Jumbo Privacy raises $8m funding to return online privacy to users

By Lucy Ingham

Startup Jumbo Privacy has raised $8m in Series A funding to take on what it describes as “the tech industry’s privacy problem”.

Founded in April 2019, Jumbo Privacy is designed to help consumers regain privacy and control of their data, through an iOS and Android app.

The app scans the websites and other apps you use, including Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon, identifies how and to what extent they are using your data and infringing on your privacy, and offers recommendations on what to do to limit the problem.

“Our vision for Jumbo is to give you back control of your privacy, protect your sensitive data that is stored online on the major apps and websites, and ultimately give you greater peace of mind. Our goal is to design a delightful product experience that should not feel like ‘work’,” said Pierre Valade, CEO and founder of Jumbo Privacy.

Using a “pay what you think is fair” model

As part of the funding announcement, Jumbo Privacy has also announced the premium versions of its product, Jumbo Plus and Jumbo Pro, which give users additional features such as a feature to block ad trackers, improved notifications about data breaches users have been impacted by and protection on LinkedIn and Instagram.

This is rather unusually funded through a “pay what you think is fair” model, while users will be allowed to access premium tools for free in some cases, such as if they need to browse LinkedIn to job hunt.

The startup hopes this model will prevent it turning to exploitative models used by many free services, while enabling it to run and grow.

“We have seen countless times that when an app or service is free, you are the product and money is being made off of you and your data. We will never sell ads or do anything to monetise your data, so we must do things differently,” said Valade.

“To stay true to our core values and mission, we need to build a sustainable and independent business. We plan on turning a profit from Jumbo Plus and Jumbo Pro. Our customers have already shown us that they are willing to pay for the additional privacy features our team will keep building, and – most importantly – to help us build a company that will never sell our users’ data.”

Jumbo funding a vote of confidence in privacy industry

The funding round, which was led by Balderton Capital, is a strong sign for Jumbo Privacy, not only because it will help the startup grow, but because it demonstrates genuine financial potential in an industry and model that has traditionally been associated with non-profits and activists.

The tech industry’s long-established issues with privacy have been regularly suggested to be the only viable way to provide a profit, but this suggests that there is genuine economic potential in companies that take an inclusive, privacy focused approach.

“For all of technology’s many benefits, it is increasingly apparent that issues surrounding data privacy are only set to rise and become even more complicated,” said Bernard Liautaud, partner at Balderton Captial.

“Most people have no idea what is happening to their private information online or how to manage it. Jumbo Privacy’s incredibly user-friendly tools strip away the complexity of managing your personal data.”

Read more: Covid-19 pandemic could change the face of data privacy