Bloomberg News

Mitek Opens Up Image-Scanning Technology to Software Developers

July 27, 2011

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- Mitek Systems Inc., a document- imaging company that lets people deposit a check by snapping its picture with a phone’s camera, plans to let other businesses use its technology to create their own mobile applications.

Mitek’s character-recognition software, which reads handwriting and other information, will be embedded into apps for insurance, real estate and health care, the San Diego-based company said today in a statement. By letting people use phones to submit paperwork, the technology could speed up customer enrollment, automate expense reports or update medical records.

The new Mobile Imaging Cloud service will be delivered to companies via Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud-computing system, which hosts programs in data centers. Already, banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. use Mitek’s technology to let customers deposit checks without having to visit a branch. Mitek aims to follow the example of Google Inc.’s Maps service, which is integrated into hundreds of other companies’ apps.

A social-networking site, for instance, might let users add friends by scanning photos of business cards. CardMunch, which offers a similar service, was acquired by LinkedIn Corp. earlier this year.

“People love the convenience of trying to reduce the number of keystrokes,” Mitek Chief Executive Officer James DeBello said in an interview. “It’s a pain killer.”

Mitek would make money by charging licensing and usage fees for its technology. The company declined to elaborate on terms.

Billion-Dollar Market?

Sales of software is this area -- either for phones or conventional scanners -- should reach $1.4 billion in 2015, up from $163 million last year, according to Harvey Spencer, founder of New York-based research firm Harvey Spencer Associates. Mobile software may grab 30 percent of that market by 2015, up from less than 10 percent in 2010, he said.

Mitek has contracts to provide mobile-imaging services to six of the top 10 U.S. banks, DeBello said. The spread of its technology has helped propel its stock price, which is up more than sevenfold in the past year. Mitek declined 39 cents to $8.99 yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The company also offers a free app called Mobile Receipt in Apple Inc.’s App Store. Users of the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad can snap photos of their receipts to generate an expense report.

International Business Machines Corp. and EMC Corp. compete with the company in the image-scanning market, though Mitek has the lead in capturing images with phone cameras, Spencer said.

It’s also is the first to offer a cloud version of the service, DeBello said. “We believe, over time, it will be a big driver for our growth,” he said.

--Editors: Nick Turner, Jillian Ward

To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Kharif in Portland, Oregon, at okharif@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Thomas Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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