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September 11 was a wake-up call to America. It also had a significant effect on Cogent, a South Pasadena company that had received $3.2 million that year to provide fingerprint-matching software and database management for the Immigration & Naturalization Service. Within three years, Cogent, whose technology employs sophisticated algorithms to quickly match fingerprints, was collecting $19.7 million from the newly reorganized Homeland Security Dept., which was beefing up border security.

That helped propel Cogent to a $248.8 million initial public offering last September -- and a near tripling of its stock price, to $33 a share, by the end of 2004. With annual revenues now of $87.7 million, Cogent has expanded from its law-enforcement stronghold, now providing software and hardware to retail stores so consumers can pay by accessing their credit cards and bank accounts with fingerprint scanners.

Company Info

Market Value* $ 1.9 BILLION
Total Return* (1-yr.) NA
(3-yr.) NA
2004 sales $ 87.7 MILLION
Sales Growth(1-yr.) 172.5%
(3-yr.) 89.4%
Net income* $ 42.6 MILLION
Net Income Growth (1-yr.) 363.4%
(3-yr.) 332.3%
Net Margin* 43.8%
Return on Equity* 19.7%
Return on Invested Capital* 21.3%
*Trailing 12 months
Company data as of 4/29/05
provided by Standard & Poor's Compustat

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Company Snapshot

Cogent Inc. provides automated fingerprint-identification systems (AFIS) and other fingerprint biometric products to governments, law enforcement agencies, and other organizations worldwide. It offers two primary AFIS products, Cogent Automated Fingerprint Identification System (CAFIS) and Cogent Live-ID. CAFIS is a networked AFIS solution for local, regional, and national systems. Cogent Live-ID enables customers to identify individuals who submit their fingerprints for border crossings, background checks, fraud prevention, criminal investigation, document identification, voting stations, and other activities where security is a concern.

Cogent also offers proprietary application-specific integrated-circuit technology (ASIC) that's delivered as part of its Identification Module, an image-processing and biometric-matching unit designed for applications requiring biometric ID and authentication. Cogent markets its AFIS solutions directly to end users and indirectly through prime contractors, as well as its proprietary ASIC device indirectly through original-equipment manufacturers, resellers, and distributors.

It has strategic relationships with IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, and Sun Microsystems. Cogent was founded by Ming Hsieh in 1990. It was formerly known as Cogent Systems Inc. and changed its name to Cogent Inc. in 2004. It's headquartered in South Pasadena, Calif.

No. of Employees


Data provided by Capital IQ
Ming Hsieh

Ming Hsieh, 49


President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

CEO Bio >

Total Compensation*


Total Value of Options**


Degrees Held

University of Southern California (BS, MS)

* Latest available fiscal year
** The sum of the net value of options exercised and held in the latest available fiscal year

Key Executives

Ming Hsieh, Paul Kim, Michael Hollowich, James Jasinski

Board Members

Ming Hsieh, John C. Bolger, John P. Stenbit, Kenneth R. Thornton

Data provided by Capital IQ
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