Mine exits stealth mode, begins UK launch ahead of Series A
Israel-based personal data start-up Mine has come out of stealth mode to launch in the UK following a $3 million funding round.
The seed round, backed by Battery Ventures and Saban Ventures, is being used to launch the start-up’s UK presence, and its CEO and co-founder is to move to the UK as part of the launch.
The personal data firm hopes to help consumers clean up their digital footprint by exercising their rights under GDPR.
Using machine learning, Mine’s technology scans a user’s inbox to garner which businesses are still holding their personal info.
It plans to allow the product to evolve for a few months in the UK before raising a “much bigger” Series A round which will power its expansion into the US, Brazil, Canada, Australia and “any region that has similar policies”, its CEO and co-founder Gal Ringel told BusinessCloud.
Ringel brings experience in both cybersecurity and funding to his first venture.
The Forbes ’30 Under 30′ founder began his career in cybersecurity at the Israeli Cyber Intelligence Unit 8200, which he described as “like the UK’s MI5”.
He then moved into the corporate world, securing a job at US market research company Nielsen in early stage business investment in Israel, before moving to Verizon Ventures to complete his experience by helping firms carry out later stage investment.
After watching enough start-ups make the investment journey, Ringel decided he was himself ready to take the plunge.
Alongside co-founders Gal Golan, whom he met at the Israel Defence Forces, and Chief Product Office Kobi Nissan, Mine was launched.
“The three of us had dealt with personal data from all kinds of angles. We all know how personal data is valuable and precious,” said Ringel.
At the end of 2017, having heard about the incoming GDPR, the trio began researching the market. Though there were many firms offering to help businesses with GDPR compliance, the trio could not find a platform helping consumers to make use of their new rights under the regulation.
This would be the inspiration for Mine. The app scans a user’s inbox, accessing only the sender and subject line to minimise intrusion. This data is enough to build a list of all the firms holding a user’s personal data, allowing them to choose which ones should continue holding it.
Ringel said that the average Mine user should expect to find that 350 firms currently hold their data. Of those, 80% are likely ‘one off’ interactions; the likes of an old hotel reservation or an online store from which a gift was once bought.
“On a daily basis we all use online services and share our personal data with companies,” he explained.
“The problem is that as a consumers you don’t really have a choice, you can’t really decide what you want to share – you have to click ‘I Agree’.
“We want to be there and help you keep only the 20% of services that you actually use, trust and get value from.”
Under GDPR, individuals can make a ‘subject access request’ verbally or in writing, and a firm has one month to let that individual know what information it has, and to carry out a request for deletion.
With up to 350 firms to contact manually, Mine hopes to help speed up this process of personal data spring cleaning.
“Instead of thinking about data privacy, we should think about data ownership. Now that the GDPR is in place, we can go and share whatever we want with whoever we want – but then we can take our data back whenever we should.”
The regulation stipulates that firms can’t charge individuals – or Mine – for the cost of carrying out these requests, which can be costly to businesses when the volume of requests balloons.
Mine has already carried out 25,000 requests already on behalf of its users, a fact which Ringel admits has the potential to cost firms more in time and money as Mine’s popularity increases.
But Ringel said that Mine has the answer for these businesses as well.
“We’re not going against companies,” he said. “We help companies to streamline the process of the request from the end user side – so instead of dealing with a lot of email copy and different languages, we want to connect to the company’s APIs and streamline the request from the end user side.
“We want to help them be more efficient to help them decrease the labour in dealing with these requests. We really want to work together.”
The new business clients brought to Mine by a flood of user requests will form part of its revenue stream.
While currently free, Ringel said that in future it will launch a subscription model, making up the remainder of its revenue stream.
The move comes at the right time, he said, as consumers begin to respect the adage ‘if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product’.
“We must charge something to give you [the customer] the feeling that you’re not the product and this is exactly our mission and our key values at Mine,” he said.