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OMERS Ventures invests in search engine DuckDuckGo

OMERS Ventures has invested in DuckDuckGo, a Paoli, Pennsylvania-based internet search engine that protects web searchers’ privacy.

The investment’s value was not disclosed; however, the Globe and Mail reported OMERS led the company’s US$10 million financing.

Founded in 2008 by CEO Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo’s technology facilitates private searching online without storing or sharing any personal information. It said the partnership with OMERS will support its global growth.

DuckDuckGo’s other backers include Union Square Ventures and several angel investors.

BLOG POST (reproduced courtesy of DuckDuckGo)

DuckDuckGo Partners with OMERS Ventures to Expand Canadian Presence and Global Impact

August 21 2018

Consumers are increasingly facing privacy invasions wherever they turn: hyper-targeted ads and massive data breaches are now daily occurrences, along with their unfortunate consequences (ad discrimination, identity theft, spreading misinformation, filter bubbles, etc.). As a result, the demand for online privacy is growing – and it’s growing fast. As an internet privacy company, we’ve felt the effects of this demand firsthand at DuckDuckGo.

In the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, we hit our all-time high daily direct search record – a whopping 25,568,558 private searches. And since this year, we’re proud to report that our apps and browser extensions – DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials – now do more than just private searching. They also come packaged with best-in-class tracker blocking, smarter encryption, and website privacy grades – all the privacy essentials you need on any device with just one download.

Despite our progress this year, we’ve still got more to do to advance our vision of raising the standard of trust online. Today, we’re announcing a partnership with OMERS Ventures (OV), part of the $95 Billion global OMERS pension fund, based in Canada. Their expertise, shared interest in privacy, and investment in DuckDuckGo will help us continue expanding our privacy protections across the globe.

DuckDuckGo has been a profitable company since 2014 without storing or sharing any personal information of our users. By partnering with OMERS, we hope to bring our profitable privacy-centric business model to more places.

This partnership comes at just the right time as the need for privacy continues to grow globally. In a July 2018 survey of 667 Canadian adults, we found that 43% have taken a significant online privacy action, such as installing “browser extensions to block web trackers.”

Additionally, 53% of Canadians say that having a search engine that “didn’t collect any personal data about me or my searches” would be among the top two motivations to switch search engines. Privacy is alive and mainstream in Canada, just like in many other parts of the globe.

We hope to be able to report continued progress in helping Internet users across the globe protect their privacy. We believe the internet shouldn’t feel so creepy (right?) and it’s our mission to empower people with seamless tools to take control of their personal information online, without any tradeoffs.