Tim Berners-Lee’s startup Inrupt has raised about $30 million in its Series A funding round, a source familiar with the matter said.
Forte Ventures led Inrupt’s new round, both said Thursday, but both declined to disclose the size of the deal. The round saw participation from “all existing investors,” including Akamai Technologies and Glasswing Ventures, as well as new investors Allstate and the Minderoo Foundation’s Frontier Technology Initiative.
TechCrunch reported in late October that three-year-old Inrupt was in talks to raise between $30 million and $50 million.
Inrupt – founded by World Wide Web standards creator Berners-Lee and technologist John Bruce – is trying to “reshape the internet” by building a platform that puts users in control of their data. The Inrupt team includes cryptography expert Bruce Schneier.
“Business transformation is hampered by the fact that different parts of life are handled by different silos, each caring for a vertical slice of life,” Berners-Lee said in a statement. “Meanwhile, that data is being mined by the silo in question, leading to growing, very reasonable, public skepticism about how personal data is being misused.”
Inrupt’s platform allows users to store their personal data in what is called a POD (Personal Online Datastores). These PODs are interoperable with decentralized applications and can be decoupled when the user wishes. Inrupt believes, he said in an investor pitch obtained by TechCrunch, that it is trying to emulate the core infrastructure of companies like Visa for credit card processing and Verisign, which marketed the DNS standard.
“This approach empowers consumers to take control of their data while providing governments and businesses – and their app developers – with a more seamless transition to a new era of the Internet and a new regulatory regime (e.g., GDPR),” Forte Ventures principal Hunter Hartwell wrote in a blog post.
“Our thesis for investing in Inrupt is simple: consumers, governments, and many businesses are eager to move to a truly open and collaborative Web (aka Web3), and the Enterprise Solid Server (ESS) of Inrupt represents the most advanced and technically advanced commercially viable path to realizing this future.Our thesis is rooted in the belief that this top-tier team is uniquely qualified to meet the requirements and expectations of government partners. and businesses, as well as the general public,” he added.
Inrupt’s customers include governments and enterprises. The startup has signed contracts with the Swedish, Argentinian and Basque governments, TechCrunch reported earlier. It generated $225,000 in revenue last year and $200,000 in revenue in September, according to the report.
The startup will deploy the funds to “expand its global footprint of robust deployments in both government and commercial sectors,” Hartwell said.