Nov 2, 2022 - Technology

Mozilla launches $35 million venture fund

Photo Illustration: Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Mozilla is looking for new forms of revenue apart from its privacy-focused Firefox, as it urges Big Tech companies to stop pushing their browsers on users.

Driving the news: Mozilla launched a $35 million venture fund for "responsible tech," the company announced Wednesday at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

How it works: The fund is for early stage startups (up to series A) that "advance one or more of the values in the Mozilla Manifesto," which include privacy, inclusion and human dignity.

  • The initial $35 million will go to internet companies that are privacy-forward and use "trustworthy" AI.
  • Mozilla's first investments include a social media app with advanced safety features, a platform for patient data and medical collaboration, and a password management solution.

What they're saying: “Many people say the tech industry has lost its soul. Some even say it’s impossible to make it better. My response: We won’t know unless we try, together," Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla, said in a release.

  • "Mozilla Ventures is about fueling companies and products that put people before profits. And it's about fueling enough of these companies and products that we can ultimately push the internet in a better direction."
  • "We want to support founders who are working on the many challenges we face online — from misinformation to censorship, security to privacy, and the ability to harm instantaneously and at scale," said the fund's managing partner, Mohamed Nanabhay, in the release.

Be smart: Mozilla wants to make money on top of funding responsible startups. That initial money, Mozilla notes in the release, will go to companies that "have big potential for commercial success."

  • Mozilla released a report in September calling out Google, Apple and Microsoft for making their own browsers the default option on their platforms, and making it difficult for users to switch to an alternative like Firefox.
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