A Digital Vaccine Passport will pave our way to the Roaring Twenties

Clear is leveraging industry knowledge and an existing platform to free up our society.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our society. Non-essential travel has been banned. Events have been canceled all over the globe. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo being rescheduled to 2021 being the hit rock bottom of these painful decisions.

As a result, a “stay-home” policy was enforced. People that are traveling have to quarantine upon arrival and/ or provide a recent negative Covid test before leaving. Players have no games to play anymore. Fans no games to cheer for their favorite team or athlete. For the few sports events that could take place, draconian safety measures had to be taken to avoid the further spread of the Coronavirus. Last week’s Super Bowl event is still top of mind: only 30% of the stadium capacity was used, mainly by front line workers that are already inoculated.

Since all of us are eager to meet with family and friends again, to discover the world and to push our favorite team towards a new victory, the unprecedented times do bring opportunities for companies that can guide this process in a safe and healthy way. Biometrics identification company “Clear” is a front-runner in this respect. Clear is using eye and face recognition to build a touchless ID for its customers allowing them to quickly and securely confirm their identity. Pre-pandemic, Clear was focussing on the airlines, healthcare and the sports industry. All of these industries are heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Clear understands the new customer needs arising from the pandemic and uses its experience in the earlier mentioned industries to provide an answer to these needs. Airline companies, dental cabinets and sports clubs no longer only want to identify and authenticate their customers, they also want to make sure these customers are healthy and will not put other customers at risk.

Clear therefore developed its “Health Pass”. Health Pass validates -after users linked their healthcare account to the Clear-app- Covid-19 vaccine inoculations. Next to that, a clear kiosk at a venue executes touchless temperature controls to further enhance safety operations. On top of that, the Covid-19 test results of more than 30,000 labs are automatically integrated into the application. All of this in combination with a health survey will allow Clear’s customers to host more Health Pass users again in a safe and frictionless way.

Health Pass customers can choose from a free or premium subscription. The free subscription allows fans to safely meet in the stadium again while a premium subscription is needed if customers want to have access to the fast line at airports. As such, customer acquisition and adoption are boosted with opportunities for upsell in a later stage.

Airports, clubs, federations do pay a subscription fee at the other side of the platform equation. NHL, NFL, The New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, Orlando Magic, Arizona Coyotes and many more are counting on Clear to bring their matchday revenues back to pre-pandemic levels.

This urgent customer need and corresponding potential are also recognized by well-known investors. Recently, Clear raised a 100 million USD that includes investments from 32 Equity, the venture capital arm of the NFL, as well as Michael Jordan’s family office. Liberty Media, which owns MLB’s Atlanta Braves and Formula 1 racing, also contributed to the round.

As such, Clear is ready to further scale its Health Pass functionality. Their industry knowledge and existing platform give them a competitive advantage compared to other players on the market (e.g. I.A.T.A.). Moreover, compared to IBM for instance, Clear is a small company allowing them to pivot fast in this rapidly changing environment. And with the global digital transformation continuing, Clear is ready to leverage their “Covid functionalities” post-pandemic to further smoothen the travel experience (e.g. by digitizing “yellow vaccination cards”).

I am ready to enroll in ‘Health Pass’ to join the Red Sox back in Fenway Park. Are you?




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Student comments on A Digital Vaccine Passport will pave our way to the Roaring Twenties

  1. WOW! This product’s capabilities are truly impressive. Clear is clearly (pun intended) trying to demonstrate it’s customer value proposition and leveraging interconnected digital capabilities to help society get moving again. I wonder what the competative landscape will look like. Governments, transportations services (airlines, trains, uber, etc), and services businesses (restaurants, entertainment, tourism) can all benefit from having the capabilities that Clear has developed.

    I wonder about the following questions:
    1) Will these services catch up, become mandatory? I believe there is a strong chance it could be legally mandated to use both and private public services.
    2) Will the market be fragmented, an oligopoly or will it be more of a winner takes all market? An argument can be made that having a single service that everyone uses can make things easier for government and businesses, however, the free market may come up with several specialized solutions.

    1. Very valid comments Omar, thanks! With regards to your second point, I think there will be room for different players on the market but “design principles” will be set by a “regulator” to allow for standardization and use across the different service providers.
      Think about payments for instance. Several organizations do process payment transactions intercompany. This is possible because of the international standards set by a neutral party.

  2. Very interesting read! Might be somewhat cynical and Black Mirror-esque but I wonder if there is a slippery slope with the introduction of tiers (free, premium, etc) for the passport. I wouldn’t be fond of having to pay for public activity access “as-a-service” and have to pay more in order to unlock additional access. I’m inclined to think that the government will need to keep a close eye on this new development in order to prevent abuse of this kind. The NYT article mentions that the government of Denmark is developing its own digital passport – it will be very interesting to see how this product and its implementation differs when coming from the public vs the private sector. Hopefully we’re able to shed light soon on which is the ideal approach.

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