Silent Circle, which develops cross-platform apps for private calls and messaging, has raised $30 million in venture funding, which will help the company meet demand for producing the privacy-oriented Blackphone.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden opened a huge can of worms when he disclosed how the National Security Agency and other government intelligence bodies spy on conversations through mobile devices and networks, among others. This has spawned a whole new industry of privacy services, privacy apps and secure features for smartphones and other devices. As the concerned governments struggle to clean up their images in the wake of Snowden’s revelations, app makers have taken center-stage in ensuring privacy of user communications.
One of the notable companies in this respect is Silent Circle, which was founded by an interesting team, which includes PGP inventor Phil Zimmermann, retired Navy SEALs Mike Janke and Vic Hyder, plus Jon Callas, who invented the encryption in OSX and iOS devices.
The funding round was led by Ross Perot, Jr. and private equity fund Cain Capital. This investment likewise appoints Perot, as well as former British Telecom chairman and CEO Peter Bonfield into the company’s board of directors.
According to Janke, co-founder and CEO, Silent Circle, the global privacy threat is “irrevocably affecting individuals’ and business’ behavior and driving demand for Silent Circle’s unmatched secure communication technology, calling plans and Blackphone devices.” With the investment, the company now has “the resources to meet the demand for [its] encrypted mobile voice, video, secure file transfer and international secure calling plans.”
Silent Circle has offered its secure calling and texting service for more than a year now, although its latest Blackphone project was introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this February. Blackphone is a production of Swiss-based SGP Technologies, which is a joint venture between Silent Circle and Spanish mobile phone maker Geeksphone. The device will run PrivatOS, which is a secure operating system built on top of Android, and which comes with a suite of privacy-enabling apps including Silent Circle and Silent Phone.
Blackphone starts shipping this June, thanks in part to this timely investment into the startup.
With $30 million in its coffers and the promise of an eavesdropping-free mobile device, will Silent Circle be the gold standard for privacy tools and applications?