Sirin Labs, a three years in secret smartphone developer, has raised a $72 million seed round from Singulariteam founder Moshe Hogeg, Kazakh businessman Kenges Rakishev, and the Chinese social networking service RenRen to launch a new, secure smartphone.
The Israeli start-up plans to sell its mobile phone from May at Sirin Labs’ flagship store in London. The phone will offer users unprecedented levels of technology and security — at retail price close to $20, 000.
Amid global concerns over digital security the new phone company aspires to combine both the safety of a military-grade device and the features of an everyday phone.
“(Our) smartphone …brings the most advanced technology available – even if it is not commercially available – and combining it with almost military-grade security, ” said Sirin co-founder and president Moshe Hogeg.
The phone will be based on the Android operating system and run otherwise unspecified technology two to three years in advance of the mass market, he said.
Hogeg believes thousands of executives in the United States and Europe will pay that sort of price, since the cost of being hacked could be more expensive in terms of information lost.
Hogeg put the value of the global luxury phone market at about $1.1 billion, a fraction of total mobile phone sales.
Most top end phones sold are more for status – regular phones with gold and diamonds.
The idea for the start-up came about after Rakishev’s phone was hacked in 2013. He asked Hogeg why he couldn’t find a mobile phone that would ensure privacy and why new technology seen in tech shows and publications was not available in consumer devices.
“There were no good solutions that combined high-end technologies with maximum security, ” Hogeg said.