You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Brave, the ad-blocking browser from former Mozilla CEO, grabs $4.5 million

ICE Graveyard 1/08/2016 Sarah Perez

Brave Software, the new web browser company co-founded by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding for the continued development of its open source browser that blocks online ads and other trackers. Unlike traditional web browsers where ad-blocking takes place via a third-party add-on or extension, Brave’s browser has this technology built in, claiming not only to offer users more privacy, but also increased speed and performance – especially when surfing the mobile web.

Investors in the round include Founders Fund’s FF Angel, Propel Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Foundation Capital, and Digital Currency Group. Along with prior funding, the startup has raised $7 million to date.

According to metrics shared by Brave, the desktop version of the browser offers a 40 to 60 percent speed increase, and a 2x to 4x speed increase on mobile devices. Because of its ad-blocking and script-blocking features, mobile users will also see less battery consumption and data usage.

The browser offers a variety of security and safety features, as well, including support for encrypted data traffic via HTTPS Everywhere, fingerprinting shields, phishing protection, malware filtering and the above-mentioned script blocking.

Also of note, Brave is building support for Bitcoin micropayments right in the browser. The company says it has partnered with BitGo and Coinbase to provide wallets and other purchasing tools for its payment system dubbed “Brave Ledger.” The idea with this feature is to allow users to anonymously donate small amounts to their favorite websites.

“Online advertisers have been exploiting user data for years without consent, sometimes even infecting devices with malware. It’s no wonder that 200 million users worldwide have adopted ad-blocking to defend themselves. Viewing content on the Internet should not come at the expense of one’s safety,” said Brendan Eich, Brave Software’s CEO in a statement. “With Brave, users can now fight back and keep their data private and defensible on their devices, while still supporting the content they wish to view via micropayments.”

When announced earlier this year, Eich had explained Brave’s business model would include plans to insert its own ads, but in a way that wouldn’t affect performance. The company said it would insert ads only “in a few standard-sized spaces” it discovers via a cloud robot, and will target ads without a “highly re-identifiable cookie,” in respect for user privacy. (In other words, anonymous targeting.)

The plan is to then split the ad revenue with publishers, starting at 55 percent or more for publishers and then scale up to a 70/30 split as the browser’s user base grows. Consumers can also get some of this revenue, which in turn could be used to help fund their favorite sites.

This plan has been highly controversial. In April, over a dozen major U.S. news organizations sent a cease-and-desist letter to the startup, claiming what it was doing was “blatantly illegal.” This group included the Gannett Co., the New York Times and Dow Jones, which owns The Wall Street Journal.

The Brave browser is not yet available to the public, but is planning its 1.0 release for September. In the meantime, a developer version is being offered for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows (32-bit and 64-bit), and Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE).

Brave, which is co-founded by Brian Bondy, previously of Khan Academy and Mozilla, plans to use the new funds for further platform development and growth, it says.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon