Welter raised $ 3 million from Playfair and IQ Capital to protect remote calls and launch an end-to-end layer of encryption for Microsoft Teams.
How it all started
Our managing partner Chris first met Max and Dima, the two founders of Worldr, in January when they asked for advice on how to increase their first round and optimize the path to Serie A. The rest of the team and I of course joined the conversation and by the time Max started the raise, we already had the feeling that we had deeply understood the founders’ vision of building a truly secure global communication platform.
It’s rare in the crazy funding world of 2021, but that’s how we prefer working with founders: building deep long-term relationships where we have a real chance to get to know the business and the people behind it. Then we think we can be really valuable advisors on your journey.
What is the problem?
Data self-sovereignty is of fundamental importance for the resilience of any company, and yet communication platforms such as Whatsapp and Signal are not sufficient for companies to deal with sensitive information in a legally compliant manner on a daily basis.
Government agencies, law firms, banking institutions, and those handling sensitive information face increasing security challenges as the use of third-party communication platforms becomes part of the daily routines of remote and home office workers. With third-party platforms, data is both stored outside of the user’s control and often encrypted by a third party, meaning that these companies lose ownership of the conversations and data they produce.
With the usage of platforms like Microsoft Teams doubling in the last year to 145 million users (as of April 2021), this is a huge and growing problem in the remote-first-post-Covid era.
What is the solution?
Worldr is building a new type of communication and messaging platform based on privacy, security and data protection in team communication without sacrificing usability.
Worldr aims to be the private and secure alternative to Slack, Teams and WhatsApp by using split-key encryption by default while ensuring that all conversations are stored locally in each company. This means companies have complete control over who can store and access company data, conversations, and sensitive files.
Our investment thesis to invest in Worldr is largely based on its exceptional founders Max and Dima and the market opportunity to provide a truly private team communication tool without sacrificing usability.
- founder. Max and Dima are an extraordinary founding couple. An important indicator of any investment for us is that our conviction grows as we meet founders, and this was a prime example before and during the process. Dima has the legal foundation of a 12-year veteran in corporate law as well as Max’s high-growth startup experience with regulated digital asset manager CoinShares. After Max was the first employee to join after college, Max helped grow the team to 50 people and $ 1.9 billion in AUM before going public in March 2021 as part of extensive market research. They understand their domain inside out and have an insatiable ambition to build a huge company. Crucially, they also have a tight team that is committed to that vision and has attracted a world-class team of engineers, academics and marketers, including two leading designers at Bumble, a PhD in theoretical astrophysics and ex-Kaspersky experts.
- Deep technology. Worldr built Deep IP in areas such as reversing access control to transparent database encryption and intelligent data loading. This resulted in three separate patent pending technologies and is the basic architecture that underpins their roadmap for ‘zero trust’ business solutions.
- Market opportunity (general). Today is a perfect storm for building Worldr as key trends in security, regulation, compliance, and collaboration converge, all of which are reinforced by the move to remote working after Covid. Slack and Microsoft Teams have proven themselves in the enterprise messaging market, but are not fully compliant or fit for purpose in regulated industries. London is a natural place to build a European RegTech leader as they specialize in regulated industries and services.
- Market opportunity (teams wrapper). There is a clear need for Worldr’s central secure enterprise messaging platform, but their second product, Teams Wrapper – a secure add-on for Microsoft Teams – is a brilliant innovation that can shorten its time to market. By using zero trust encryption, Worldr’s wrapper ensures that if a company uses Microsoft Teams, not even Microsoft has access to their employees’ conversations.
- Traction. There is a strong market pull for this product. This is a product that CROs and CISOs desperately need. You have a waiting list of over 200 companies with over 600,000 employees interested in Worldr in all sectors and company sizes. The company’s biggest challenge today is to complete product development to meet this demand.
World champion seed round
Building a team around founders at the seed stage is so important and we couldn’t be happier to invest again with IQ Capital alongside some of the biggest names in deep tech, defense and finance as Angels. These include cyber seed investors like CyLon (co-founded by Grace Cassy and Jonathan Luff), Andreas Wuchner (Group Head of IT & Risk at Credit Suisse), Privitar Co-Founder, John Taysom and of course our own Simon Blakey.
We look forward to working with Max, Dima and their team for many years to come.