Featured Startup Pitch: Sesame – Your own personal Cognitive Messenger

By Editor February 12, 2016

Sesame-with-Ladys-handsCOMPANY: Sesame


A self-aware, digital assistant that protects your messages.


Sesame is a messaging app that gives you a self-aware digital assistant to protect messages on your behalf: your own Personal Cognitive Messenger.

Your Cognitive Messenger delivers, monitors, and independently audits your messages according to your own terms and permissions settings (much more than ‘message destructs in X time’). Most importantly, they create a tangible property right in your messages and content, which means you can always take your property back from any device, forever.

With end-to-end encryption and real-time awareness of the changes of state around them, your Cognitive Messenger gives you a new level of security, so you are always aware of what is happening to your messages even after they leave your device.

Our goal is to create a framework for trusted digital communications based on ownership, that enables the sharing of more intimate, timely, relevant–and therefore, valuable–information to the benefit of businesses and individuals alike.

Our current customer is simply anyone who is concerned with digital privacy and security, and believes that they should own their data.


We saw a gap between what Snapchat, Wickr, WeChat, Signal, iMessage and other messaging apps were building, and what the nuances of modern communication require. This includes a level of security that can stand up to hackers, Big Brother, and your own brother alike, but something simple and approachable enough for Mom to use, without having to jump from app to app to send different kinds of messages.

We also believe that cognitive, continuous awareness of what’s happening with your data is a critical aspect of security that goes beyond encryption, and is a critical element of a tangible property right in your data.


Geoff (Shaw) is probably a lot more interesting than me. He has built cousins of this technology with some of the most brilliant minds of our time in NASA and various U.S. and Allied government applications. He’s maintained the absolute conviction that individuals should own their data and use it as they want to, and that the resulting trust that ownership creates can be immensely commercially valuable.

I (Mitch Ahlenius) started out selling bicycles and furniture out of South Africa helping entrepreneurs who lacked access to resources and the ability to find them. I founded Feed inc. (the cognitive computing company creating Sesame) with Geoff because I saw clearly how trusted digital agents (Cognitive Messengers) could benefit those I worked with there, and billions all over the world trying to make a way for themselves. Sesame is our first step towards this vision.


Personal – free; Professional – $4/seat.



WEBSITE: sesame.chat


TWITTER: @SesameChat

LINKEDIN: linkedin.com/company/feed-inc-


*Pitches are submitted by individual companies, and lightly edited by StartUp Beat for spelling and grammar. Any clams made or errors otherwise are the sole responsibility of the author.