Tim Berners-Lee’s startup Inrupt has raised approximately $ 30 million in its Series A funding round, said a source familiar with the matter.
Forte Ventures spearheaded Inrupt’s new round, the two said Thursday, but both declined to reveal the scope of the deal. The round included “all existing investors,” including Akamai Technologies and Glasswing Ventures, as well as new investors Allstate and the Frontier Technology Initiative of the Minderoo Foundation.
Inrupt – founded by World Wide Web standards creator Berners-Lee and technologist John Bruce – seeks to “transform” the Internet by building a platform that gives users control over their data. The cryptography expert Bruce Schneier is part of the Inrupt team.
“Business transformation is hampered by the fact that different areas of life are managed by different silos, each of which manages a vertical section of life,” Berners-Lee said in a statement. “In the meantime, this data is being exploited by the silo in question, which is leading to an increasing, very reasonable public skepticism about the misuse of personal data.”
Inrupt’s platform enables users to store their personal data in a so-called POD (Personal Online Datastore). These PODs are interoperable with decentralized applications and can be decoupled by the user at any time. Inrupt believes it is trying to mimic the core infrastructure of companies like Visa for credit card processing and Verisign, which commercialized the DNS standard, according to an investor pitch received from TechCrunch.
“This approach enables consumers to take control of their data while allowing governments and companies – and their app developers – a more seamless transition to a new internet era and regulatory system (e.g. GDPR),” wrote Hunter Hartwell, Principal at Forte Ventures, in a blog post.
“Our thesis for investing in Inrupt is simple: Consumers, governments and many businesses are eager to develop a truly open and collaborative Web (also known as Web3), and Inrupt’s Enterprise Solid Server (ESS) is the most technologically advanced and economically viable way to achieve this future. Embedded in our thesis is the conviction that this high-ranking team is uniquely qualified to meet the requirements and expectations of government and corporate partners as well as the wider public, ”he added.
Inrupt customers include governments and corporations. The startup has signed contracts with governments in Sweden, Argentina and the Basque Country, TechCrunch previously reported. It had sales of $ 225,000 last year and sales of $ 200,000 in September, the report said.
The startup will use the funds to “expand its global solid deployment presence in both government and commercial sectors,” said Hartwell.