Air transport technology company SITA announced Tuesday it is serving as the lead investor in decentralized identity technology company Indicio’s Series A funding round, but financial terms were not disclosed.

SITA and Indicio began working together during the COVID pandemic, initially to develop a secure, blockchain-powered app for travelers to Aruba to prove they had tested negative for the virus. The partnership then evolved into a broader digital credential for travel to the island that was first tested last spring. The success of the test led the partners to expand the program last summer, and it will soon be available for all people visiting Aruba.

According to SITA, this investment cements the “long-standing partnership” between the two companies meant to accelerate the building and release of trusted digital identities for the travel industry.

Heather Dahl, CEO of Indicio and one of PhocusWire’s Movers, Shakers and Newsmakers of 2023, told PhocusWire the funding provided by SITA will be used to drive product innovation and to grow the company.

“We have a technology that can be applied to any kind of decision-making that requires trusting data,” said Dahl. “We have a technology that allows just-in-time data sharing. These are capacities that were dreamed and talked about just a few years ago, and Indicio made them happen.”

Dahl said the work SITA and Indicio have done together already has “shown that the sky is not the limit.”

“When you can be sure of the source and integrity of any data, you can rearrange the world to make it a much better and better-functioning place,” said Dahl. “Trust has always been the bedrock of prosperity and growth. With SITA as a partner, this is the kind of digital transformation we are talking about, where trust in verified data enables everything.” 

Developing digital identities allows passengers to securely create a digital version of their passports that can be stored in a mobile wallet alongside airline digital IDs. SITA and Indicio have enabled travel documents such as visas, boarding passes and frequent flyer accounts to be added to a passenger’s digital identity. This makes it possible for travelers to control their personal data, using verified identity and data to digitally transform identity checks and border control where it is enabled.

Jeremy Springall, senior vice president of borders for SITA, said he believes digital identity could be the biggest catalyst for change the airline industry has seen in more than a decade.

”The emergence of digital identities means we can fundamentally rethink today’s complex passenger journey to make it easier, faster and connected with the wider travel ecosystem,” said Springall. “It will simplify the identification process at every step and open up opportunities for the air transport industry to fully embrace the benefits of seamless travel and the digital economy.”

SITA’s investment in Indicio, he added, bolsters its position as a market leader.

In November at The Phocuswright Conference 2023, Dahl joined Michael Zureik, SITA director of digital identity, and Dangui Oduber, Aruba’s minister of tourism and public health, to discuss their efforts to create a fully-digital arrival process for visitors to Aruba. Watch the discussion below.

Digital Identity Becomes Reality – The Phocuswright Conference 2023

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