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Privacy is a growing concern for consumers and lawmakers around the world. It is also a growing headache for businesses of all sizes that must comply with a raft of new data rules, including Europe’s GDPR regime and California’s new CCPA law, or face stiff fines.
The mounting privacy challenge has spawned a cottage industry for lawyers and consultants—but also a niche for data startups looking to disrupt those high-priced professionals by automating the process. One of those startups is Immuta, a Maryland company that on Tuesday announced a $40 million Series C funding round led by Intel Capital to expand its privacy and data governance services.
In an interview with Fortune, CEO Matthew Carroll said he launched Immuta as a way to automate the law—a process he says has failed to keep up with huge technological advances in cloud computing in recent years.
He cited the example of trucking companies that obtain a wealth of data in recruiting drivers, including sensitive health and safety information. Immuta’s platform, says Carroll, is able to identify and sequester these various streams of data, and make sure that only authorized individuals can access them.
Carroll notes that Immuta doesn’t just ensure compliance with newer privacy regimes like GDPR and CCPA, but older laws like HIPAA and COPPA, which regulate data concerning health records and children’s online activity.
Immuta’s current customers include major banks and a growing number of midsize health care service providers. For these companies and others, automated data services represent an attractive third option apart from spending heavily to monitor data compliance, or risking fines that can climb to millions or even billions of dollars.
Carroll says he is confident enough in Immuta’s machine-learning abilities that the company will soon offer a legal indemnity to its customers—a guarantee that its software will be able to organize their data in a way that doesn’t expose them to penalties. The company has also partnered with cloud giants like Amazon Web Services and Snowflake to integrate its service.
In Carroll’s view, the cloud-computing industry is entering a new era as companies compete to not just store data but process it as well.
“A whole new cloud war is coming,” he said, adding this competition has only increased as a result of the pandemic, which has triggered a rush to do tasks remotely.
In coming months, Carroll says Immuta plans to explore new legal fields where it can apply its software, and he predicts that data visualization services like Tableau will seek to integrate compliance tools.
Immuta is just one of several companies that has recently raised money to build what could be described as “privacy tech.” Others include Ethyca, which raised $13 million this month to expand a service that automates consumer privacy requests, and DoNotPay, which offers a “robot lawyer” to sue companies that don’t comply with data requests.
In addition to Intel Capital, investors in Immuta’s Series C round include Ten Eleven Ventures (1011VC), DFJ Growth, Dell Technologies Capital, Greycroft, Drive Capital, and Citi Ventures.