The next time you order food using an app, you can also order groceries. In a bid to reach out to consumers, most FMCG companies have formed partnerships for delivery of essentials as customers have been avoiding stepping out for fear of getting infected with the deadly Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus.
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TechCrunch readers probably know that privacy regulations like Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA give them additional rights around their personal data — like the ability to request that companies delete your data. But how many of you have actually exercised that right?
An Israeli startup called Mine is working to make that process much simpler, and it announced this morning that it has raised $ 9.5 million in Series A funding.
The startup was founded CEO Gal Ringel, CTO Gal Golan and CPO Kobi Nissan. Ringel and Golan are both veterans of Unit 8200, the cybersecurity unit of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Ringel explained that Mine scans users’ inboxes to help them understand who has access to their personal data.
“Every time that you do an online interaction, such as you sign up for a service or purchase a flight ticket, those companies, those services leave some clues or traces within your inbox,” he said.
Mine then cross-references that information with the data collection and privacy policies of the relevant companies, determining what data they’re likely to possess. It calculates a risk score for each company — and if the user decides they want a company to delete their data, Mine can send an automated email request from the user’s own account.
Ringel argued that this is a very different approach to data privacy and data ownership. Instead of building “fences” around your data, Mine makes you more comfortable sharing that data, knowing that you can take control when necessary.
“The product gives [consumers] the freedom to use the internet feeling more secure, because they know they can exercise their right to be forgotten,” he said.
Ringel noted that the average Mine user has a personal data footprint across 350 countries — and the number is more like 550 in the United States. I ran a Mine audit for myself and, within a few minutes, found that I’m pretty close to the U.S. average. (Ringel said the number doesn’t include email newsletters.)
Mine launched in Europe earlier this year and says it has already been used by more than 100,000 people to send 1.3 million data deletion requests.
The legal force behind those requests will differ depending on where you live and which company you are emailing, but Ringel said that most companies will comply even when they’re not legally required to do so, because it’s part of creating a better privacy experience that helps them “earn trust and credibility from consumers.” Plus, “Most of them understand that if you want to go, they’ve already lost you.”
The startup’s core service is available for free. Ringel said the company will make money with premium consumer offerings, like the ability to offload the entire conversation with a company when you want your data deleted. It will also work with businesses to create a standard interface around privacy and data deletion.
As for whether giving Mine access to your inbox creates new privacy risks, Ringel said that the startup collects the “bare minimum” of data — usually just your email address and your full name. Otherwise, it knows “the type of data, but not the actual data” that other companies have obtained.
“We would never share or sell your data,” he added.
The Series A was led by Google’s AI-focused venture fund Gradient Ventures, with participation from e.ventures, MassMutual Ventures, as well as existing investors Battery Ventures and Saban Ventures. Among other things, Ringel said the money will fund Mine’s launch in the United States.
The global pandemic crisis has accelerated the remote workforces trend across industries. The increased adoption of this trend has highlighted its flaws pertaining to collaboration and data fragmentation. As per a Gartner survey, almost three in four senior executives are in plans to make some parts of their workforce remote permanently. There are a number of startups that help businesses and employees handle pain points that remote work magnifies. One such startup has come out of stealth mode with a $ 15M (nearly €12.7M) funding.
Bags Series A funding
London-based Qatalog has announced its Series A investment. This funding round was led by Atomico along with participation from Salesforce Ventures and angel investors such as Jacob de Geer (CEO/co-founder of iZettle), Chris Hitchen (Partner at Inventures, founder Getprice), Thijn Lamers (former EVP at Adyen) and all existing investors.
The company will use the investment to expand its London team and bring a new infrastructure for work to the market. This way, it claims, it will provide employees better visibility of work, ability to collaborate, and access to information.
Besides the investment, Atomico Partner Irina Haivas will join the board of Qatalog. And, it brings the overall funding raised by the company to $ 18.5M (nearly €15.7M), combining this Series A and previous seed round. Currently, Qatalog is in the closed product development phase and is testing with some of Silicon Valley and Europe’s most valuable private companies.
Building blocks of modern work!
Founded in 2019 by Tariq Rauf, London-based Qatalog lets employees find any file, person, or message instantly, coordinate workflows, align on goals, and automate routine work. It comes to play as it puts together all the SaaS building blocks of modern work such as Zoom, Microsoft/Google Suite, Teams/Slack, Jira, Confluence, Notion, Asana, and others.
The company organises and contextualises tools around the relevant people, projects, and teams in a company. Also, it unifies information and makes it more accessible and transparent and automates routine work. Eventually, people work smarter and collaborate better within the organisation.
The company claims that its systems are SSL-certified and its strict data management processes achieve full integrity and compliance with GDPR regulations.
Main image picture credits: Qatalog
I'm not educated on the whole power dynamics between big tech and everyone else but it does seem that FANG+Microsoft are invading just about every industry in existence.
Google only has youtube because someone decided to sell.
Same with instagram, github, and many many other examples.
I know its probably an extreme example but I cant help but think of the movie it's a wonderful life where the business man owns the entire town.
Microsoft is doing this to slack right now. They have billions to throw at crushing slack. They're only capable of that because they've been increasing their "power" by buying companies and expanding their reach.
Is this a ridiculous line of thought? Or Do startups need to stop selling out to big tech?