Tim Berners-Lee defined the rules for the internet three decades ago, paving the door for a slew of new businesses to thrive on an unprecedented scale. His new company, Inrupt, aims to clean up some of the messes that many of those firms have produced, and it’s looking for funding.
According to two sources familiar with the situation and an investor presentation deck received by me, Inrupt is in negotiations with a small group of investors to fund $30 million to $50 million at a pre-money valuation of $140 million. The Series A round hasn’t been completed yet, so the conditions might change, according to the sources, who asked to remain anonymous since the topic is confidential.
A spokeswoman for Inrupt declined to comment.
The business, which has received funding from Akamai Technologies and Glasswing Ventures, claims to be trying to “reshape the internet” by developing a platform that offers people control over their data. Inrupt has created a platform that allows users to save their personal data in a POD (Personal Online Datastores). Governments and businesses are among its clients.
“Governments and businesses want to assist their people manage their data, but they don’t have a platform to do it.” Corporations want to get access to customer data without having to store it. but again, there is no global open protocol for them to do so,” the investor deck reads.
“We are now building a new platform and infrastructure that gives the global population control over their data, governments the ability to put data programmes in place to securely store that data, and enterprises the ease of use to access that data without fear of insecurity or abuse,” according to the pitch, which refers to the startup’s Solid product.
As it tries to replicate fundamental infrastructure businesses like Visa for credit card processing and Verisign, which commercialised the DNS standard, Inrupt believes its addressable market is the “entire data industry,” as it stated in its investor pitch.
Sweden, Argentina, and the Basque government have all inked contracts with the firm. These collaborations have never been publicised before. According to the investor presentation, it made $225,000 in sales last year and $200,000 in revenue last month.
The investor presentation adds, “Inrupt’s management team and Board of Directors are dedicated to a governance framework that guarantees the firm operates with the utmost honesty, openness, and the highest ethical and privacy standards.”
The internet has taken on the roles of a public square, a library, a doctor’s office, a shop, a school, a design studio, an office, a movie, a bank, and many other things. Of course, with each new feature or website, the gap between those who are online and those who aren’t widens, emphasising the need of making the internet accessible to everyone.
While the internet has opened doors, given marginalised groups a voice, and made our everyday lives simpler, it has also opened doors for fraudsters, given voice to those who preach hatred and made all types of crime easier to conduct.
With news headlines about how the internet is being abused, it’s understandable that many people are fearful and wondering if the internet is truly a force for good. However, considering how much the online has evolved in the last 30 years, it would be defeatist and unimaginative to believe that the web as we know it can’t be improved in the next 30. If we abandon our efforts to construct a better web today, the web will not have failed us. We’ll have failed the internet.
To address any issue, we must first define and comprehend it. I perceive three major sources of dysfunction in today’s web:
- Deliberate, malicious intent, such as state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behaviour, and online harassment.
- System design that creates perverse incentives where user value is sacrificed, such as ad-based revenue models that commercially reward clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation.
- Unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse.