As data privacy laws proliferate, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to protect sensitive data in their applications. Privya was born with the idea that privacy protection should happen at the code level in development before the code goes into production.
One of the founders, CEO Uzy Hadad, was working at a company called VisualDNA, which was later acquired by Nielsen. As he watched the amount of data the company was collecting, storing and monetizing, he came up with the notion of a data privacy startup that would become Privya.
He and his co-founders built a product to scan the code in CI/CD pipeline, and look for issues that could expose sensitive data to the wrong people, putting the company at risk of being in the crosshairs of privacy regulators. Today the company emerged from stealth, while announcing a $6 million seed investment.
“Most of the technologies are focusing on post production, and in our solution we focus on the developer lifecycle,” Hadad told TechCrunch.
He added, “We built a secure privacy scanner that scans the code. And we are detecting privacy entities like user name, payment method, sexual orientation, GPS location and then we understand the flow.” What he means by flow is where the data comes from, where it goes, what third parties it could be shared with, and so forth, and they have built a privacy management solution on top of that to raise issues and provide developers with recommendations for mediation.
Hadad says that with all of the privacy laws, the most well known being GDPR in the EU and CCPA in California, privacy is becoming a regulated imperative. It’s worth noting that there is also a proposal for a federal data privacy law in the U.S. currently in Congress. As these laws spread, companies are under pressure to make sure their applications are protecting the privacy of their users.
Company co-founder and CRO David Segev says that the scan compares the code to an internal knowledge base, which includes GDPR, CCPA and other privacy rules frameworks like NIST, looking for issues. “Clearly, what we’re trying to do is to enable our customers to understand the potential violations, then they can determine what they want to overrule and what they actually want to fix,” he said. The program even displays code snippets on how to fix problems, acting as a teaching tool, so developers can avoid similar issues in the future.
The founders launched the company in 2021 along with CTO Arthur Garmider. They spent a fair amount of time talking to customers and building the tool, and they’ve had a working product for about eight months now. They are still pre-revenue, working with a dozen beta customers, with plans to launch the product officially later this year.
The startup has 15 employees and is in the process of hiring right now, looking to add four or five people to the team before the end of the year. He says that the company thinks a lot about diversity, whether gender or other dimensions like people with disabilities, as they build the company. And so far he has been adding people with diverse backgrounds to the team.
Today’s $6 million seed investment was led by Hyperwise Ventures, along with several unnamed industry angels.