Dataswift, a Cambridge-based company that enables individuals to own and use their own data, has announced £1.6 million in seed funding. The round was led by IQ Capital, with participation from Pacific & Orient Properties and Alphanumeric Corporation.

The company’s aim is to solve widespread issues of ethics, transparency, and user control in personal data, issues that are blocking trust and innovation online. Advances in healthcare, artificial intelligence, finance, and communications can be slowed due to out-of-date user information and the evolving complexities of data security regulations. Costs are high to stay up-to-date and compliant. If users maintain control and legal rights over their own data, apps and websites could streamline their own technology and innovate faster. Plus, the incentive for cybercrime could be reduced.

Born of a research project between seven UK universities and £3 million in funding, Dataswift developed Hub-of-All-Things (HAT) accounts, personal databases that allow users to store and manage their own user data and sensitive information. HAT accounts are intended for everyday consumers and designed to remove the dependency on third party servers, lowering risk for both the consumer and the provider.

Professor Irene Ng, CEO of Dataswift said: “Personal data account technology should be an essential part of a developer’s tool kit, as they build ethical, useful, and data-rich websites and applications. This investment comes at a critical time, as tech companies battle privacy concerns with their collection and usage of personal data.”

With the seed funding, Dataswift will invest in its technology and expand into new markets. The company will roll out the new personal data infrastructure globally and empower apps and websites to upgrade their company-held user accounts to HAT accounts.

Daniel Carew, Principal at IQ Capital said: “We believe they are laying the groundwork for a whole new generation of personal computing applications. Dataswift’s approach elegantly addresses one of the fundamental issues with the architecture of the Internet today, and we are glad to support their global rollout.”

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