Why Murena, the Next-Gen Privacy Tech Maker, is “Crowd-Fundraising”

Murena, the company that develops advanced privacy-focused technology including a pro-privacy mobile operating system /e/OS and digital workspace, is fundraising using a crowdfunding platform.

The funding operation is going pretty well, as we have reached the initial funding target in just a few hours, and we can reasonably expect to raise between 700K€ and 1M€ by the end of the campaign.

As a highly innovating startup, Murena has had to invest heavily in product development over the past few years, and this continues as new topics such as (ethical) AI are emerging. Additionally, we see a strong opportunity to expand our current range of B2C-focused products into the B2B market.

Also, Murena has so far been mostly an “engineers” company, with most of its operational expenses used to pay engineers, and it’s time to start investing more in communication and marketing to expand our customer reach and therefore scale our business as quickly as possible.

These are the main reasons why Murena is raising funds: significantly increase communication and marketing to grow the business, and to invest in the development of its B2B products.

So why are we using crowdfunding for our fundraising?

There are several reasons that triggered the choice for crowdfunding:

  1. We think that Murena and its products have reached a good level of visibility and reputation: with more than 45K montly users of the mobile operating system and more than 120K accounts opened on the murena.io workspace, that is a good sign that we can potentially get some attention from quite a lot of individuals willing to invest in our project.
  2. We also think that it’s fair for Murena users, supporters and customers to own a part of the project. The day we can to redistribute some value, we’ll be thrilled if it goes to individuals (and not just to professionnal investors)!
  3. Crowdfunding is also good for marketing: it provides a communication boost that helps more people discover what we are doing, and potentially become new customers.
  4. Talking with so called “venture capital” investment funds, it has become more clear recently that Murena is too different, too atypical for their “investment thesis”. The ideal prey for VC funds, is a young company that will develop a product or vertical technology that fills a gap for an existing big tech, and can be sold quickly with a good ROI. VCs are about short-term ROI, not about values or wealth development. But Murena doesn’t want to be a prey for big techs: we want to build a sustainable and independent business at large scale, we want to be a strong player in our fast-growing new market segment that celebrates the development of positive impact techonologies.

The latest reason strongly resonated recently when I met the CEO of one of the biggest pro-privacy online service company. He told me that success in our space requires sustained long term financing.

This is really about independence, and to me that means that besides developing the business, which is the best way to self-finance, we need to diversify our investors and have investors who wish to give a meaning to their investment.

Finally, raising funds through crowdfunding as Murena is doing at Crowdcube strongly aligns with our journey to develop great products that truly respects their users and the planet.

— Gaël Duval, CEO and Founder of Murena. June 2024.

(you can also read this article on Medium)

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/OS the deGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone


This is indeed an highly innovative startup, armed for B2B/B2C, that have earned these funds.
Now it is interesting to read, if I deduce right, that VC funds already have a direct and active interest in this tech.

No, in point #4 he’s explaining the opposite:

The more honest answer is, VC’s are running out of money because they spent too much on ESG/DIE professing startups and it’s backfiring. There is no short or long term ROI to be gained when the companies asking for money are more focused on who works for them and not what they make. Businesses make money when they make something that reliably provides value, they identify their target market, and they deliver correct and working products on time. It’s difficult to spend the proper amount of time doing that when the business is too visually and monetarily focused on sociopolitical issues that do not offer any value. Most of the people that spend time screaming about those issues on social media are not buying a de-Googled smartphone. They are leasing or subscribing to Apple’s products and services. Meanwhile there is an entire segment of potential buyers in the market that will probably never give Murena and /e/ a second glance when they find out Murena is courting the same failing concepts as the Big Tech competition:

The graphic at the beginning of this post really demonstrates the point. Murena is defining who they want as a customer not what they have to offer.

My advice would be for Murena to charge $99 for the compiled /e/ OS. They are already upcharging that much on the Teracube 2e so it isn’t that far fetched. Murena deserves to be compensated for their work. Murena also needs to focus on their products and services and leave the world’s problems alone.

Literally the first sentence describes what they have to offer. While agree with a lot of what you say regarding VCs, I think you are reading into it a little too much.

Also charging for /e/ os would, I think, go very against the grain of the FOSS world. The upcharge on the phone I am guessing is more related to sustaining the product support than anything.

My 2 cents anyway. Overall I appreciate the vision they have.

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That is more of a misdirection away from my point than anything. I said nothing about the first sentence. I said the graphic. Since the graphic is the very first thing in the post, it is the main focal point of their direction and my point still stands. This is Professional Writing 101. The text you are referring to is antithetical to the representation of the graphic. Meaning they lack the direction and a proper identification of their target market.

The F in FOSS stands for “freedom” not “no cost.” Suggesting that people should not be compensated for providing software (especially with source code) is akin to slavery. I have definitely heard other FOSS devs talk about how they only use something that is open source and no cost because it’s the only ethical form of software, while also being paid to work on FOSS software through their employer.

Users expecting their systems to be “no cost” do not value the software and become entitled thus treating the people who make it like they are the worst people on the planet when their expectations of the software are not met. Conversely, they also treat them like they are the worst people on the planet if they want to be compensated for their work, so the devs might as well get paid from people that value the system. Giving away distributions for “no cost” was the only innovation people cared about when it came to FOSS (like Linux distributions), and is exactly why Mandrake failed and FOSS projects are now funded by what should be their competition.

You may not agree, but I think their vision lacks direction. They are practically begging for money and misrepresenting the “ownership” aspect. The source code already provides ownership and was the reason FOSS was created in the first place. So people could own the recipe for the software they paid for. Murena’s crusade is pointed in the wrong direction.

I’m sorry if my comments came off as confrontational. It was not my intent, even if I am disagreeing with you, in part at least.

I was really just pointing out that, while you said they convey “who” but not “what.” They speak to the what right off the bat.

You make some fair points on being compensated for the software. I just think that is just atypical in the FOSS world.

Your apology is not necessary. I took no offense and I didn’t feel you were being confrontational.

I still don’t think that was a clearly stated primary goal. Perhaps an abstract one, but it’s still difficult to take seriously when they do care about things that bring no value to their company, foundation, project, products, or services. Teracube planting a tree with each sale was secondary to my concern of a long lived phone with a replaceable battery that the company has good support outreach for and is open to running custom ROM’s as a guiding ethos of their company. Cool, we need more trees. They could do that on their own and never tell anyone and it would still get done. If they did unethical things, the whole of the internet would know about it and people would stop buying their stuff.

LineageOS has the same problems with distractions that do not help the project, and their android/issues thread on GitLab barely gets any responses from their devs. Some of them also do not like speaking to the product they are making when approached on a one on one basis for something as simple as stability for daily use on a given version and device. It would not surprise me if these ideals have chased away all of their productive people in favor of just showing raw project numbers on paper. Granted, that is purely my own speculation.

Back to Murena, their email service was down for several hours this week and I keep getting authentication issues with the Account Manager in /e/. It sounds like the engineers should probably focus on that and the money is best spent making things stable instead of marketing to the wrong group just because it’s trendy.

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A bold W95 strategy.

Unfortunately it doesn’t look like I can invest from Canada. Other than misrepresenting my country of origin is there a work around so someone in Canada can invest via CroudCube or another method?

No it’s not possible through Crowdcube, but you can leave your contact at Crowdfunding opportunities at Murena - bit tickets we can take directly, for others we may create a special purpose vehicle to host investment if we reach a significant level of interest.

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