RapLeaf’s data collection methods have raised privacy concerns in the past. The company came under fire in October 2010 for linking Facebook user ID information collected from banned Facebook apps into its own database of internet users. Rapleaf sells data to clients seeking personalization for ads, content and more.
“We have a great responsibility to protect privacy and data with all of our customers, and startups participating in the fund will be subject to the same data protections as our largest customers,” a RapLeaf spokesperson told VentureBeat.
The fund is part of RapLeaf’s strategy to grow the number of companies using its data.
The company said it hopes to fund 50 to 100 startups with the new initiative. The new fund provides up to $15,000 in cash grants, free data, and services to entrepreneurs. RapLeaf said there are many advantages for those who are chosen, such as access to RapLeaf’s network of partners, access to its customers and joint marketing opportunities.
The fund is being launched in conjunction with several partners, including North Bridge Venture Partners, Rembrandt Ventures, Founders Fund, Highland Capital Partners, SoftTech VC, MIT Entrepreneurship Center, Harvard College Entrepreneurship Forum, Stanford BASES and others.
The San Francisco-based company has a total of $15 million in funding.