Georgia Tech-Based Startup Wins Business Competition

Pindrop Security, a new company based on technology developed by School of Computer Science researchers to verify caller ID, has won the 2011 GRA/TAG Business Launch Competition.

Cosponsored by the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), the competition facilitates connections between the younger entrepreneurial community and more seasoned entrepreneurs. Pindrop, founded by primary researcher and Ph.D. student Vijay Balasubramaniyan, beat out three other finalists to claim the $50,000 cash first prize, as well as more than $200,000 in donated services from the Atlanta business community.

Originally called “PinDr0p,” the technology works by analyzing audio imprints left on calls by the multiple networks—cellular, voiceover IP, public switched telephone networks—through which they travel. It uses these imprints to positively identify the calling phone with high accuracy. Equally important is that the identification is made within 15 seconds of initial call placement.

Balasubramaniyan developed Pindrop in collaboration with School of Computer Science and Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) faculty, including Assistant Professor Patrick Traynor and Professor and GTISC Director Mustaque Ahamad. Earlier this year, TAG named Pindrop Security a Georgia Top 40 Innovation Company, and it also finished second in the 2011 Startup Riot.

“Winning the prize feels great, particularly because there were 88 other great companies competing for it,” Balasubramaniyan said. “It provides great validation for the technology, the efforts of the team and the market potential. Georgia is a great place to start and build a security-focused technology company, and we’re pleased to work with the local community to support economic growth and development as we expand our reach into the financial services, government and consumer markets.”

“GTISC researchers are leaders in understanding emerging cyber security threats and in developing innovative techniques that can provide effective solutions for real-world problems,” said Ahamad. “Pindrop is just another example of this, and it will help maintain Atlanta's reputation as a security industry hub.”

Balasubramaniyan said the company’s next step will be to use its GRA/TAG competition winnings to hire staff, with plans underway for the next software release in the fourth quarter of this year.