Kintent, a startup providing enterprise compliance and security solutions, today announced that it has raised $18 million in a Series A funding round led by OpenView with participation from Tola Capital for a valuation of $64 million. This brings in a total of $22 million raised by the company, which founder and CEO Sravish Sridhar says will be spent on hiring sales and product staff, product expansion and support. new compliance standards.
Compliance, which covers issues such as regulatory reporting and commercial monitoring, was not an easy lift before the pandemic. Organizations lose an average of $4 million in revenue due to a single non-compliance event, according to at GlobalScape. But the pandemic has brought additional challenges as businesses embrace digital technologies. Seventy percent of organizations responding to a 2021 Thomson Reuters report say the pandemic has increased their reliance on software to improve decision-making, performance monitoring and risk management.
“There is no trust [in the compliance industry]. Why? Because no one trusts what salespeople tell them. Compliance is a charade,” Sridhar told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The entire software-as-a-service industry needs a kick in the pants when it comes to security questionnaires and compliance. Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) have need a programmatic way to honestly assess and receive safety and compliance information from vendors.”
Sridhar, unsurprisingly, sees Kintent like this. He launched the company in 2019 after co-founding computer consulting firm Seven Numerals and “backend-as-a-service” startup Kinvey, which was acquired by Progress in 2017 for $49 million.
The compliance software segment is a cluttered space, a fact Sridhar is well aware of. Vanta, Drata, Anecdotes, Secureframe and Osano are just a few vendors with products that promise to simplify various compliance processes. Polaris Market Research predicted that the enterprise governance, risk management and compliance software market will be worth $96.98 billion by 2028.
But Sridhar says the launch of Kintent was driven by a desire to offer a more comprehensive solution than those already on the market.
“I started Kintent because thach software-as-a-service company must demonstrate that it has a strong security and compliance program in place to win business deals. This is done by obtaining formal certifications or attestations of compliance to standards such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, etc., and answering tedious and time-consuming security questionnaires that a supplier receives as part of each sales process,” he said. “Most companies do the bare minimum… Every sales team tries to skate [sic] throughout the security questionnaire process by providing answers that reflect what they think the business customer wants to see… We need to transform the status quo from checkbox compliance to trust. To do this, we need a future where suppliers and customers… honestly share safety and compliance information with each other.
Kintent is making openings in this direction with automation. One of the company’s products, TrustShare, shares privacy and data security information with customers using an automatically generated live portal. Another, TrustOps, is designed to streamline compliance with compliance frameworks, including the US California Consumer Privacy Act and General Data Protection Regulation.
Kintent has also developed an AI engine, Respond, to read questions in security questionnaires and generate “truthful” answers. Trained on security questionnaires from “companies around the world”, according to Sridhar, Respond draws its answers from a company’s security and compliance program.
“A big problem companies face in every sales process is manually answering lengthy security questionnaires before they can close a deal. Each questionnaire has 200 to 300 questions and companies receive five to ten questionnaires per month,” Sridhar said. “Sales and security teams feel like banging their heads against the wall when they receive a security questionnaire.”
Can automations like these alone help companies get compliant? Unlikely, but they can’t hurt. A recent Gartner survey showed that compliance teams that do not embed their controls into employee processes face a significantly higher rate of compliance failures. Thirty-two percent of employees surveyed said they couldn’t find relevant information when failing to meet a compliance obligation, while a further 20% didn’t even recognize that information was needed.
Either way, relying heavily on automation has proven to be a winning business strategy for Kintent, which has grown its annual recurring revenue to over $1 million in 12 months. The company’s customer base now includes more than 80 organizations, including Evisort, Jeeves, Synk, Notarize and DataRobot. The plan is to increase Kintent’s workforce from 25 to 50 to 60 by the end of the year.
“Enterprise CISOs use Kintent to transform their security and compliance program from a cost center to a center of trust and a revenue enabler for businesses,” Sridhar said. “Kintent enables transparent and measurable trust – where trust in businesses is programmatically verified at all times.”