After selling his start-up to Microsoft, the aspiring entrepreneur Pierre Valade has been investing in the privacy and data security market for a year. He just raised $8 million from the Balderton fund.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal deeply affected Pierre Valade. In 2018, the year that witnessed the birth of the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). After selling his Sunrise calendar application to the American giant Microsoft for $92 million. And faced with the devouring appetite of GAFA and the multiplication of scandals around the subject of data confidentiality (old tweets taken out of context, recordings of voice assistants without consent, etc…), he wanted to find a way to give users control over their data and privacy.
As such, in April 2019, he unveiled a first version of the Jumbo Privacy application, thought of as a «protective agent». “No tech giant can spend a lot of time managing their privacy and data on each of their services. A platform like Facebook has some 35 privacy or security settings. The game is not balanced between the different platforms and the user” explains Pierre Valade.
A Trusted Third Party
Like an antivirus, the application analyzes smartphone applications (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc…) that the user connects to and makes a series of recommendations to increase online privacy and security. The user can, for instance, choose to delete tweets beyond a certain date, ensure that his birthday is not public on Facebook, check that his email address does not circulate on the dark web, etc…
The tool works for the user as a trusted third party. It allows him to regain control over his privacy. “We are reinterpreting the parameter language so that things are simple and understandable by any user” added Pierre Valade. What would take hours of manual adjusting to a user is achieved in seconds by Jumbo.
Most importantly, the application regularly tracks changes to the privacy policies of the various platforms and sends notifications.
Original pricing strategy
To protect his or her data, the user must log in to the account of the service he wants to set up inside the Jumbo application. What about access to this data? “All the data stays in the user’s phone. The technical choices made ensures that the application accesses it, but not the company”, insists Pierre Valade. “We have no economic interest in retrieving this data, which would instead be a risk to us”.
The economic model of the application is only based on subscription, with an original pricing strategy since it is the users who choose from a range the price they want to pay to access Jumbo Plus or Jumbo Pro, premium versions that offer additional features. And contrary to popular belief, users do not systematically go to the cheapest price. “People understand what we’re trying to do. They also understand that if it’s free, there’s a hidden price” said Pierre Valade.
Jumbo currently has more than 100,000 users on iOS and Android and several thousand subscriptions. The company has just raised $8 million, an investment ensured by the Balderton Fund. This is a part of digital life that has not been addressed by any start-up before Jumbo. “There has been a lot of work done on cybersecurity, or privacy is dealt with from a regulatory perspective, but so far no company has focused on user need,” says Bernard Liautaud, partner at Balderton and former CEO of the software company Business Object. The start-up must now work to expand its user base and confirm its ability to turn them into subscribers.