OkCupid Founders Secure $10.8m Funding For Security Startup


The founders of online dating giant OkCupid have raised $10.8m in Series A funding to help with the development of their new security startup.

Since leaving the dating site, Max Krohn and Chris Coyne have worked on developing Keybase, a public key encryption startup, and recently secured a brand new round of funding led by prestigious VC firm Andressen Horowitz.

The deal was “championed” by Chris Dixon, who has previously invested in Soylent, Oculus and Airware.

This comes as Keybase changes its focus, having started as a PGP keyserver project, designed to make key lookups “as easy as knowing someone’s username”.

However in a blog post, co-founders Max Krohn and Chris Coyne said they now want to “bring public key crypto to everyone in the world, even people who don’t understand it.”

To do this, they are building open source apps that can be used by anyone.

Coyne and Krohn said: “We’re going to shield end-users from the annoyances and mystery of crypto, while making the code clean, easy to audit, and easy to contribute to.”

To bring this public key encryption to the public, the startup envisions it could help in areas like: passwordless logins everywhere you go, programmers actually signing all their work, a way to own and share your medical data, along with safer software and backups.

Screenshot 2015-07-16 at 16.04.20

Explaining why this is now possible, the OkCupid co-founders said: “In the smartphone and beyond world, where you can bring 2 devices together, each one can generate its own key pair, without asking you confusing questions, or really bothering you at all.

“Instead, when you set up a new computer, it will ask you to pull out your phone and point it at the screen, or type in a phrase. Or tap some buttons on your watch. In this way, you will build a family of keys that represent you, which you control. Technically speaking, these keys will sign each other, and no private key will ever leave a device.

“Only since the advent of smartphones can we create good public key software that doesn’t need to say the word “key.” As an added bonus: the more devices you have, the safer you are when one is lost.”

And it is not only Andressen Horowitz who has invested in the startup, Keybase has also received funding from its fellow OkCupid co-founders Sam Yagan and Christian Rudder.

The team also received funding from co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, the founder & CEO of Chain.com Adam Ludwin and co-founder of MakerBot Industries, Bre Pettis.

Read more about the startup in Keybase’s blog post here.