Startups exposed after $100 million iPhone fund data leak

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]


A $100 million venture capital investment fund that was designed to help companies develop programs for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch platforms has been left with egg on its face. The reason? A database containing information about 588 startup firms seeking funding was accidentally leaked onto the internet.

Startup companies applied for a slice of the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) $100 million iFund by submitting their business plans, financial information, senior management biographies and demos.

According to reports, KPCB’s former hosting provider Meteora has been blamed for accidentally making the SQL database of applicants public, which was subsequently sucked up by the Google search engine.

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This is obviously embarrassing for the VC firm, but you can’t help but think that they’re just as much a victim of this as the poor startup companies who shared their information in good faith in the hope of raising some dollars. After all, it wasn’t them who exposed the data but a company who was helping them with their web presence.

This isn’t a time for any other firms to feel smug at the misfortune of the companies embroiled in this incident, but a chance for all businesses to ask themselves if this could possibly happen to them too.

How could this problem have been avoided? By recognising that this data was sensitive, and ensuring that it was properly encrypted of course. We can only hope that no-one unscrupulous was able to get hold of the data.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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