Wouldn’t it be great if when you called into your bank, needing to ask one simple question, that you didn’t have to jump through hoops answering questions about your favorite teacher, first pet or name of your best friend? Not only is it time-consuming, but the answers to these questions can change or be forgotten. It’s quite possible that others could answer these questions about you and gain access to your account. With Pindrop, your voice replaces your security questions, powering a frictionless, seamless experience. Pindrop exists to help contact centers accurately, easily and securely identify their customers.
The idea for Pindrop came to CEO and Co-Founder Vijay Balasubramaniyan after he tried to purchase a custom made suit in India. That night, he received a call from someone claiming to be a representative from his bank needing to verify a transaction. Vijay and the caller went back and forth with Vijay asking the caller to provide details on the transaction they were calling about and the supposed bank representative requiring Vijay to verify his identity by sharing his social security number so they could share more details. After growing increasingly frustrated and confused by the call, Vijay hung up.
Fast forward two days when Vijay went to pick up his suit, the tailor had stopped their work because the transaction did not go through. On his flight back to the United States, he became increasingly frustrated – how could something so simple as identity and security for voice not exist? That concept became the crux of his PhD thesis and eventually Pindrop.
Today, Pindrop consists of more than 200 researchers, marketers, engineers and designers working toward the same goal of providing security, identity and trust for voice interactions. When financial institutions, credit card providers, insurance companies, and retailers receive calls in their call centers, they need absolute certainty that the call is coming from their customer, and not a fraudster who could, in theory, know all of the answers to a customer’s security questions like “who is your favorite teacher?”. Fraudulent calls occur at a rate of 1 in every 1,000 calls, and detecting fraudsters can feel like searching for a needle in a needlestack. However, fraudulent calls are a serious problem, costing businesses more than $10B every year.
Pindrop works with eight of the 10 largest banks and five of the seven largest insurance companies in the United States. And when one of their call centers receives an incoming call, Pindrop uses a wide variety of systems to evaluate whether a call is risky. This includes detecting if one voice is attempting to access multiple accounts, the speed at which a caller dials or enters information on their keypad, a caller’s location, device type and more. If the call is flagged as risky, Pindrop’s systems alert the call system agent, who is then able to take additional measures to evaluate and authenticate the caller’s identity. The company’s innovative technology can not only be used to detect fraudsters, but also to help consumers have a better experience on the phone with seamless authentication.
Call centers are just the start for Pindrop, whose mission is to protect voice interactions. The new wave of voice interaction is happening at more and more touchpoints in our personal lives. With voice-activated personal and home assistants like Alexa and Siri, doorbells or security systems, and connected cars, voice can power a more personalized, frictionless and secure future. It has the power to determine security, identity and trust, and Pindrop wants to be at the center of all voice interactions. We are just getting started.