model is the exact opposite of SSI from a customer experience, privacy, security, and regulatory perspective. Perhaps not surprisingly, this centralized approach is a legacy of the fact that CLEAR was started 18 years ago – long before the widespread commercialization of blockchain or distributed ledgers.

By contrast, as many of you know, Bindle’s SSI platform is a new way of thinking about identity that allows each of us to have total control over our personal information and then choose where, when, and with whom we share that information, without ever revealing the underlying data. With SSI, no one but the individual has access to personal data or health information. Not the places we visit. Not the government. Not even Bindle itself. Instead the data is stored decentralized, in a personal data locker, and encrypted in such a way that only the individuals can decrypt the data. The government and Big Tech are kept entirely out of our private lives.

So what does CLEAR’s IPO mean for us in practice? Probably not much, actually. We’ll remain willing, eager, and able to interoperate with them when the time is right. And we’ll continue to reinforce the foundational differences between our two platforms:

Bindle

CLEAR

Decentralized data architecture / no honeypot

Centralized data architecture / honeypot

Built on open and interoperable standards

Closed and proprietary

Anonymous

Biometrics (face, fingerprint, iris)

No storage of activity or check-ins

Large data warehouse of activity

Warrant-proof and subpoena-proof

Long term contracts with US Government

Orders of magnitude lower cost structure

Orders of magnitude higher cost structure


Signed Channel Partnerships

Our channel-based GTM is playing out well. STChealth has relationships with 54 of the 62 vaccine registries in the US; Envoy is the access control software platform for 14,000+ offices around the country; Tessitura Network works with 700+ arts and cultural venues globally; PNC solutions is the EMR provider to 280 American colleges and universities; and the Manhattan and Queens Chambers of Commerce collectively have thousands of members who employ hundreds of thousands of individuals.

Financing Round

The syndicate is coming together nicely and we also expect to have several partners and customers participate in the round, either the entities themselves or the founders/executives as individuals. We expect the round to get wrapped up over the next few weeks with an announcement by the end of July.

Bindle’s First Year By The Numbers

250+ Zoom stand-ups
100+ Kid cameos
30 FTEs
28 Advisory Board Members
25 Signed Customer Contracts
15 App updates since first approved in App stores
7 Signed Channel Partnerships
1 Exceptionally unexpected Yoda Zoom avatar (on May 4th, of course)
0 Times when all of us have been in the same physical space

 

Team Additions, Open Positions, and a Note/Request re Diversity

Jack Rosenzweig

Jack Rosenzweig has joined the Bindle Customer Success team. His focus will be to establish support operations processes to ensure seamless monitoring and availability of our platform to all our customers with an eye to scaling the customer support response as Bindle grows. Jack comes to Bindle after a pair of lengthy stints at technology startups: (1) 14 years with Second Street Media Solutions providing email marketing and contesting solutions to more than 3000 media companies, spending time in almost every department during his tenure focusing on third party integrations with key enterprise accounts. (2) And before that, 14 years with MediaSpan where he oversaw seven product lines creating mission critical software for the newspaper publishing industry as it migrated first to desktop publishing and then online. Jack lives outside of Washington DC in suburban Maryland with his wife, Sherri. They have four children between them: Emily recently earned her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan, Noah is a rising junior at the University of Michigan, Sydney is a rising junior at the University of South Carolina and Jack is a rising high school senior.

Open Positions

We are recruiting for both Inside Sales (Managers and Individual Contributors) and Customer Support (Managers and Individual Contributors). We anticipate a search for a Head of People and Culture in the near term as well.

Note/Request re Diversity

We are actively looking to increase the diversity (along many demographics) of our team and pipeline, both for the roles above and in general. If you know of organizations that can be helpful in this regard, or have specific candidates you’d like to refer, please get in touch.

Materials
Gus Warren (he/him/his)
Co-founder and CEO
Bindle Systems – A Public Benefit Corporation

Bindle Systems is a Public Benefit Corporation founded in the early days of COVID-19 to build software tools for pandemic defense. Our first product is a private proof-of-health system specifically designed to safely reopen communities without sacrificing freedoms or civil liberties. Individuals use Bindle as a health wallet to securely carry vaccine records, test results, and symptom surveys. Workplaces, schools, and other venues use Bindle to quickly and anonymously verify the COVID-19 health status of employees, students, customers, and guests. Bindle is safer than the “honor system” and infinitely more private than “vaccine passports”. Individuals have complete control of their data and no personal health information is ever shared with venues, the government, BigTech, or even Bindle itself. The platform was designed and commercialized by serial entrepreneurs who have also held executive product and technology roles at AOL, American Express, CLEAR, Samsung, and Time Warner. Our team has expertise across multiple disciplines including infectious disease, public health, social impact, privacy-by-design, cryptography, decentralized computing, and open source software. More information can be found at https://joinbindle.com.