Airport fast lane purveyor raises $44.4m

Spark Capital and Syncom Venture Partners have led a second round of funding to help Clear expand its US footprint.

Airport security company Clear has secured $44.4 million (€30 million) in venture funding led by Spark Capital and Syncom Venture Partners.

The second round financing brings total capital raised by the company to $116 million. Spark and Syncom are joined by existing investors defense contractor Lockheed Martin, security products producer GE Security, New York private equity firm Baker Capital, Lehman Brothers and Clear founder and chief executive Steven Brill.

After being pre-screened and providing fingerprint and iris images, members of Clear are allowed access to faster security lanes. According to Clear, membership can shorten airport security times by 30 percent.

Clear is currently accepted in 18 US airports. The venture financing will be used to expand the number of airports in which Clear is accepted, fund airport installations and boost membership. Clear is also hoping to expand to “non-airport venues,” Brill said in a statement. Approximately 200,000 people have enrolled in Clear to date.

Boston, Massachusetts-based Spark is a venture firm focusing on stage-agnostic investments in media, entertainment and technology. Spark closed its second fund on $360 million last summer following the launch of the firm’s $260 million debut fund in October 2005.

Spark’s investments include social gaming site I’m In Like With You, microblogging service Twitter and internet television broadcasting system Veoh Networks.

Syncom, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, focuses on early- and mid-stage investments in the media and communications sectors. The firm closed its fifth fund on $275 million in October 2007.

Syncom often concentrates on African American- and Hispanic- owned companies. The firm’s portfolio includes Latino-themed network Si TV, US urban radio broadcasting company Radio One and Maya Cinemas North America, which develops movie theaters in areas with a strong Latino presence.