A London based data risk and privacy management firm, Privitar, announced on Wednesday this week that it has raised a £3m venture financing round, led by Illuminate Capital, and also backed by previous investors private capital group 24Haymarket and IQ Capital, who helped the firm raise a $1.2m seed round in July of last year.
Privitar, who build software products that add privacy protection to “leading” data infrastructures which, they say, allow “companies and government departments to publish and share data while protecting data privacy and maintaining regulatory compliance, solving what is currently a high priority board level issue”, is used mostly within the UK banking and telecoms market, but the firm say they will use the new funds to “accelerate growth in the UK and expand our European footprint.”
The founders describe Privitar as operating at “the intersection of big data, data science and cyber security”, and say their product provides 3 key benefits for companies operating in highly regulated industries.
Firstly, by sharing data and broadening its scope to secondary uses such as data analytics, firms can potentially use the software to help monetise their data assets. Secondly, companies can build better relationships of trust with their clients, employing a leading data protection solution to show how they prioritise data confidentiality, and lastly, the privacy protection also counters threats from inside a company and implements “privacy by design” principles, restricting access to sensitive information, even for those who have been permitted certain accesses.
“We are excited to be partnering with Illuminate Financial with their deep connectivity into one of our target vertical markets. They will support our strategy to provide the leading solutions for Banking and Capital Markets institutions”, says Jason du Preez, the CEO of Privitar.
Says Mark Whitcroft, Founding Partner at Illuminate Financial Management, “big data analytics is highly topical for many industries in today’s world; Privitar’s solution enables companies to balance applying data science techniques whilst addressing data governance requirements. Illuminate Financial is excited to be backing this promising London-based software company and their world class team.”
Privitar was founded in 2014 with a mission to “help companies achieve broader use of data while adopting an uncompromising approach to protecting confidential information.” The start-up sells two main products, Privitar Publisher, which “enables organisations to publish anonymised versions of sensitive data sets that comply with constraints defined as part of a policy “, and Privitar Lens, a query interface that enables statistical queries and analysis with differential privacy guarantees.
The company’s product are either deployed on-premise or or “as part of a federated architecture that enables organisations to share information within a controlled eco-system”.
The company was founded by Jason du Preez, a serial enterprise software entrepreneur who has also held Senior Leadership positions at Thomson Reuters, with Chris Smith, an ex-Oracle software developer who has also worked at Netezza, a data warehouse startup acquired by IBM in 2010, as well as Acunu, a London based data analytics company also acquired in 2014, as Chief Commercial Officer, and Jason McFell, who graduated from Imperial College before researching particle physics at Stanford, as CTO.
Illuminate Financial, also founded in 2014, is a VC firm focussed on “the chasm between capital markets FinTech and the financial institutions it should serve”.
IFM say they have “created partnerships with core strategic investors and a growing number of Capital Markets firms to gain real insight into what the market needs, which they leverage to “find, validate and fund early stage companies and help them achieve their potential.”
24Haymarket is a “premium deal-by-deal investment platform focused on high-growth businesses”, with an investment limit of up to £5m, who invest their own capital in direct alignment with entrepreneurs, typically seeking a seat on the board, and IQ Capital is a UK focused VC firm, based in London and Cambridge, investing in B2B software, machine learning, AI, analytics, FinTech and AdTech. The company says that through its IQ Capital Fund II, it is actively looking for new investment opportunities.
It can’t always be easy to separate the jargon from the truly innovative when it comes to data security firms, but there is no doubt the sector has recently been at the forefront of many businesses’ thinking, thanks to high profile incidents like the Ashley Madison leak and the data breach experienced by Carphone Warehouse earlier this year.
Much like advertising perhaps, every firm knows that they need some kind of data protection, but are unsure how to spend their security budget. At a a time when social networking sites like WhatsApp and messaging sites like Telegram provide end-to-end encryption at one end of the scale, whilst dedicated security data providers, like Privitar, are keen add extra layers of protection and permission to access data, the question of who is looking at your data, and how to be able to show it only to the people you want to see it, can only really be answered subjectively by a company’s founder or security expert.
This keeps the sector highly fragmented and about as disruptive as it gets. No wonder it is such an area of focus for start-up firms, and no wonder there is funding available to back the best of them.