Privacy and data governance startup Relyance AI Inc. announced a $25 million Series A round led by Menlo Ventures and Unusual Ventures.
Launched in 2020, Relyance AI provides a seamless 360-degree data protection solution on a single intuitive platform. Data breaches and privacy incidents are some of the biggest challenges plaguing organizations today with 71% of customers distancing themselves from companies who unlawfully release their data, according to a McKinsey study.
Co-founded by in-house data protection attorney Leila R. Golchehreh and machine learning entrepreneur Abhi Sharma, Relyance’s mission is to resolve this issue. This is done by using machine learning to construct a data inventory and map, offering transparency and visibility all the way down to the source code in real-time. This groundbreaking privacy and data governance Ops solution will enable organizations for the first ever to instantly act on critical privacy issues preventing legal consequences and reputational damage.
The solution according to Sharma lies in the code-level check, “for the first time, we are building the legal compliance and regulation into the source code.”
He added, “Relyance is actually embedded within the DevOps pipeline of our customers’ infrastructure. So every time a new ETL pipeline is built or a machine learning model is receiving new source code, we do a compiler-like analysis of how personal sensitive data is flowing between internal microservices, data lakes and data warehouses, and then get a metadata analysis back to the privacy and compliance professionals [inside an organization].”
Golchehreh explained, “Our approach is specifically to ingest contracts. We’ve actually created an algorithm around how [you] actually write a good data protection agreement. We’ve extracted those relevant provisions and we will compare that against [your] operational reality. So if there’s a disconnect, we will be able to raise that as an intelligent insight of data misalignment.”
The early-stage startup has already formulated an impressive roaster of customers including Dialpad, Patreon, Samsara, ThriveTRM and True. The company has also assembled an elite board of advisors including renowned data protection lawyer Phil Lee and other domain experts. Serial entrepreneur Jyoti Bansal from Unusual will also join the board under the terms of the Series A deal.
“Relyance AI answers a problem the whole privacy industry is facing: It’s six o’clock – do you know where your data is? For most companies, the answer is really – no,” explains Preston Thomas, privacy and compliance counsel at Dialpad.
Lawrence Schoeb, legal director at Samsara explained, “Relyance AI is taking our privacy program to the next level. They are moving us from a manual, static approach to a truly data-driven technology one. I think a lot of privacy programs feel on the back foot because they’re never confident in the underlying data. But with Relyance AI, we have started to build a strong foundation for an intelligent, world-class data privacy program.”
“Compliance software has historically been a manual, top-down process of mapping and trying to figure out data location and movement. Relyance completely changes the game with a bottoms-up, tech-first approach which automagically discovers and maps data locality and flows,” said Matt Murphy, Partner at Menlo Ventures. “This puts them in the unique position to ensure a level of coverage and provide real-time insights about data risk that have never been possible. Just as DevOps changed the way companies thought about managing apps and infrastructure, Relyance is changing what’s possible in managing compliance and data governance.”
The Mountain View, CA, based company has secured a total of 30M in funding following a previously unannounced $5 million seed round led by John Vrionis, co-founder and managing partner of Unusual Ventures. Looking to the future, Golchereh and Sharma hope to double their existing 32 employees within the next 12-18 months. The diverse co-founder team are dedicated to ensuring their company promotes an inclusive environment by creating internal policies and offering remote working arrangements.
Speaking on the company’s diversity initiatives Sharma said:
“The recruiters we work with have a mandate internally to say, ‘Hey, we really want to hire good people and diverse people.’ Relyance as a company is the genesis of two individuals from two completely different ends of the spectrum coming together. And I think hopefully, we can do our job of relaying that into the company as we scale.”
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