A messaging app built on the decentralised Matrix protocol has raised £22 million.
Matrix is an open-source project for end-to-end encrypted communications which has grown 190% in the last 12 months, with more than 35m addressable users and over 75,000 deployments.
Element, the flagship secure collaboration and messaging app for Matrix, raised the Series B funding from Protocol Labs – the creators of libp2p, IPFS and Filecoin – and Metaplanet, the investment fund set up by Jaan Tallinn, co-founder of Skype.
Automattic and Notion are also participating in the round, increasing their investments in Element from Series A funding which also included firstminute Capital and Dawn Capital.
Element recently renewed its contract with the French government, providing collaboration and messaging targeting 5.5m civil servants throughout France.
It has also signed new contracts with Dataport, which sees widespread use of Element in Germany’s education and public administration systems – and with BWI, supplying the official secure communication system for the entirety of the German armed forces.
Element’s work with the US and UK governments also continues to grow, while it has more than 10 engagements in progress with other governments.
“We’re delighted to have been in a position to choose two more mission-driven investors who back companies that will improve the internet to benefit humankind,” said Amandine Le Pape, COO, Element and co-founder of Matrix.
“Protocol Labs and Metaplanet invest in the long-term, and truly believe in open source and the decentralised web.”
Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, who leads Metaplanet, adds: “When communication is centralised it becomes a very appealing target for abuse; whether that’s through propaganda, surveillance, censorship or worse.
“Consumers need rescuing from surveillance capitalism, and organisations need a secure neutral way to communicate. Matrix is the most advanced platform to provide that missing communication layer.”
Juan Benet, CEO, Protocol Labs, said: “Internet communication protocols have become fundamental for humanity. Today, most messaging happens over fickle proprietary centralized walled gardens who hold us hostage to their short-term business outlook.
“Matrix is a beacon of hope: an open network for secure, decentralised communication, built with sound internet infrastructure principles. Element – both product and company – empowers organisations with control, ownership, and a great user experience for all their conversations.”
Germany’s entire healthcare system will adopt Matrix-based real time communications, which will see more than 150,000 organisations and over 80m German citizens using Matrix.
“Element’s funding means there’s continued significant investment in the Matrix protocol, which hugely benefits the entire Matrix ecosystem,” said Matthew Hodgson, CEO of Element and Technical co-founder of Matrix.
“Matrix is completely disruptive – it’s the communication layer of the open web. Matrix will do for communications what the web did for information sharing. And just like the web, it’s an open standard, decentralised, and universal.”
There are now more than 150 Matrix-based apps on the radar – ranging from open source to commercial proprietary solutions. There is also a series of Matrix-based startups, such as Famedly and Beeper.
Consulting and services companies including Thales, Ericsson, Dataport and Sopra Steria have also set up units focused specifically on Matrix-based solutions. “Right now the early adopters of Matrix are governments, security conscious businesses and privacy-aware consumers,” said Hodgson. “The additional investment in Matrix will see development that’ll attract the mainstream. We see Matrix being the universal foundation for all future communications.”