NZ security startup in asset sale to US outfit

More IP goes offshore. Staff laid off before sale.

Three-year-old ThisData has been sold its intellectual property to San Francisco-based OneLogin, a maker of single sign-on and identity management solutions for cloud-based apps.

The sale followed the three-year-old Auckland startup jettisoning its half-dozen staff.

ThisData made technology that helps automatically detect out-of-the-ordinary behaviour by a user of a service that indicates someone else is using their account -- possibly after stealing details via a phishing scam. It doesn’t sell directly to the public but rather licenses its product to companies that make cloud or “SaaS” (software-as-a-service) apps.

OneLogin's clients include Pinterest and the AAA (the US version of our AA).

Founder and chief executive Rich Chetwynd describes it as an asset sale, which includes ThisData’s technology, brand and website (the rump of what’s left has been renamed TD Ltd).

Mr Chetwynd will work for OneLogin post-sale but tells NBR he will remain in New Zealand. There were previously six staff, but he says that number was "whittled down" to just himself in the build up to the deal.

“We sold most of the IP [intellectual property] but retained a machine learning prototype that identifies the user of a phone by the way they use, touch and hold it.” A bank is interested, Mr Chetwynd says.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed and Mr Chetwynd would not comment on ThisData’s financials but he did offer that it had millions of users, including free trialists.

TD Limited shareholders include Mr Chetwynd and Nicole Fougere (48.0%), Lance Wiggs’ Punakaiki Fund, Rowan Simpson and Emily Simpson (10.0%) and, bringing up the rear, Ben Kepes (0.41%).

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