Mozilla, makers of the popular Firefox browser, has launched a venture capital fund to fund startups it deems “responsible” for their technology activities.
Mozilla Ventures will be reserved for start-ups and Series A startups that meet the company’s ethical criteria, as outlined in the Mozilla Manifesto, which seeks technology companies and investors who adhere to the principles of “privacy, inclusion, transparency and respect human dignity”.
Initially, a $35 million pool will be made available for the program from the Mozilla Foundation, the company’s nonprofit arm. Managing partner Mohamed Nanabhay, former deputy CEO of the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), will lead the fund.
“Industry has lost its soul”
Mark Surman, the executive director of Mozilla, described the modern technology industry as “lost its soul” and emphasized the importance of supporting a large number of new companies to “ultimately push the internet in a better direction”.
Nanabhay echoed these sentiments, saying: “We want to support founders working on the many challenges we face online – from misinformation to censorship, security to privacy and the ability to do immediate and large-scale harm. These issues are too important to be left to an institution to solve.”
The first round of funding will be reserved for online companies that protect user privacy, support decentralized processes and trusted AI. The rest of the fund will be paid out in early 2023.
Three companies have already received funding so far: Secure AI Labs (SAIL), which use AI to enable collaboration and secure data in the medical field; Block Party, whose goal is to prevent online harassment by allowing users to filter social media content; and Hey Login, a passwordless one password manager specially designed for businesses.
Mozillia has yet to confirm the value of the next funding phase or how it will work. It says it is working with numerous investors and experts to determine this, including Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) consultancy Lucid Capitalism, which will work with Nanabhay on its design.