With even the biggest, supposedly most secure, websites being hacked, not to mention the Heartbleed bug that left million vulnerable, it is really hard to feel secure online these days. The average people have no idea how to protect themselves, and just the idea can be overwhelming.
But help seems to be on the way now that password security platform Dashlane has just raised $22 million in Series B funding to make that process simpler, and convenient, for even the least tech savvy user.
The round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), with participation from existing investors Rho Ventures, FirstMark Capital, and Bernard Liautaud, the original founder of the company.
The company had previously raised $8 million, including $5 million in a Series A round co-led by Rho Ventures and FirstMark Capital, with Liautaud participating, in September 2011. The company has now raised a total of $30 million.
In addition to the new funding, Bessemer Venture Partners partner Alex Ferrara will be joining the board of directors as Dashlane.
The New York City-based Dashlane does two things: it allows users to automate registration, login and checkout on all websites, and across all platforms by securely storing information such as passwords, credit cards, IDs and notes. At the same time, it also generates a new, unique and strong password every time a user creates a new account on a website.
"We want users to completely forget the notion of remembering passwords," Emmanuel Schalit, CEO of Dashlane, told me in an interview.
The service is a mix of convenience and security, he said. Convenience because the app will automatically fill out a user's credit card and other information when they are making an e-commerce checkout, and security because it will create a new password for every website.
While the convenience factor was "by far the most important deliverer for us," users behavior has recently started to change, making security a bigger driver than it was before, Schalit said. And he credits that to the Heartbleed bug.
"The Heartbleed bug served as a catalyzer of awareness among mainstream Internet users. They understand those passwords do matter. Five years ago all of our information was on one or two computers, so what mattered was to protect with them an antivirus program," he said. "But the digital world has changed. Now our information is in the cloud, and the only thing protecting it is a password. The nature of the threat has changed."
And its not enough to just have one complicated password that is used everywhere. If a person does that, they will be completely exposed, since it will be stolen on one site, and then others will be breached.
"The only way to be protected is to a different on every website and that is impossible to do without a tool like Dashlane."
The company will use the new money it has raised for three purposes:
First, it will be used reinfornce team, including engineers and product design, as well as building out the marketing team. Right now it has 35 employees and plans to double that by the end of the year. Second, it will be used to expand internationally, specifically to Latin America and Asia. And, third, it will be used to increase marketing.
"Consumers are very aware of the risks with password security, but consumers that don’t live in the tech sphere are not aware of the solution," said Schalit. "That requires a marketing investment so that consumers can to be made aware."
While there are others in the space that are doing something similar to Dashlane, Schalit says that what separates the company from its competitors is how simple it is to use, that it can be used across all platforms and simply the resources, and capital, it now has.
Ultimately, the company's goal is to become ubiquitous; it wants to be the premiere secure checkout service, which will make passwords a thing of the past.
"Dashlane makes identification and payments simple and secure everywhere," he said. "We are the platform for consumers to secure and use their information everywhere. Right now the vehicle is a password, but clearly, not that far from now, we will get to a certain scale where we can start making deals with app developers so that they directly connect with our API for a checkout solution that wont even require a password."
Dashlane has helped over 2 million users manage and secure their digital identity, and has enabled over $1 billion in e-commerce transactions.
(Image source: dashlane.com)