Online privacy certification company TRUSTe has raised $15 million in Series C funding led by Baseline Ventures with existing investors Accel Partners, DAG Ventures and Jafco Ventures participating. This brings TRUSTe’s total funding to $37 million.
TRUSTe certifies that companies are meeting online privacy standards for consumers. Websites which are certified by the company bear a “trustmark,” indicating that the site is secure. TRUSTe says more than 82 percent of consumers who recognize TRUSTe’s privacy seal use it to decide how and when to disclose personal information. TRUSTe was actually a not-for-profit venture until 2008 when the company changed its business model.
As online privacy has increasingly become a concern for consumers, TRUSTe’s brand has benefitted. In the past 18 months, TRUSTe has nearly tripled in size – including sales, employees, and product offerings. TRUSTe now has over 5,000 customers including Yahoo, Microsoft, eBay, Facebook, AOL, Adobe, AT&T, Comcast, Disney, Weather.com, Apple, LinkedIn, Web MD, and Yelp.
TRUSTe’s CEO Chris Babel tells me in an interview that as more sites are trying to track data from consumers, TRUSTe sees an opportunity in helping companies address these data privacy challenges. He explains, “This increased use of data poses significant challenges, including the need to address complicated compliance requirements, establish consumer trust, and manage complex technology requirements.”
The company has also expanded its product into online advertising, including its TRUSTed Ads online advertising compliance solution and mobile app certification.
The new funding will be used towards the development of new technologies, expansion of TRUSTe’s international operations, and further hiring of sales and operations staff. Check out this recent comparison of online privacy policies around the web compiled by TRUSTE.