How a 20-year-old convinced Facebook’s former security chief to invest in his data privacy start-up

Evervault co-founder and CEO Shane Curran.


At 19 years of age, Irish entrepreneur Shane Curran grabbed the eye of among the world’s high enterprise capital corporations. He managed to boost over $three million in seed funding final 12 months from the likes of Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins, family names in Silicon Valley.

Less than a 12 months later, Curran has already gotten extra buyers on board — and one title specifically stands out. Evervault, his information privateness start-up, now counts Facebook’s former chief safety officer, Alex Stamos, as a backer. Stamos participated in a $16 million funding spherical introduced by the corporate on Thursday.

The deal was led by Index Ventures and likewise backed by Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Frontline Ventures. The agency has now raised greater than $19 million just below two years because it was based, regardless of not but having a product that is commercially out there.

Explaining how he managed to persuade Stamos to take a position, Curran stated the computer scientist was gained over by Evervault’s basic premise: that privateness needs to be constructed into each firm’s app from the get-go, relatively than discarded as an afterthought for his or her compliance groups to take care of.

“For him, he’s coming from a security background at Facebook where privacy was much more of a regulatory problem,” Evervault’s co-founder and CEO instructed CNBC. “Obviously he’s experienced first hand what the pain in the ass is with privacy and security in general.”

Alex Stamos

Brendan Moran | Getty Images

Stamos left Facebook in August 2018, a couple of months after the social media big suffered an enormous data scandal involving controversial information agency Cambridge Analytica. Since then, he has joined Zoom as an advisor to assist the corporate handle privateness and safety points that surfaced not too long ago following a surge in popularity for the video-conferencing app.

Curran stated that talks with Stamos had been completed totally over distant conferences — and he nonetheless hasn’t met him in-person to this present day — as a result of lockdown restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He had already met with lead investor Index in a Dublin espresso store final fall.

“We were immediately super intrigued,” Ari Helgason, principal at Index, instructed CNBC. “Who was this 19-year-old who has won lots of science prizes, just finished high school and then jumped right into building heavy-duty, enterprise-grade encryption? That was already very unusual and enough to pique our interest.”

Funding talks between Index and Evervault correctly kicked off round late February and early March, Curran stated. Presentations had been made and time period sheets agreed remotely, and the spherical closed earlier this month. Alongside Stamos, different angel buyers within the financing included Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz, Datadog CEO Olivier Pomel and Figma CEO Dylan Field.

‘Scary information’

Evervault remains to be within the “development phase,” Curran stated, and its software program is not but publicly out there. It’s creating what’s often known as an software programming interface, or API, a system that shall be built-in into corporations’ apps to make sure privateness is baked in from the beginning.

“It’s this idea of a privacy cage, where basically we let you process your most sensitive data in an encrypted way, so that individuals never sacrifice your privacy but companies still get full utility over your data,” Evervault’s CEO stated.

The goal shall be for Evervault to initially promote its know-how to corporations within the monetary companies and well being care sectors, as a result of they deal with what Curran calls “scary data” — personally identifiable info the place, “if it were to go missing, it would be a major issue.”

Longer time period, Curran needs “everyone” to make use of Evervault’s know-how: “If you look at the magnitude of the problem, there’s 4.5 billion people on the internet now, and the reality is very few of them — if any — have full privacy, so that’s a pretty large market opportunity regardless of the companies we integrate with.”

The want for such privacy-preserving applied sciences has been heightened by the coronavirus pandemic in addition to stricter information safety laws. Hackers are more and more exploiting the Covid-19 crisis for their very own private positive aspects, whereas the EU’s GDPR framework and California’s CCPA have pressured corporations to beef up their compliance groups.

With $16 million of additional money within the financial institution, Evervault plans to proceed investing in creating its product and hiring extra individuals — the group at present has solely eight staff. It additionally goals to broaden past its Dublin headquarters, however this have successfully been placed on maintain till it is attainable to fly overseas once more.

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Tarun Banerjee

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