CLEAR Secure Aims to Reshape Global Travel Industry

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CLEAR Secure is a biometric screening company that maintains a visible presence at international airports. The company wants to create a more seamless travel experience. After a $4.5 billion IPO in the summer of 2021, the company is closer to its goal of a “frictionless” future.

“I think people have really started to understand the power of a secure identity platform, both in travel and beyond,” commented cofounder and CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker.

Making Travel Experiences More Efficient

Founded in 2010, the goal of CLEAR Secure was to build a safer, more secure world. It began with the aviation industry, but its long-term vision was to expand the company’s technology to other venues. Co-founders Seidman-Becker and Kenneth Cornick still lead CLEAR Secure today, serving as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, respectively.

CLEAR Secure’s initial focus on the air travel industry was to make travel experiences smoother in the wake of added security measures post 9/11. Travelers were becoming increasingly frustrated by increased wait times and enhanced security protocols that created logistical headaches at airports.

“We started in the hardest place: aviation. If it was good enough to get on a plane, where identity and security are paramount, clearly—no pun intended—it’s good enough to check in at the doctor’s office,” stated Seidman-Becker.

CLEAR Secure Airport Security
Photo by Arron Choi on Unsplash

The fast, touchless entry that CLEAR Secure provided quickly became a hit among frequent fliers. CLEAR Plus, the company’s consumer aviation subscription service, offers subscriptions for $179 per year. CLEAR Plus members can add up to 3 adult family members to their account at a reduced rate. The biometric security service has helped reduce wait times through airports, stadiums, and other sports and entertainment venues.

CLEAR Secure Expanding its Focus

With more than 5.6 million members, the company’s identity platform uses eye, face, or fingerprint scans to connect users to the cards in their wallets and provide seamless entry. The company has over 100 unique locations and partners across North America.

During the coronavirus pandemic, CLEAR Securethe company launched the CLEAR Health Pass. It provides a seamless platform for uploading proof of vaccination cards, negative COVID-19 test results, and other health data. Sports, entertainment, and workplace environments are using the CLEAR Health Pass.

“To reopen our brick-and-mortar economy and restore the personal interactions that make New York the most vibrant and connected city in the world, we need the CLEAR Health Pass,” stated Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “That is why we are encouraging businesses to embrace the CLEAR model so they can bring people back to the office and ensure the safety of our shops, restaurants, theaters and entertainment venues much more quickly than would otherwise be possible.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted the CLEAR Secure information security platform the highest certification rating. The company’s data security framework is intricately designed to protect sensitive information.

The company’s expanding focus beyond its core aviation business may contribute to CLEAR’s strong financial performance. Revenues are at $230.8 million, a 20% rise from last year. Net losses narrowed to $9.3 million, compared to $54.2 million last year.

CLEAR Secure Initial Public Offering

In July 2021, CLEAR Secure made its public debut with an IPO that raised $4.5 billion. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Allen & Co and Wells Fargo were the lead underwriters for the initial public offering. CLEAR’s shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “YOU.” Leading up to the IPO, CLEAR Secure closed a $100 million financing round in February 2021.

With the newly raised IPO proceeds, CLEAR Secure plans to expand its user base, advance its technology, and invest in strategic development opportunities. The company is expanding beyond its core aviation business. However, the company’s initial fundamental mission endured. “Since 2010, CLEAR’s vision has remained constant: to provide our members frictionless journeys that make it easy to experience what they love doing best,” said Seidman-Becker.

Female-Founded Public Companies

In taking CLEAR Secure public, Seidman-Becker added herself to a small list of female-founded U.S. public companies. As of start of 2021, there are about 20 companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) that are female-founded and led.

Although some notable female-founded companies IPOed in 2021, they remain a rarity. Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd took her dating app public in February 2021. In June 2021, Anne Wojcicki took her DNA testing company 23andMe public through an SPAC.

Seidman-Becker has been a pioneering female leader since the early days of her career. At the age of 29, Seidman-Becker raised $50 million to found Ariance Capital, a hedge fund. Even more notably, she was pregnant when she started the hedge fund. She is well prepared to run CLEAR Secure.

Beyond being a female role model, Seidman-Becker is proud to be able to use her position to create a safer, more secure world. “I wanted to keep my family safe, our team safe, and I wanted to be part of the solution,” she said. “I feel like that’s my opportunity in the world: to make it a better place.”

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