Encryption Startup Niobium Secures $5.5M Funding

Encryption Startup Niobium Secures $5.5M Funding

Niobium, a Zero Trust Computing-focused custom silicon manufacturer, has raised $5.5 million in seed money to further the development and launch of their fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) accelerator chip.

With FHE encryption, calculations can be done directly on encrypted data without the need to first decrypt it. This implies that private information can be handled and examined in a safe setting without ever being made public.

Niobium, a leading cryptography research and development company that was spun out of Galois, has a team of chip designers and cryptography specialists, and it has gotten significant non-dilutive financing from federal initiatives to move FHE closer to commercial application.

Based on its FHE System on a Chip (SoC), Niobium’s FHE accelerator chip is a PCIe card that dramatically speeds up FHE software solutions while protecting user privacy.

The new financing will be used to investigate FHE acceleration’s commercial implications in a variety of areas, including digital advertising, blockchain, healthcare, and finance. Niobium also plans to improve IP protection, optimize hardware, and grow its software engineering team.

In the area of biometric technology, FHE has revolutionary potential, especially when it comes to improving the security and privacy of sensitive biometric data like iris scans, fingerprints, and facial recognition information. Biometric data can be used for authentication, identification, or access control without exposing the actual data to potential cyber dangers or privacy breaches because computations on encrypted data can be performed without the need to decode it.

To preserve the privacy of an individual’s biometric data, a business could, for instance, validate a fingerprint scan for building access without ever seeing the real fingerprint data. This is particularly crucial since biometrics are being incorporated into more security frameworks in the public and private sectors, necessitating the need for strong solutions that protect individual privacy while maintaining data integrity and security.

In late Q2 of 2024, Niobium will introduce its Early Access Program (NEAP) to organizations that are interested in learning more about the possibilities of FHE acceleration.

“Securing this financing validates the groundbreaking work we’re doing at Niobium and propels us into the next critical phase of bringing our FHE accelerator chip to market,” said Kevin Yoder, president and CEO of Niobium. “Our vision of redefining data privacy and security through advanced cryptography is now closer to reality. This investment enables us to fast-track the exploration of applications that require absolute data privacy, opening new possibilities for confidential computing across various industries.”

Fusion Fund spearheaded the investment round, with noteworthy contributions coming from Hale Capital, Morgan Creek Capital, Ohio Innovation Fund, and Rev1 Ventures. Shane Wall, a former CTO of Hewlett Packard and partner at Fusion Fund, became a chairman of Niobium’s board.

In Q4 of this year, Niobium intends to present the solution and start pilot projects.