|Industry||Manufacturing and Service|
|Founder||Willis K. Drake|
|Headquarters||Shakopee, Minnesota, US|
|Todd Wilkinson (CEO)|
|Products||High-volume card issuance systems and software, card printers and encoders, identification software, passport systems|
Number of employees
Datacard Group — which became Entrust Datacard shortly after acquiring Entrust in December 2013 — provides financial institutions, national governments, corporate enterprises and other organizations with technologies they need to establish trusted identities and conduct highly secure transactions. Examples of the company’s diverse offerings include software and hardware used to issue financial cards, produce e-passports and authenticate users looking to access secure networks or conduct financial transactions. The privately held company is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and employs more than 2,000 people in 120 countries.
The company was established in 1969 as DataCard Corporation, also known as Datacard Group, and immediately focused on the needs of the underserved financial card market. Company founder Willis K. Drake led a team of engineers that invented machines that enabled highly secure and highly productive personalization of credit cards. Datacard Group’s high-volume card issuance systems allowed banks and retailers to personalize 1,500 cards per hour with great precision and security. Until the company launched its technologies, the process was slow and riddled with quality problems.
As adoption of financial cards accelerated, the company formed highly collaborative relationships with MasterCard®, Visa®, American Express® and virtually all of the large national banks in the United States. Technical experts from all of the organizations worked together to establish standards that ensure security and interoperability across virtually all payment platforms. Those collaborative relationships expanded over the years and continue today.
Under new ownership in the early 1990s, the company believed they could refine their core technologies and expand into a variety of additional markets including the government and enterprise markets. Shortly after the new owners purchased the company and took it private, development efforts were re-energized and core technologies quickly expanded beyond basic simple card embossing and magnetic stripe encoding. New inline card personalization technologies included color printing that rivaled lithographic output and encoding of both contact and contactless smart cards.
Development efforts led to multiple new offerings, including the world’s first digital photo ID card system and desktop card printer in 1994. Until the launch of this new technology, governments, corporations and other security-minded enterprises primarily used cut-and-paste processes that involved laminating color photographs and paper identification cards. The digital systems brought new levels of security and economy to the identification process.
Through the 1990s and early 2000s, Datacard Group steadily grew revenues by introducing solutions for issuing highly secure government credentials, such as driver’s licenses, national IDs, traditional passports and e-passports (which elevated document security by incorporating biometrics, laser engraving, digital imaging, data encryption and other technologies). Significant revenue gains were also driven by continued leadership in the financial card market. Through the 1990s, 2000s and today, a vast majority of the world’s credit, debit and prepaid cards are personalized using Datacard® high-volume and desktop issuance systems.
In November 2014, the company officially launched a new brand and changed the legal entity name to Entrust Datacard.
Datacard’s portfolio includes the world’s best-selling brands of high-volume central card issuance systems and distributed issuance solutions, including desktop printers, software and supplies. Other hardware products including high-value systems for issuing passports and creating customized mail packages for cards and other personalized credentials. Software offerings include highly regarded products for issuing and managing financial cards, EMV smart cards, ID cards, passports, national IDs, student IDs and other credentials. In fact the company’s software is considered a standard for most financial card operations and high-assurance government ID programs.
A rapidly growing portion of the company’s portfolio is focused on instant issuance of credit, debit and prepaid cards. Banks, retailers, credit unions and other organizations issuing cards used for financial transactions are rapidly deploying systems used to issue cards on-demand in branch or store locations. These instant issuance systems are often used for issuing emergency replacements when cards are lost, stolen or compromised by breaches. Most often, they complement centralized operations that focus on mass issuance aspects of a card program.
The company also derives strong revenues from supplies and service. Supply offerings include overlays embedded with a variety of advanced technologies, including optical variable devices (OVDs), holographic images and various advanced materials that improve both the security and longevity of cards, passport booklets and other credentials. The company’s service organization supports customers in 150 countries with a portfolio of both consultative professional services and technical support, which is available online, on-call or onsite. Service experts are often located onsite at large customer installations and develop highly collaborative relationships with in-house operations teams.
After the 2013 acquisition of Entrust, the company’s portfolio expanded to include Entrust software authentication platforms that strengthen security in a wide range of identity and transaction ecosystems.
The Entrust transaction in December 2013 represents the largest acquisition in the company’s history. While a majority of the company’s financial and portfolio growth has been organic, there have been several acquisitions in the company’s 46-year history.
In 2001, Datacard Group acquired P7, the smart card technology arm of NatWest Bank, which is now a part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The acquisition accelerated the company’s smart card development efforts and helped form a number of offerings, including today’s EMV issuance solutions. In 2010, the company also acquired Dynamic Card Systems (DCS) of Denver, Colorado. In addition to experienced engineering and sales teams, the DCS acquisition included the banking market’s best-selling instant card issuance software, CardWizard® which is used by thousands of banks worldwide to issue Visa® and MasterCard® branded credit and debit cards on-demand in branch locations. Other acquisitions in recent years have expanded the company’s core capabilities surrounding trusted identity and secure transactions.
Todd Wilkinson has served as Datacard Group (and now Entrust Datacard) president and CEO since June 2008. Previously, he had been the company’s CFO for nearly three years and had worked in a number of executive positions at General Electric. Kurt Ishaug serves as the company’s CFO and Lisa Tibbits serves as general counsel.
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