New York-Based Ethyca is Simplifying Europe's GDPR Requirements

The data privacy company is providing automated solutions to help businesses comply with GDPR while allowing their engineers to stay focused on innovation.

01.08.2019 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in effect for over a year. Nevertheless, the European data privacy regulations have had a series of unexpected consequences, for both businesses and consumers alike. According to Forbes, small businesses are more likely to suffer from trying to be GDPR-compliant, free services are dying a slow death, EU residents have restricted access to technology and non-EU websites and legislation efforts in a number of countries are at odds with GDPR. 

Ethyca, a data privacy startup based in New York City, has created a solution to help businesses comply with GDPR rules.

“Data protection and privacy is no longer an issue that can be taken for granted,” said Ethyca co-founder Cillian Kieran, an Irish engineer who also founded BrandCommerce and CKSK digital agency. “It is imperative that companies act now to ensure they’re compliant.”

Ethyca functions as a platform that helps companies of all sizes automate their data privacy needs, both as a self-service cloud for SaaS applications and as an end-to-end solution for businesses to establish a data privacy infrastructure. The company’s system discovers sensitive data and provides a means for businesses to see, edit or delete that data from their systems. Ethyca also enables users to define who can see and access particular types of data across the company, without receiving its customers’ raw data in the process.

“Working with a number of global-facing brands at BrandCommerce, we saw the need for a solution that gives peace of mind to legal teams and allows engineers to iterate on their products with the same flexibility they always had,” Cillian explained in a statement, as reported by Silicon Republic. “Ethyca will ensure online businesses have the highest standard of data protection for their customers, who are increasingly voting with their feet.”

Working together, these features help companies comply with GDPR requirements with minimal manual input. According to Cillian, the automation aspect is essential to reducing the complexity, costs and stress associated with complying with GDPR. Current solutions, which tend to need more direct involvement or expensive consultants, often don’t offer the answer that businesses are looking for.

“These solutions don’t actually solve the issue from an infrastructure point of view,” Cillian explained to TechCrunch. “I think that’s the distinction. You can go and use the consultants, or you can use a control panel that tells you what you need to do. But ultimately, at some point you’re either going to have to build or deploy code that fixes some issues, or indeed manually manage or remediate those [issues]. Ethyca is designed for that and takes away those risks because it is managing privacy by design at the infrastructure level.”

Ethyca raised $4.2 million in funding in an investment round led by IA Ventures and Founder Collective with participation by Table Management, Sinai Ventures, Cheddar founder Jon Steinberg and Moat co-founder Jonah Goodhart. Daniel Weitzner, director of MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative, is also joining the startup as an adviser.

“Privacy begins with good values and a commitment to follow the law. Consumers are demanding changes in privacy practices from business,” Daniel said. “Ethyca recognises the need for privacy-sensitive handling of personal data while also allowing engineers to iterate and stay innovation-focused. I’m happy to advise and support this global solution to a global issue.”

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