Category: Privacy

Thomvest invests in Opaque Systems — from friendship to company-building



Thomvest invests in Opaque Systems — from friendship to company-building

Thomvest is thrilled to announce our Series A investment in Opaque Systems, the company behind open source MC2, a platform for collaborative analytics and artificial intelligence ( AI) at scale. Confidential computing is a market that is ready for takeoff — Gartner estimates that by 2025, 60% of large organizations will adopt privacy-enhancing computation (PEC) for processing data in untrusted environments and (multiparty) data analytics use cases. Opaque Systems was founded by an incredible team — Rishabh Poddar, Raluca Ada Popa and Ion Stoica — who have the right skills to solve this incredibly technical challenge.

Our journey with Rishabh, Opaque’s co-founder and CEO started many years ago during his PhD days at UC Berkeley. My interest in one of his published papers led to a memorable early-morning coffee meeting, when he was a member of Berkeley RISELab whose mission is to develop technologies that enable applications to interact intelligently and securely with their environment in real time. Rishabh’s excitement about the confidential computing space is infectious and we knew right away that we had to be a part of his journey whenever he decided to launch his dreamboat. We are thankful that time has arrived!

AI and machine learning (ML) techniques are increasingly being adopted by enterprises today to make business-critical decisions. For continued accuracy, machine learning needs a large amount of data which today is stuck in organizational silos. Sharing confidential data is a bottleneck for large enterprises in regulated industries who want to (Read more...)

Visualizing The 50 Biggest Data Breaches From 2004–2021


This post is by Omri Wallach from Visual Capitalist


View high-resolution version of infographic

This graphic visualizes the 50 largest data breaches, by entity and sector, since 2004.

Visualizing The 50 Biggest Data Breaches From 2004–2021

As our world has become increasingly reliant on technology and data stored online, data breaches have become an omnipresent threat to users, businesses, and government agencies. In 2021, a new record was set with more than 5.9 billion user records stolen.

This graphic by Chimdi Nwosu visualizes the 50 largest data breaches since 2004, along with the sectors most impacted. Data was aggregated from company statements and news reports.

Understanding the Basics of Data Breaches

A data breach is an incident in which sensitive or confidential information is copied, transmitted or stolen by an unauthorized entity. This can occur as a result of malware attacks, payment card fraud, insider leaks, or unintended disclosure.

The targeted data is often customer PII (personally identifiable information), employee PII, intellectual property, corporate data or government agency data.

Date breaches can be perpetrated by lone hackers, organized cybercrime groups, or even national governments. Stolen information can then be used in other criminal enterprises such as identity theft, credit card fraud, or held for ransom payment.

Notable Data Breaches Since 2004

The largest data breach recorded occurred in 2013 when all three billion Yahoo accounts had their information compromised. In that cyberattack, the hackers were able to gather the personal information and passwords of users. While the full extent of the Yahoo data breach is still not fully realized, subsequent cybercrimes across the globe have been linked to the stolen information.

Here (Read more...)

Accel doubles down on 1Password, which just raised $100M more at a $2B valuation



Toronto-based 1Password is one of those rare companies that is a) profitable and b) transparent enough to share financials.

And today, the company announced that it raised $100 million in a Series B round of funding that doubles the company’s valuation to $2 billion.

You may recall that the previously bootstrapped 1Password only raised its first round of external capital in 2019 – a $200 million Series A led by Accel that represented the venture firm’s largest single investment in its 35-year history. At the time, 1Password was hardly a startup, having been founded in 2005. 

Accel also led its latest round, which notably included participation from Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Kim Jackson’s Skip Capital and a slew of tech executives including Tobias Lütke, CEO of Shopify; Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify; Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and CEO of Slack; Anthony Caselena, founder and CEO of Squarespace; Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, co-CEOs of Atlassian; and Kevin Hartz, co-founder and chairman of Eventbrite, among others.

Profitable since day one, 1Password recently crossed the $120 million in ARR (annual recurring revenue) mark, according to CEO Jeff Shiner. Over 90,000 businesses use its SaaS platform, including a number of big names such as Under Armour, Shopify, the PGA, IBM, GitLab, Slack and PagerDuty. That’s up from 50,000 customers at the time of its November 2019 raise.

Founding couples Dave and Sara Teare and Roustem and Natalia Karimov came up with the idea for 1Password while they were growing another company that built (Read more...)

Swiss Post acquires e2e encrypted cloud services provider, Tresorit



Swiss Post, the former state-owned mail delivery firm which became a private limited company in 2013, diversifying into logistics, finance, transport and more (including dabbling in drone delivery) while retaining its role as Switzerland’s national postal service, has acquired a majority stake in Swiss-Hungarian startup Tresorit, an early European pioneer in end-to-end-encrypted cloud services.

Terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed. But Swiss Post’s income has been falling in recent years, as (snailmail) letter volumes continue to decline. And a 2019 missive warned its business needed to find new sources of income.

Tresorit, meanwhile, last raised back in 2018 — when it announced an €11.5M Series B round, with investors including 3TS Capital Partners and PortfoLion. Other backers of the startup include business angels and serial entrepreneurs like Márton Szőke, Balázs Fejes and Andreas Kemi. According to Crunchbase Tresorit had raised less than $18M over its decade+ run.

It looks like a measure of the rising store being put on data security that a veteran ‘household’ brand like Swiss Post sees strategic value in extending its suite of digital services with the help of a trusted startup in the e2e encryption space.

