Giving users control of their privacy: why we invested in Jumbo

As Jumbo Privacy announces the launch of Jumbo 2.0 and its Series A, Balderton's Bernard Liautaud looks back at his first meeting with CEO Pierre Valade, and why we're so excited to part of Jumbo's journey.

I remember first meeting Jumbo Privacy’s founder and CEO, Pierre Valade, in California in 2014 in the early days of his first company, Sunrise Calendar. We immediately hit it off discussing how to build a modern mobile calendar. I was a frustrated calendar user, and he was a brilliant designer. It was obvious to me from our first conversations that Pierre had an incredible product sense. He intuitively understood how people wanted to use technology and had the ability to translate that understanding into a product.

When we invested in Sunrise, they were a tiny and fast-moving team based in New York. With a huge amount of focus, and drawing on Pierre’s natural intuition, they managed to create a product that had a dedicated following and was really loved by its users. The calendar made sense, it worked, it was mobile-first and super user friendly. It had the kind of connection with its users that very few products ever manage to achieve.

While this first experience of working with the Sunrise team was great, it was ultimately short-lived as the company was acquired by Microsoft just 7 months after we invested. However, Pierre and I stayed in close contact in the years that followed. I was determined that whatever Pierre built next - I was going to be part of it.

The first time we spoke about what would become Jumbo Privacy was on a walking meeting around the Guggenheim Museum in New-York. Privacy is something I’ve always been extremely interested in. For all of technology's many benefits, it is increasingly apparent that issues surrounding data privacy are only set to become even more complex. Over the past few years, we have seen an alarming rise in data breaches and privacy violations, including high profile scandals like Cambridge Analytica. For most people, what happens to their private information online is still a huge mystery. There is a serious lack of understanding around whether your data could be sold, how it is processed, and whether it could potentially even be leveraged against you.

Many users believe they have no choice when it comes to giving away personal information, particularly if they want to benefit from a free service like Facebook or Twitter. With Jumbo, Pierre wanted to give that choice back to consumers. He had a vision of a privacy solution designed with people in mind, that would make tackling this complex issue as simple as tapping a button.

Many users believe they have no choice but to give away personal data. Jumbo gives that choice back to consumers.

Jumbo Privacy was built to do just that. It’s a simple, understandable and easy-to-use tool which scans the apps and websites that people use every day and offers actionable recommendations to increase online privacy and security. Jumbo now also offers the ability to block third-party trackers on mobile, data breach warnings and protection for LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Amazon.

Unlike other privacy solutions, Jumbo’s innovative approach is consumer-based only, so users don’t have to rely on another company to do the right thing with their data. The control is directly in the user’s hand. Unlike other internet services, Jumbo also doesn’t use server-side storage or process user data. None of your data ever leaves your phone. The company already protects more than 100,000 users on iOS and Android and is adding more every day.

Jumbo has also recently launched a subscription model, giving users the option of paying for more features using a “Pay what you think is fair” pricing model, so it can stay true to its mission of never selling ads or monetising data. What is obvious from early data is that users are willing to pay for straightforward privacy solutions, with approximately 40% of US users already paying the recommended amount or higher.

Like Jumbo, we at Balderton believe that data privacy is a fundamental right, so are delighted to have led the company’s Series A. With the explosion of remote working and the increasing amount of online tools we use daily, ensuring that we keep our personal data safe has never been more necessary.

It’s fantastic to be working with Pierre again, and supporting his dedicated team on their mission to put users in control of their privacy.

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