I’m excited to announce that Bill Miller of Legg Mason has led a new $4.5 million round in Personal as an individual investor and will be joining Personal’s board of directors. On top of that, Esther Dyson and Jonathan Miller previously joined our board.
Bill is a legendary investor, best known perhaps as the only person to beat the S&P 500 for 15 years in a row. He has started a new streak: the Wall Street Journal survey reported last week that for four consecutive quarters in a row Bill and his Legg Mason Opportunity Trust have had the best 12 months performance of any mutual fund. His investment in CLEAR, the biometric secure identity management company known for speeding travelers through airport security, is well aligned with our mission of empowering people with the data they need to power their increasingly connected lives.
Esther is one of the most recognized angel investors and thinkers in technology today and has been a pillar in the emerging personal data ecosystem for a long time. She serves on the boards of global marketing conglomerate WPP Group, personal genetics company 23andme.com, and Meetup Inc., among others. She has focused on new business models and new markets, and does business as EDventure Holdings.
Jon is a leading digital executive, having served as chief digital officer of News Corporation, CEO of AOL, and President of Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp. He’s currently a partner with media investor Shari Redstone in Advancit. Jon also serves on the boards of TripAdvisor (since its spinoff from Expedia) and Shutterstock, and was on the board of Tumblr until its acquisition by Yahoo.
Bill, Esther and Jon join our great backers to date, including Allen & Company, Eric Semler of TCS Capital Management, Steve Case’s Revolution Ventures, Grotech Ventures, Ted Leonsis and others.
What makes this moment special is the traction we’re getting with companies and organizations that understand the dramatic impact our user-centric model can have on their own success.
The model simply doesn’t work without trust, transparency, and, yes, privacy – or what I like to call “deciding who gets to see what.” We are building a bigger carrot, not a bigger stick, one that promises to allow more data, not less, to flow and be used with explicit permission by trusted third parties. We hope to catalyze a race to the top where companies compete for the privilege of partnering with individuals and their data.
I’ll finish by reposting these three quotes from our press release. I love the story they tell:
Bill Miller: “As a long-term investor, I have no doubt that Personal is building the most rational, sustainable model for the personal data ecosystem – one centered around the individual first and foremost. The fact that it is also so beneficial for use with trusted companies and apps – including improving their bottom lines, lowering their risks and enhancing their brands – really solidified my interest in investing.”
Esther Dyson: “To me, Personal represents the sea change from business-in-charge to consumer-in-charge – but with a business model that works. It requires not just vision but also scale and execution – and the ability to show a solid value proposition to both sides of the balance of power. I’m excited to help Personal deliver on its promise.”
Jon Miller: “Businesses, marketers and developers, especially those involved with digital media, are at a critical juncture where personal data is concerned. It’s one of their most vital assets, but current practices are not likely to be sustainable – and they are less compelling in any event than the promise of individuals bringing their own data to those experiences in a safe and convenient way. I am excited to help Personal go beyond being a productivity app into this new frontier of permission-based marketing and personalization.”
Check out our press release for more information.