Digital privacy broadly refers to the use of internet and connected services without compromising personally identifiable and sensitive data. The proliferation of internet-based services in our daily lives creates a constant flow of sensitive information from the user to these services, which has inspired regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to emerge to protect consumer privacy.
Technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) allow companies to automate compliance-related tasks such as discovering and classifying personal information at a large scale and fulfilling data subject rights requests.
The rise of privacy regulations, spearheaded by the GDPR, is driving demand in this space, combined with the increasing cost of a data breach, and consumers becoming more aware of the risks associated with sharing their personal data with third parties. Failure to comply with privacy regulations can result in penalties that could reach millions as evidenced by the recent fines slapped to tech giants such as Amazon and Facebook.
The digital privacy space includes companies which cater to both enterprises and end consumers. Most of the companies offering solutions to enterprises are in the business of providing solutions to comply with regulations such as the GDPR and CCPA, with several other companies offering solutions to collaborate on, store, and carry out data processing on sensitive information without compromising privacy.
The industry has seen a hike in the number of new startups, with close to 60% of the startups founded after 2016 and more than two-thirds currently in the early/growth stage. This increase is driven by the emergence of the GDPR and other regulations that have followed. The disruptors offer a wide range of patented and AI-based solutions to support organizations across various areas of privacy compliance and have seen their revenues grow significantly over the last three years. In September 2020, Inc. magazine named OneTrust the fastest growing company in the US, recording revenue growth of more than 48,000% from 2016 to 2019 and reaching USD 70 million revenue in 2019. OneTrust was also the highest valued disruptor, with its last funding round in April 2021 placing a value of USD 5.3 billion on the company.
The incumbents largely include IT consulting giants that have ventured into this space through a mix of in-house development and acquisitions.
The incumbents in this space include established companies such as TrustArc and Ensighten which were already operating in the digital privacy space, and companies such as Accenture, IBM, and other technology consulting giants that have expanded offerings to provide compliance related services either internally or through acquisition. Each incumbent here provides their own variant of a platform/solution for organizations to achieve compliance with privacy regulations. Incumbents have working partnerships with other companies (including disruptors) in the space.