Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Personal Data Connector Singly Raises $7M

Singly, which aims to smooth the process of respectfully including personal data in new applications, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Foundry Group.

Transmitting personal data between applications doesn’t have to be for nefarious purposes. In fact, it’s often something that we users like and encourage — when we sign up for new services, we often volunteer our credentials from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and elsewhere.

Connecting these accounts means we don’t have to type in our personal information yet again in order to try some new thing; we can see which of our friends already use it, and we can cross-post our activities so we’re not constantly manually updating all these different networks.

You don’t have to try very hard to imagine why companies like this.

Singly offers this whole account-connection process as a service to developers, so they can get “merged, normalized and de-duplicated social data” aggregated together from at least 10 different APIs. This is similar to how developers might connect to Factual to get access to public datasets about places.

Singly is still in its very early stages; CEO Jason Cavnar told me that today just three applications are being built using Singly, and they are too young to name. But examples of apps that he thinks would benefit from Singly include any service that is built as an interface on top of existing information about users — like Mint, Flipboard, Showyou, Highlight, Sonar, Greplin, CloudMagic, Tungle, Nimble and Timehop.

Beyond social data, Singly is entertaining visions of connecting to credit card companies, utilities and other sources, all in the name of helping users dole out access to their personal data.

Singly started life as “The Locker Project” and attracted particular interest because co-founder Jeremie Miller founded the open source instant-messaging protocol Jabber. The company continues to open source its data-connection work, while offering it as a service to customers.

Early on, Singly had focused on hosting applications as well, but now it plans to be primarily an API provider, Cavnar said.

New Singly angel investors, along with Foundry Group, include Robert Stephens, the former CTO of Best Buy; Federated Media’s John Battelle; Esther Dyson; and Roger McNamee. Previous seed investors included Venrock, True Ventures, PivotNorth Capital (Tim Connors) and Freestyle Capital.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus