Privacy Firm TRUSTe Raises $15M in New Funding

Plans to expand products, globalize presence

To keep up with the privacy challenges that grow in lockstep with the booming data economy, privacy management firm TRUSTe today announced that it has raised $15 million in new funding.

The Series C financing round, which was led by Baseline Ventures and followed by previous investors Accel Partners, DAG Ventures and Jafco Ventures, brings the company’s total funding to $27 million.

“[With] the big data movement, the ability to store, collect and crunch data has gone from being very expensive 10 years ago, to essentially being free and is only getting cheaper,” said Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe. “That raises its head in terms of, in particular advertising, where you’ve got … [according to eMarketer] about a $30 billion U.S. ad spend [in 2011]. Every dollar of that would like to be more targeted with more information, which causes a host of privacy concerns and opportunities.”

Founded as a nonprofit in 1997 and then incorporated in 2008, TRUSTe offers auditing, certifications and other privacy services for consumer websites, mobile apps, online ads and cloud-based products. While the website auditing and certification is the company’s longest-standing business, Babel said that demand for mobile, ad and cloud support is quickly catching up.

In the past year and a half, he said, TRUSTe’s sales, employees and product suite have all nearly tripled in size. The company now has about 120 employees and 5,000 employees. TRUSTe declined to share revenue figures.

“TRUSTe is uniquely positioned to help businesses address the growing privacy concerns threatening to limit the adoption of new technologies like mobile, fast becoming the most common way for people to interact online,” Accel Partners’ Andrew Braccia said in a statement. “TRUSTe’s deep understanding of the evolving regulatory landscape, in-depth consumer insight, and technology innovation enables them to continuously deliver solutions—tailored to every online market—meeting the needs of both businesses and consumers.”

With the new funding, Babel said the company will expand its product offerings, ramp up sales and marketing and expand oversees, particularly to Europe.

“We’ve touched the surface in these new areas of offerings,” Babel said. “But there’s a lot of additional things we can do.”