In December 2020, we covered the launch of a new type of smartphone app-based search engine, Xayn.
” Search engine ?! Can I hear you say? Well, yes, because despite the convenience of modern search engines’ ability to tailor their search results to the individual, this user tracking comes at the expense of privacy. This mass surveillance may be what improves Google’s search engine and Facebook ad targeting, to name just two examples, but it’s not very good for our privacy.
Internet users can certainly switch to the American DuckDuckGo, or perhaps to the French Qwant, but what they gain in confidentiality, they often lose in user experience and the relevance of search results, for lack of personalization.
What Berlin-based Xayn came up with is personalized, but a secure web search on smartphones, which replaces the cloud-based AI employed by Google et al. with innate AI built into modern smartphones. The result is that no data about you is uploaded to Xayn’s servers.
And this approach isn’t just for “privacy freaks”. Companies that need research but don’t need Google’s dominant position in the market are increasingly drawn to this model.
And proof comes today with news that Xayn has now raised nearly $ 12 million in Series A funding led by Japanese investors Global Brain and KDDI (a Japanese telecommunications operator), with participation from former donors. of funds, including Earlybird VC in Berlin. Xayn’s total funding now stands at over $ 23 million.
It seems that Xayn’s merger of a search engine, discovery feed and mobile browser has won over these players in the Asian market, especially because Xayn can be integrated with OEM devices.
The result of the investment is that Xayn will now also focus on the Asian market, starting with Japan, as well as Europe.
Leif-Nissen Lundbæk, co-founder and CEO of Xayn said: “We have proven with Xayn that you can have it all: great results through personalization, privacy by design through cutting-edge technology and experience. user-friendly thanks to a clean design.
He added, “In an industry where data selling and mass ad serving are the norm, we instead choose to prioritize privacy and put user satisfaction first.
The funding comes as laws such as the EU’s GDPR or California’s CCPA have both raised awareness about personal data online.
Since its launch, Xayn says its app has been downloaded around 215,000 times worldwide and that a web version of its app is expected soon.
During a call, Lundbæk elaborated on the KDDI aspect of fundraising: “The partnership with KDDI means that we will give users free access to Xayn, while the company – like KDDI – is the real customer. but gives our search engine. free.”
The main features of Xayn include personalized search results; a personalized flow of the whole Internet, which learns from their Tinder-like scans, without collecting or sharing personal data; and an ad-free experience.
Naoki Kamimeada, Partner at Global Brain Corporation, said: “The online private research market is growing, but Xayn is head and shoulders above everyone because of the way they are rethinking the way whose information search online should be.
Kazuhiko Chuman, Head of the KDDI Open Innovation Fund, said: “This European discovery engine uniquely combines efficient AI with a privacy focus and a smooth user experience. At KDDI, we’re always on the lookout for companies that can shape the future with their expertise and technology. That’s why it was a perfect match for us.
In addition to the three co-founders (Leif-Nissen Lundbæk, Managing Director, Professor Michael Huth, Director of Research and Felix Hahmann, Director of Operations), Dr Daniel von Heyl will come on board as Chief Financial Officer. Frank Pepermans will assume the role of Chief Technology Officer and Michael Briggs as Chief Growth Officer.