‘Zero access’ encryption was still pretty niche back when Tresorit got going over a decade ago but it’s essentially become the gold standard for trusted information security, with a variety of players now offering e2e encrypted services — to businesses and consumers.

Announcing (Read more...)

Internxt gets $1M to be ‘the Coinbase of decentralized storage’



Valencia-based startup Internxt has been quietly working on an ambitious plan to make decentralized cloud storage massively accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

It’s just bagged $1M in seed funding led by Angels Capital, a European VC fund owned by Juan Roig (aka Spain’s richest grocer and second wealthiest billionaire), and Miami-based The Venture City. It had previously raised around half a million dollars via a token sale to help fund early development.

The seed funds will be put towards its next phase of growth — its month-to-month growth rate is 30% and it tells us it’s confident it can at least sustain that — including planning a big boost to headcount so it can accelerate product development.

The Spanish startup has spent most of its short life to date developing a decentralized infrastructure that it argues is both inherently more secure and more private than mainstream cloud-based apps (such as those offered by tech giants like Google).

This is because files are not only encrypted in a way that means it cannot access your data but information is also stored in a highly decentralized way, split into tiny shards which are then distributed across multiple storage locations, with users of the network contributing storage space (and being recompensed for providing that capacity with — you guessed it — crypto).

“It’s a distributed architecture, we’ve got servers all over the world,” explains founder and CEO Fran Villalba Segarra. “We leverage and use the space provided by professionals and individuals. (Read more...)

On a growth tear, DuckDuckGo reveals it picked up $100M in secondary investment last year



Privacy tech continues cooking on gas. To wit: Non-tracking search engine DuckDuckGo has just revealed that it beefed up its balance sheet at the back end of last year with $100 million+ in “mainly secondary investment” — from a mix of existing and new investors.

Its blog post name-checks Omers Ventures, Thrive, GP Bullhound, Impact America Fund, and also WhatsApp founder Brian Acton; inventor of the world wide web Tim Berners-Lee; VC and diversity activist Freada Kapor Klein; and entrepreneur Mitch Kapor as being among the participating investors. So quite the line up.

DuckDuckGo said the secondary investment allowed some of its early employees and investors to cash out a chunk of their equity while bolstering its financial position.

Although it also says its business — which has been profitable since 2014 — is “thriving”, reporting that revenues are now running at $100M+ a year. Hence it not needing to keep dipping into an external investor pot.

Its last VC raise was in 2018 when it took in $10M after being actively pursued by Omers Ventures — who convinced it to take the money to help support growth objectives (especially internationally).

DDG has a few other metrics to throw around now: Over the last 12 months it said its apps were downloaded over 50M times — more than in all prior years combined.

It’s also revealed that its monthly search traffic increased 55% and says marketshare trackers indicate that it grabbed the #2 spot for search engine on mobile in (Read more...)

Facebook’s Kustomer buy could face EU probe after merger referral



The European Union may investigate Facebook’s $1BN acquisition of customer service platform Kustomer after concerns were referred to it under EU merger rules.

A spokeswoman for the Commission confirmed it received a request to refer the proposed acquisition from Austria under Article 22 of the EU’s Merger Regulation — a mechanism which allows Member States to flag a proposed transaction that’s not notifiable under national filing thresholds (e.g. because the turnover of one of the companies is too low for a formal notification).

The Commission spokeswoman said the case was notified in Austria on March 31.

“Following the receipt of an Article 22 request for referral, the Commission has to transmit the request for referral to other Member States without delay, who will have the right to join the original referral request within 15 working days of being informed by the Commission of the original request,” she told us, adding: “Following the expiry of the deadline for other Member States to join the referral, the Commission will have 10 working days to decide whether to accept or reject the referral.”

We’ll know in a few weeks whether or not the European Commission will take a look at the acquisition — an option that could see the transaction stalled for months, delaying Facebook’s plans for integrating Kustomer’s platform into its empire.

Facebook and Kustomer have been contacted for comment on the development.

The tech giant’s planned purchase of the customer relations management platform was announced last November and quickly raised concerns (Read more...)

OneTrust adds ethics to its privacy platform with Convercent acquisition



OneTrust, a late stage privacy platform startup, announced it was adding ethics and compliance to the mix this morning by acquiring Convercent, a company that was built to help build more ethical organizations. The companies did not share the purchase price.

OneTrust just raised $300 million on a fat $5.1 billion valuation at the end of last year, and it’s putting that money to work with this acquisition. Alan Dabbiere, co-chairman at OneTrust sees this acquisition as a way to add a missing component to his company’s growing platform of services.

“Integrating Convercent instantly brings a proven ethics and compliance technology, team, and customer base into the OneTrust, further aligning the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer strategy alongside privacy, data governance, third-party risk, GRC (governance, risk and compliance), and ESG (environmental, social and governance) to build trust as a competitive advantage,” he said.

Convercent brings 750 customers and 150 employees to the OneTrust team along with its ethics system, which includes a way for employees to report ethical violations to the company and a tool for managing disclosures.

Convercent can also use data to help surface bad behavior before it’s been reported. As CEO Patrick Quinlan explained in a 2018 TechCrunch article:

“Sometimes you have this interactive code of conduct, where there’s a new vice president in a region and suddenly page views on the sexual harassment section of the Code of Conduct have increased 200% (Read more...)