Optery – a company that offers a free service for finding your personal data on hundreds of data broker websites – announced that it raised an additional $2.7 million in seed funding to modernize and scale personal data protection for consumers and businesses. This funding round – which will help Optery accelerate product enhancements and expand its team – was led by Bayhouse Capital with participation from Global Founders Capital, Goodwater Capital, Pioneer Fund, Soma Capital, TRAC, Y Combinator and others. This brings Optery’s total funding to date to $6 million.
Last year, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 800,944 complaints and the losses from those complaints totaled $10.3 billion. And from 2018-2022, the total complaints were 3.26 million and the total reported losses were $27.6 billion. Phishing was the most common threat by far and represented an 11-fold increase in complaints from 2018 to 2022. These numbers likely underestimate the scope of the problem, as many crimes go unreported by victims.
Optery’s automated opt-out software removes personal information from the internet to reduce the attack surface area for phishing, social engineering, harassment, fraud, and doxxing. Phishing, social engineering, identity theft and even harassment are made easier by data brokers who openly post personal information like phone numbers and home addresses online. Optery is known as the first company to offer a free report with dozens of screenshots showing where your personal information is being posted online. Plus Optery can also automatically remove you from these sites, clearing your home address, phone number, email and other personal information from the Internet at scale. The company also offers the service to businesses, assisting IT teams with scrubbing employees’ personal information from the web to reduce threats to the business. Tens of thousands of users also rely on Optery to prevent attacks and keep their personal data off the internet.
Optery’s founders are Lawrence Gentilello, Chen Atlas, and Dekel Barzilay, Optery’s CEO, CTO, and VP R&D, respectively. And Gentilello worked in the consumer data space for a decade at Oracle, BlueKai and Accenture and was the victim of identity theft himself before starting the company. Many in the industry fear generative AI technologies like ChatGPT (if used maliciously) have the potential to increase the exploitation of consumer data. And Optery’s patented search technology can pinpoint hundreds of data broker sites posting an individual’s personal data and then automatically packages up screenshots of the exposed profiles into an exposure report delivered to the user for free in under an hour. One can then reach out to those sites individually to opt-out, or sign up for an Optery paid subscription, which automates the opt out process and re-scans the sites monthly to ensure the data isn’t repopulated.
“Exploitation of personal data remains one of the most pressing issues of our time and is a key enabler for all kinds of bad actors online. We immediately recognized the growing need for software that manages personal data rights and that Optery’s approach – grounded in automation – is far more accurate and scalable than anything else out there. We’re excited to work with Lawrence and the Optery team to modernize personal data removal and protection.”
— Michael Stuenkel, Founder and CEO at Bayhouse Capital
“I’ve seen firsthand the ways data brokers exploit personal data, and the impact of that exploitation on a person’s life,” said Gentilello. “Until Optery, there was no way to automate the identification and removal of personal data from the hundreds of data brokers out there. Existing options could only reach a subset of the data brokers Optery covers or relied on manual removal methods that are time consuming and error prone. Optery’s technology enables us to solve this problem at scale, and aims to make a big dent in bad actors’ ability to hijack personal data for gain.”
— Lawrence Gentilello, CEO
“With the rise of AI, and its voracious appetite for data, consumers need a platform like Optery that puts them in control and manages their data rights at scale.”
— Chen Atlas, CTO