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InCountry, a so-called “data residency-as-a-service” platform that helps multinational companies store customer data locally, has raised $15 million in a series A round of funding led by Arbor Ventures and Global Founders Capital, with participation from Caffeinated Capital, Felicis Ventures, and Charles River Ventures.
The San Francisco-based startup, which exited stealth with $7 million in seed funding back in May, is looking to capitalize on shifting regulatory requirements around data sovereignty and localization. For example, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations came into effect last year, which has had big ramifications for how companies manage their data — Google has had to shift its European data from the U.S. to Ireland to aid with compliance, while gargantuan fines await any company that mismanages customer data. Elsewhere, China requires all data relating to Chinese customers to be hosted in China, while Russia has had data localization laws in place since 2014, leading to grapples with the big U.S. tech giants.
To help manage this regulatory minefield, InCountry offers the global infrastructure for companies to store and retrieve data in its country of origin, and includes an API that funnels data to and from InCountry’s local datacenters, provided by AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Alibaba Cloud.
At launch, InCountry offered a single product called InCountry Profile, which enables residency compliance around user profile and registration data, but it plans to expand into other data types, including payments, transactions, and health information. With another $15 million in the bank, it said that it is now sufficiently financed to launch its next product — InCountry Border. This new offering promises “industry-first encryption and data handling capabilities that stay within border lines,” according to a statement issued by the company. This means that companies can manage, store, and encrypt citizens data locally — data never leaves the country of origin.
The money will also be used to to expand InCountry’s global presence through new offices in Singapore and Berlin.
At its core, InCountry is all about enabling global companies to scale without worrying about local data residency regulations, which may vary from country to country. Its platform essentially lets any company “outsource” their compliance risk.
InCountry was founded by CEO Peter Yared, who has a distinguished background in the startup sphere, including several exits to his name. In 1997, he sold his Java tools company J.rad to Netdynamics, which itself was later bought by Sun Microsystems. He then founded open source Java web app company WaveMaker to VMware in 2011. Yared claims additional exits to Oracle, Sprinklr, and Citrix over the past eight years.
“Companies are struggling to comply with GDPR, and as more laws are being written every week, it has lead to business-ending consequences for infractions,” noted Yared. “InCountry provides the most comprehensive compliance platform on the market, using sophisticated software now combined with on-the-ground legal support, to mitigate and manage risk at every level. The need for this solution resonated with global investors that believe in our mission to provide a secure platform that protects citizens’ data.”
The broader data protection market, which covers everything from cybersecurity and disaster recovery to access management and compliance, will reportedly be a $120 billion industry by 2023. This is being reflected in the kinds of investments venture capitalists are making — last week, OneTrust raised $200 million at a $1.3 billion valuation to help companies comply with data privacy laws, while TrustArc closed a $70 million round for a similar proposition.
Elsewhere Privitar recently raised $40 million to help companies engineer privacy protection into their data projects, and last year BigID nabbed $30 million to grow its automated data privacy management platform for enterprises.
“The rapidly evolving and complex global regulatory landscape in our technology driven world is a growing challenge for companies,” said Arbor Ventures managing partner Melissa Guzy, who now joins InCountry’s board of directors. “InCountry is the first to provide a comprehensive solution in the cloud that enables companies to operate globally and address data sovereignty.”
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