Cape Town-based Privacy-by-Design startup that specialises in secure data sharing for businesses, Omnisient, has secured undisclosed pre-Series A funding from Nedbank CIB, Investec and Compass Venture Capital.
Since launch, the intersect.ai platform has gained major traction amongst SA businesses, including leading banks, insurers and retailers.
“Consumers now demand speed, ease and convenience in every sphere of life – and businesses can only meet these needs if they have seamless access to data on consumer behaviour, interests and purchase decisions,” explains Jon Jacobson, CEO & Technology Officer at Omnisient.
“The critical business challenge is that consumers want this convenience without compromising on privacy. At Omnisient, our intersect.ai platform follows the principle of Privacy by Design, which speaks directly to this challenge – enabling swift and affordable data sharing while removing any trace of customers’ personal information from the process.”
In addition to propelling business growth through data collaboration, the pioneering Omnisient platform critically ensures that customers remain compliant with complex data privacy regulations such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
“Nedbank CIB is at the forefront of investing in disruptive technologies that make a meaningful difference to people’s lives – including data privacy initiatives that leverage Nedbank’s strategy of being financial experts who do good,” says Janade Du Plessis, Head of Alternative Investments and Venture Capital at Nedbank.
“Our investment in Omnisient will support the company’s scaling of their team to capitalise on their first-mover-advantage in Africa. We are confident that the intersect.ai platform will be beneficial to our corporate clients that are looking to monetise their data or improve unique client value propositions, in a safe and compliant way.”
Currently, South Africa’s information regulator is pushing for the remaining provisions of POPIA to be finalised and to come into effect by 1 April 2020. After the commencement date, companies will have 12 months to get their systems and processes in place to comply with the Act.
In addition to POPIA, many large businesses within SA, including banks, insurers and retailers, have to comply with GDPR, which came into effect in 2018.
Essentially, GDPR regulations apply to the processing of personal data by “controllers” and “processors” based in the EU, as well as those located outside of the EU if they provide services and goods to EU customers. GDPR penalties can be up to 4% of an organisation’s global annual turnover, while POPIA carries a maximum R10 million fine or time behind bars for non-compliance.
“With rigorous new data privacy regulations coming into effect, businesses across sectors have to put secure data sharing systems and infrastructure in place,” says Jacobson.
“Savvy business leaders are quickly recognising the imperative to act now, and are looking to integrate world-class technology that simultaneously drives growth through data monetization.”