The Father of the World Wide Web pulls in financing for his new project.
Tim Berners-Lee’s startup, Inrupt, has raised about $30 million in its Series A financing round, according to an article in TechCrunch.
Forte Ventures led Inrupt’s new round, but both parties 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.
Berners-Lee, the creator of the standards used in the world wide web, and technologist John Bruce founded Inrupt. They claim they are attempting to “reshape the internet” by building a platform that gives users control of their data. The Inrupt team also includes cryptography expert Bruce Schneier.
Berners-Lee himself issued a statement about the deal. “Business transformation is hampered by different parts of one’s life being managed by different silos, each of which looks after one vertical slice of life,” he said. “Meanwhile, that data is exploited by the silo in question.” He said this leads to “increasing, very reasonable, public skepticism about how personal data is being misused.”
Helping Internet users take control of their data
Inrupt’s platform enables users to store their personal data in something called a POD (Personal Online Datastore). These PODs are interoperable with decentrealized applications and can be decoupled whenever the user prefers to do so. In an investor pitch obtained by TechCrunch, Inrupt said that it is attempting to emulate the core infrastructure of companies such as Visa for credit card processing and Verisign, which commercialized the DNS standard.
Hunter Hartwell, principal at Forte Ventures, announced and explained their investment in a blog post. He said Inrupt’s approach “allows consumers to take control of their data while giving governments and companies — and their app developers — a more seamless transition into a new internet era and regulatory regime (e.g., GDPR).”
Inrupt’s customers include governments and enterprises. The startup has signed contracts with governments of Sweden, Argentina and Basque, TechCrunch reported earlier. It generated $225,000 in revenue last year, and $200,000 in revenue in September, the report said.