Skift Take

By acquiring Argentinan vendor Whyline, Clear is doubling down on technology that allows travelers to reserve a spot in line when they check in for their flight. This "virtual queueing" tech could be used outside of airports, too, such as at attraction parks, in conference venues, and on cruise ships.

Clear, the airport screening and biometric identity company, said on Tuesday it had bought Whyline, a seller of virtual queuing and appointment systems based in Argentina.

The companies didn’t disclose the value of the all-cash purchase. Whyline had raised $5.6 million in funding.

The deal is Clear’s first acquisition since going public on June 29, 2021. The initial public offering put $409 million on its balance sheet, facilitating future acquisitions.

Whyline helps companies manage customer flows through the use of virtual queuing.

For example, passengers at Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport at three checkpoints can reduce their waits at airport security by using a mobile app to see the live wait times and entering their place in a “fast lane” queue remotely by pre-booking their appointment. The software alerts passengers when it’s their appointed time to show up to the fast lane and pass through.

Seattle’s Spot Saver program handled more than 187,000 reservations in summer 2021, the Port of Seattle said.

“Over the past five years, the Whyline team has built impressive technology that is helping change our day-to-day lives and routines for the better,” said Clear CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker. “With this acquisition, we’re helping people and partners spend less time waiting and more time doing what matters most to them.”

Seidman-Becker said the deal would achieve three objectives: It will cement Clear’s lead as a vendor with airport reservation lanes in signed contracts and ongoing tests at airports in Los Angeles, Seattle, Newark, Charleston, Orlando, and Calgary.

The transaction will help Clear expand beyond the U.S. because Whyline has partners in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, and Canada.

The deal will also give Clear another product to sell to non-travel industries, such as retail, banking, and government agencies such as departments of motor vehicles.

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Tags: airport security, airports, biometrics, clear, mergers and acquisitions, passports, security, startups

Photo credit: SEA Spot Saver is a reservation program run by tech vendor Whyline for security screening for passengers flying out of Seattle's main airport. Clear, the airport screening and biometric identity company, said on Tuesday it had bought Whyline, a seller of virtual queuing systems. Source: Port of Seattle.

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