OneTrust, the 4-year old privacy platform startup from the folks who brought you AirWatch (which was acquired by VMWare for $ 1.5B in 2014), announced a $ 300 million Series C on an impressive $ 5.1 billion valuation today.
The company has attracted considerable attention from investors in a remarkably short time. It came out of the box with a $ 200 million Series A on a $ 1.3 billion valuation in July 2019. Those are not typical A round numbers, but this has never been a typical startup. The Series B was more of the same — $ 210 million on a $ 2.7 billion valuation this past February.
That brings us to today’s Series C. Consider that the company has almost doubled its valuation again, and has raised $ 710 million in a mere 18 months, some of it during a pandemic. TCV led today’s round joining existing investors Insight Partners and Coatue.
So what are they doing to attract all this cash? In a world where privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA are already in play with others are in the works in the U.S. and around the world, companies need to be sure they are compliant with local laws wherever they operate. That’s where OneTrust comes in.
“We help companies ensure that they can be trusted, and that they make sure that they’re compliant to all laws around privacy, trust and risk,” OneTrust Chairman Alan Dabbiere told me.
That involves a suite of products that the company has already built or acquired, moving very quickly to offer a privacy platform to cover all aspects of a customer’s privacy requirements including privacy management, discovery, third-party risk assessment, risk management, ethics and compliance and consent management.
The company has already attracted 7500 customers to the platform — and is adding1000 additional customers per quarter. Dabbiere says that the products are helping them be compliant without adding a lot of friction to the building or buying process. “The goal is that we don’t slow the process down, we speed it up. And there’s a new philosophy called privacy by design,” he said. That means building privacy transparency into products, while making sure they are compliant with all of the legal and regulatory requirements.
The startup hasn’t been shy about using its investments to buy pieces of the platform, having made five acquisitions already in just four years since it was founded. It already has 1500 employees and plans to add around 900 more in 2021.
As they build this workforce, Dabbiere says being based in a highly diverse city like Atlanta has helped in terms of building a diverse group of employees. “By finding the best employees and doing it in an area like Atlanta, we are finding the diversity comes naturally,” he said, adding, “We are thoughtful about it.” CEO Kabir Barday, also launched a diversity, equity and inclusion council internally this past summer in response to the Black Lives Matter movement happening in the Atlanta community and around the country.
OneTrust had relied heavily on trade shows before the pandemic hit. In fact, Dabbiere says that they attended as many as 700 a year. When that avenue closed as the pandemic hit, they initially lowered their revenue guidance, but as they moved to digital channels along with their customers, they found that revenue didn’t drop as they expected.
He says that OneTrust has money in the bank from its prior investments, but they had reasons for taking on more cash now anyway. “The number one reason for doing this was the currency of our stock. We needed to revalue it for employees, for acquisitions, and the next steps of our growth,” he said.