Home » Technology » Confide CEO Jon Brod on the White House, bad press, and what…

Thursday night, at a StrictlyVC event in San Francisco, I sat down with Confide cofounder and president Jon Brod to talk with him about his decidedly topsy turvy 2017. Though his three-year-old messaging app was the belle of the ball at the start of the year — Wired, the Washington Post, and Axios were among others to note it was a hit with frustrated White House staffers — its positive momentum was abruptly thwarted by security researchers who published a report saying the app wasn’t living up to its claims.

It was subsequently reported that Confide had quickly addressed those vulnerabilities. Yet roughly one month later, a separate lawsuit followed, claiming that another of its features isn’t foolproof.

Brod and I discussed that ongoing case. He also talked about the app’s future, which will likely include video (assuming Confide can shake off that suit first). More from our chat below, edited for length.

TC: You’d worked for the NBA, for AskJeeves, for IAC, then you spent four years at AOL, including as the cofounder of AOL Ventures. How did you wind up running a secure messaging app company?

JB: I’d spent four years at AOL in various executive positions. I was going to leave and, serendipitously, Howard Lerman, who’s also the founder and CEO of [the newly public company] Yext, emailed me about wanting to hire someone who used to work with me at AOL. It took many missed phone calls and traded emails before we connected six days later [because we didn’t want to discuss anything sensitive online], and that was sort of the “aha” moment for Confide. So we gathered up some engineers, prototyped Confide, and started the company.

TC: How much funding have you raised?

JB: We initially raised just less than $2 million, including from SV Angel, [investor] David Tisch, GV, [Yelp CEO] Jeremy Stoppelman, WTI, and First Round Capital, among others. A year ago, we closed a $1.5 million seed extension round, so [it’s] $3.4 million…

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