Mitek Siezes an App Opportunity: Enabling Your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android Phone to Scan and Deposit Your Checks

8/17/10Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s Mitek Systems, the developer of optical character recognition and intelligent pattern recognition technologies that processes 10 billion checks a year, might have created a new opportunity in the emerging market for mobile check processing. Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Mitek a utility patent for “systems for mobile image capture and processing of checks.”

A spokesman for the company, Jim Byrnes, tells me the patent covers Mitek technology that enables mobile users with camera-equipped smartphones, including the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Mobile, to use a picture of a check (front and back) to make check deposits. Byrnes says the patent issued today is Mitek’s seventh U.S. patent in image analytics and related fields; the company has five other patent applications pending.

Mitek Systems (OTCBB: MITK) CEO Jim DeBello, who joined the company about five years ago, was out of the country and unavailable for comment today. He outlined the company’s strategy for me earlier this year, though, saying Mitek’s “aha! moment” occurred two years ago—Use Mitek’s longstanding expertise in character recognition to “pivot” on the growth of smart phones. “We’re turning the camera on the smart phone into a virtual check scanner in your hand,” DeBello said. “What it’s meant for Mitek is essentially a transformation of skill sets.”

It’s an intriguing strategy and a compelling investor story. The question is whether Mitek can really pull it off. (Yesterday, the company posted a loss of $647,000, or 4 cents a diluted share, on revenue of $822,000 for the third quarter that ended June 30.)

Even though bookings were down in the third quarter, DeBello said in the company’s earnings report that Mitek has established itself as the “gold standard for … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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