What is Bindle?
Bindle is a software platform purpose-built to help safely reopen the US economy by allowing people to easily display their COVID-19 health status whenever they go into a shared space, while keeping their personal health data private.
How does Bindle work?
Test results and vaccine certifications are digitally added to the Bindle app, either via a lab or test integration, by a health professional, or by an individual user doing a proctored video test. This data is then used to create an “entry pass” for a venue (e.g., schools, offices, airplanes, and stadiums). Venues then use the Bindle app to scan this health status information when determining whether an individual is allowed to enter a location or shared space.
Who is Bindle designed for?
The platform is designed for three different types of users: “issuers”, who issue test result certificates and vaccine certificates onto the network; “holders”, who hold these certificates on their phone and use them to enter shared spaces; and “verifiers” who use Bindle to verify that a holder’s certificates are valid before allowing a holder to enter their venue.
How do I know I can trust Bindle?
The underlying technology has been in development for several years and has already been successfully commercialized in other industries. It leverages military-grade encryption to protect data, and was built by product designers and engineers who previously deployed global data systems at American Express and CLEAR.
What about false negative test results?
There is a chance that a false negative test result can be loaded onto the Bindle platform and then be used to enter a shared space. Each verifier chooses which test results to accept at their location and this information can be found in the verifier’s policy, which is published in the Bindle app. For example, some verifiers may be fine accepting a test result from any FDA-approved test, while others may decide that they only want to accept a test with 99% sensitivity (1% chance of a false negative).
How do I know that a test result has not been manipulated or changed?
Every certificate is cryptographically signed by the issuer of the certificate, so you always know where the data is coming from. Each verifier chooses the type of validation to accept at their location and this information can be found in the verifier’s policy, which is published in the Bindle app. For example, some verifiers may be fine accepting a self-attested screenshot of a test result where others may require a verified “chain of custody” all the way back to the certified lab or test platform that issued the test result.
What about privacy?
Bindle was purpose-built to protect the data of the individuals who use the platform. All personal data is stored in a personal data vault that can only be accessed using the biometric access control on your smartphone. Private and Medical data sent to an individual's wallet is encrypted before it even comes to the Bindle Network. Bindle never sees or touches raw data. By design, we are unable to decrypt private data without the user’s explicit permission.
Can I use Bindle if I don’t have a smartphone?
Yes. We will allow users to print out their “entry pass” if they do not have a smartphone. Printing will be possible at home, at school, and at work. We also plan to enlist local libraries to support the printing of entry passes as well as commercial locations with printers such as Staples, Office Depot, FedEx, and UPS. [Please note that paper-based entry passes are not available in the current software, but they are in the product roadmap and will be available soon.]
Can I check to see if I can get into a venue before going to the venue?
Yes. Our system is designed to allow people to “pre-verify” so that they know if they will be allowed entry when they arrive at the venue.
Does Bindle provide contact tracing?
No, Bindle is not a contact tracing solution. Users of the app are not surveilled. We provide private, portable health status verification.
Does my business need to be HIPAA compliant in order to use Bindle?
No. Bindle’s technology allows you to screen employees according to your COVID-19 policy without ever handling any personal or medical data.
Do I need to program special API's to interface with Bindle?
No, Bindle's open API's hook into existing proprietary and 3rd party systems and platforms.
Do I need special hardware to use Bindle?
No, you can be set up in hours. No new hardware is required. Any access point can be enabled with a free smartphone application. Deeper integration into existing access control systems is also possible.
Does Bindle specify a particular PCR or antigen test?
No. We are agnostic as to testing and allow the verifier to determine which tests they feel comfortable using for entry into their venue.
Can I customize my own screening policy?
Yes. Bindle's solution will support the ability to customize the level of strictness you wish to screen by.
Can a venue create a screening policy that includes a combination of certificates, such as a vaccine certificate + COVID-19 test results + symptom surveys?
Yes. Bindle was specifically designed so multiple types of certificates can be used together.
When was the company founded?
June 22, 2020
Who are the founders?
How is the company funded?
Our investors include venture funds, strategic investors (corporations), angel syndicates, family offices, and some individuals.
What is a Public Benefit Corporation and why did Bindle Systems decide to be a PBC?
A Public Benefit Corporation is a specific type of corporation that allows for public benefit to be a charter purpose of the corporation, in addition to the more traditional corporate goal of maximizing profit for shareholders. Bindle Systems decided to incorporate as a PBC because our primary mission is to safely and equitably reopen the US economy and American society as quickly as possible. Achieving this mission may require us to periodically subordinate profitability or shareholder returns, which would not be possible under a traditional corporate structure.
We are also committed to donating a % of our annual profit to The Bindle Systems Foundation, which will be focused on a) equity and access in the current COVID-19 pandemic and b) preparedness for future pandemics.
What is the business model of the company?
Bindle is 100% free to individuals (“holders”), and we also do not charge the “issuers” of the test results or vaccine certificates. Instead, we charge a fee to the “verifiers” who typically have a significant economic incentive to pay for Bindle. In some cases, part of this verification fee is remitted back to the entity that issued the test result or vaccine certificate.
What does the company do once the pandemic is over?
First, Bindle is designed for all stages of the COVID-19 pandemic (or future pandemics):
molecular and antigen test results, antibody test results, vaccine certifications, booster certifications (if necessary), and therapeutics certifications (if applicable).
Second, Bindle is also applicable to non-COVID-19 health certificates, such as vaccinations and boosters required for schools and international travel, and for certificates related to sexually transmitted diseases.
Finally, and importantly, the self-sovereign identity data network that powers Bindle can handle any kind of data once deployed. This is a significant opportunity in its own right, irrespective of COVID or other health certificate use cases.
What’s with the name “Bindle”?
According to Wikipedia: “In popular culture, the bindle is portrayed as a stick with a cloth or a blanket tied around one end for carrying items.” Our interpretation: “All of your stuff, wrapped securely, when living a life defined by freedom.”
What’s the founding story of the company? How did it start?
Our co-founder and CEO, Gus Warren, lives in Bronxville NY, just a few miles from the first COVID-19 outbreak on the East Coast. He is the son of Nanny Warren and Dr. John Warren (‘Jack”), who ran the Department of Infectious Disease at the University of Maryland School of Medicine before retiring in 2019.
In January and February 2020, Gus and Jack were periodically discussing the potential implications of the novel coronavirus circulating in Wuhan, China. When the outbreak hit NY in March, the conversations became more frequent, with Jack expressing alarm about one unique feature of the disease in particular: the extraordinarily high amount of asymptomatic spread.
As an asthmatic with a wife and 3 young children, Gus realized that traditional pandemic response techniques (contact tracing, symptom surveys, temperature checks) would not be enough for him to have the confidence to enter shared spaces and that he would somehow need to know, with near certainty, that everyone in a shared space was not infectious: a proof of health status.
Having invested in a company called healthy.io while a Managing Partner at Samsung’s global venture group, Gus knew that certain diagnostic test results could be loaded securely onto a smartphone using the phone’s camera.
But he also knew that having a portable test result would not be sufficient for a proof of health status - you’d also need a way to certify the validity of the test result before allowing access into shared spaces.
That’s when he called an old friend, Stew Whitman, who had led Product at CLEAR, a leader in biometrics and access control.
Stew had left CLEAR to reunite with 3 former colleagues from American Express who had spent a year developing a software-only, self-sovereign identity platform that would be ideal for carrying test results and vaccine certifications.
Fast forward 10 weeks and the addition of 4 amazing co-founders: the company was incorporated on June 22, 2020.