Miami startup Kairos gets $4 million investment

Kairos, a face-recognition, artificial intelligence company based in Miami, announced a new CEO and a $4 million investment from E. Jay Saunders, chairman and CEO of Domus Semo Sancus, a Turks & Caicos Islands regulation technology company.

Kairos CEO Melissa Doval
Kairos CEO Melissa Doval

The DSS investment brings Kairos’ total funding to $17 million and will help the company continue innovating its face-recognition technology, a press release said. Kairos was founded in 2012. Its face-recognition AI creates safer, more accessible customer experiences across industries, including fintech, retail, cybersecurity, digital asset management and human-capital management.

Through computer vision and deep learning, Kairos can recognize faces in videos, photos, and the real world, the company says. Its API platform is designed to simplify how developers and businesses integrate human identity into their software.

A post on the company’s website says it has put an emphasis on fixing misidentification of people based on ethnicity, gender, and age. It has partnered with Untangle, a Singapore based startup that helps companies like understand and audit their AI.


Kairos announced CFO and interim CEO Melissa Doval will be its permanent CEO. She is a Miami native with nearly 20 years of experience as a leader in finance, accounting, human resources, business strategy, and technology. Doval began her career in 2001 as a CPA with Kaufman, Rossin & Co. She subsequently worked at World Fuel Services, Live Nation and MTN Satellite Communications.

Kairos also announced that Saunders, who has been CEO and chairman, is now executive chairman. He was previously CEO of Digicel Turks & Caicos Islands, president of the Providenciales Chamber of Commerce and publisher of First Publishing, his LinkedIn biography states. He is chairman of the Turks and Caicos Islands Civil Aviation Authority.

Saunders founded Domus Semo Sancus in 2014. It builds tools to encourage financial inclusion and bridge the e-commerce divide. Its SafetyNet.ai is a cloud-based due diligence, cognitive search and crime-prevention tool. It helps companies comply with “know your customer” and anti-money laundering regulations by utilizing an AI engine to pot and mitigate risks.

“Working with teams I trust at companies I believe in, is incredibly important to me, and Mel’s unwavering leadership of Kairos is the perfect example,” said Saunders. “The startup’s enduring dedication to both innovation and ethics in technology makes the Miami business community proud and drives the city’s tech sector forward.”

“I have always admired Kairos and its visionary work in pushing face-recognition technology beyond law-enforcement uses, while also ensuring its applications fall under self-imposed, ethical standards,” said Doval. “I’m especially proud to be leading our company’s dynamic team in my beloved hometown, as well as our innovative R&D team in Singapore, and look forward to making this inspiring brand even stronger.”

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.