MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—BMW i Ventures Inc. has invested in Alitheon's digital fingerprinting technology (FeaturePrint ID), which represents product surfaces as math formulas to enable on-demand verification of an authentic auto part via an industrial camera or a handheld app. I Ventures is the German automaker's venture capital arm, which routinely makes investments in startups developing technologies with automotive and manufacturing applications.

Alitheon is a Washington-based startup that uses cloud computing databases to match a picture of the product in question with the physical attributes of the corresponding product that comes from the manufacturing process. According to Alitheon CEO Roei Ganzarski, because of the nature of mass production, a machine producing thousands of the same product every day will do so to exact specifications with only minute differences.

Alitheon currently only works with business-to-consumer and business-to-business clients, but in the near future the company wants to make their software available to consumers through a downloadable app on their phones. In so doing, consumers can authenticate their car parts. When that software is released, Ganzarski envisions a structure where a certain number of items will be free for customers to register. After a certain threshold, a subscription model may be introduced.