Google’s AI-focused fund leads $9.5 million investment in Israeli startup Mine
The company offers users concerned about their private information being online the possibility to automate data deletion requests
Israeli startup Mine (incorporated as Saymine Technologies Ltd.) has completed a $9.5 million financing round. The round was led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused investment fund, and marks its first time investing an Israeli company. MassMutual Ventures and e.ventures also came on as new investors, with previous backers Battery Ventures and Saban Ventures also participating. The new investments bring the company’s total funding to $12.5 million a mere year and a half after its launch.
Mine was founded by Gal Ringel, who serves as its CEO, Gal Golan (CTO) and Kobi Nissan (CPO). Ringel and Golan met during their military service in the elite 8200 unit, where they specialized in offensive cyber and data security. They founded Mine at the end of 2018 and employ a team of 16 people.
Following his military service, Ringel went on to work for VCs Verizon Ventures and Neilsen, which is where he met Nissan. Golan meanwhile gained private market experience as SalesPRedict (acquired by eBay) and Microsoft. Nissan gained his VC experience at Saban Ventures, where he led investments in 10 companies. He also gained valuable product strategy design experience at Accenture and in product development and behavioral economics while at Candy Crush developer King Digital Entertainment in London.
Mine co-founders Gal Ringel (left), Gal Golan, and Kobi Nissan. Photo: Mine
Mine was founded, based on the insight that on the one hand the 'Internet without risks' has yet to be invented and that information and data breaches are an established fact that will continue to plague online users for a long time to come; while on the other hand, users are eager to continue to enjoying everything that the Internet has to offer, even at the cost of exposing some of their personal data such as identification and credit details, etc. In order to bridge this tension between the need to share our personal data when using online services and the concern of our data being exposed through data breaches or hacking Mine decided it was time to offer users easy-to-use tools that would allow users to continue benefiting from the Internet, without changing their online behavior. Their solution allows consumers to discover what companies hold their personal data on an ongoing basis and gives them full control to decide where they want to keep their data and gives them the option of submitting a deletion request (The Right-To-Be-Forgotten) for services they no longer use. In this way, Mine's solution focuses on providing full transparency and choice and helps users to control the way in which their online information is used.
With the growth of social networks and personal data collection worldwide, privacy has become a concern for many, with 87% of Americans now viewing data privacy rights as a human right. Despite this concern, on average, 350 companies (and among Israeli users about 450 companies) hold a given consumer’s personal data such as their identity and financial information. These digital traces pose significant identity theft risks for consumers and are abused daily by hackers and nefarious organizations, even though in about 80% of the cases this data was given for a one-time interaction. Mine exists to empower consumers to discover and manage their data by giving the tools to request the removal of their personal data automatically from any company allowing transparency and choice online. The team at Mine poses a fair question: "Why should we leave our personal data in places that do longer provide us with value? They believe that the best way to protect yourself from data breaches that occur daily is by removing your data from places where you don’t need it, especially as you can always sign-up or purchase a service again.
Mine notes that the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a significant increase in people’s use of online services with privacy concerns increasing as a result. For this reason the need for the company’s product, which helps people identify where their personal details are being stored online and if need be ask commercial companies to delete it by submitting an automated data reclaim request by virtue of the right to be forgotten.
Mine empowers people worldwide to become owners of their personal data and minimize online risks without changing their online behavior. Its AI-based product works as a smart data assistant that enables digital users to discover and manage their personal data online. Mine’s product offers people equal choice and control over the internet by bridging the gap between people and companies and making privacy regulations accessible to everyone.
Since the product was officially launched in Europe less than a year ago, more than 100,000 users have already used Mine in order to reduce their digital footprint by sending more than 1,300,000 data reclaim requests to over 150,000 businesses worldwide. These figures include over 15,000 "Epic Save" cases where people using Mine removed their personal information from commercial databases, a short time before those databases were breached by hackers, For example as happened with EasyJet. Mine found that the local services that Israelis have most frequently asked to remove their data from are: Yad2, Walla! Shops, Arkia, Pelephone, HOT, and public sales website winwin.
"Data privacy is without a doubt a mainstream concern, but most people don’t know how to control who holds their personal data. We want to change this by making privacy regulations accessible and easy for everyone, so consumers can set their own terms and draw the line on what data they are willing to share" said Mine co-founder and CEO Gal Ringel. "By streamlining the “Right-To-Be-Forgotten” processes we are bridging the gap between consumers and companies which will shape a new future of data ownership.
“We’re very excited to partner with the team at Mine to give consumers visibility and choice over their personal online data. Mine allows the average consumer to access and control over their personal data, and as a result, allows companies to maintain a higher standard when it comes to responsible data collection and security, Darian Shirazi, General partner at Gradient Ventures said. “Many companies promise users they can trust their standards and Mine is the consumer check on that anticipated balance between custodians and providers of data."Shirazi added that to date, the fund had not yet invested in Israeli entrepreneurs and they are happy to be making their first investment in the Israeli ecosystem, and which is an important investment for Internet users throughout the world.”