- Worldr aims to secure business chats on Slack and Teams with zero-trust infrastructure.
- The London-based company has raised $11 million from Molten Ventures and Playfair Capital.
- We got an exclusive look at the 17-slide pitch deck it used to raise the cash.
A startup building encryption software to secure business communications on Slack and Teams just raised $11 million.
London-based startup Worldr has built an additional layer of “zero-trust” infrastructure offering security, privacy, and compliance for business communication apps. Zero trust is a security approach where everything is considered as potentially malicious and requiring verification.
Founded in 2019, CEO Max Buchan had the idea while at CoinShares, a European fintech, where he was an early employee. As the company scaled into new markets, it became a highly regulated business, Buchan told Insider. “One of the things I was thinking about was sensitive communication,” he said.
There are a lot of encrypted tools targeted at consumers on the market — including Signal, Telegram, and WhatsApp — but companies can’t access chat logs to comply with regulation and auditing. As a result, the solution so far has been to create new tools, Buchan said.
“It’s very, very difficult for people to change behavior and stop using the thing they like to use,” he said. “The thesis for a while was, what if you could build the same kind of privacy and security compliance architecture onto existing platforms, instead of building your own platform?”
Worldr says its software reroutes traffic from workplace messaging apps so data is stored on the customer’s servers, not on Slack or Microsoft’s. This means that despite using Slack or Teams for business communications, those companies can’t access the customer’s data. Only the customer can access its logs, giving them full ownership of all the information shared via communication tools.
The issue is particularly pertinent as the number of cyberattacks grows. The SEC has also handed out $1.8 billion in fines to 16 US banks for using private messaging apps for work. Gartner expects world spending on security and risk management to grow 11.3% to $76.5 billion in 2023. The consultancy firm named a shift to zero-trust architecture as a factor.
The fresh funds include $8 million in seed financing led by Molten Ventures and $3 million in pre-seed from Playfair Capital and IQ Capital, with the two rounds raised in quick succession.
Molten Ventures investor Leonora Ross Skinner, a former Darktrace manager, was impressed by Buchan’s “insatiable desire” to build a big company with impact, she said. “When we first met him, we really were able to pick up on that.”
“Zero trust is becoming really critical,” she said. “This notion of being infrastructure-agnostic is incredibly key in security. Getting to scale is supercritical. We did it at Darktrace; we could cover everything from your typical network infrastructure to your IoT devices… Worldr it’s really the same in that regard , they’re looking at becoming infrastructure-agnostic and being the standard for secure communications as Darktrace become the standard for anomaly detection.”
Molten Ventures, which has $1.5 billion of assets under management, is bullish on the sector.
Different countries have different rules around data transfers and storage; Worldr also allows companies operating in multiple jurisdictions to store data compliantly. Focussing on compliance and auditing, it has built out search tools so customers can extract relevant information.
The company has built integrations for Microsoft Teams, Slack, and WhatsApp, and has Microsoft Outlook in the works. It bills customers based on headcount and aims for customers in financial services, defense, law, and healthcare as well as corporates more generally. It has contracts across the US, UK, and APAC region, Buchan said.
The funding will be used to open an office in New York, with additional US hubs also on the horizon. Worldr hopes to have 10 to 15 people in the city by the middle of 2023, making up around a fifth of its projected headcount.
Check out the 17-slide pitch deck it used to raise the funds.