Sydney-based secure data-sharing startup Data Republic has closed a $22 million Series B funding round to expand its horizons and increase its presence in the US and Singapore.
The round was led by Singtel Innov8, the corporate venture capital fund of communications group Singtel. It also included Singapore Airlines, and repeat investment from Qualgro, ANZ, Reinventure, and the Ryder Innovation Fund.
Data Republic provides a platform facilitating the secure exchange of data between companies, while allowing users to maintain full control of their own data.
The startup launched its beta service in 2015, and closed a $10.5 million Series A round, led by Qantas and NAB, in May 2016.
Speaking to StartupSmart, co-founder Danny Gilligan said since then, Data Republic has been focused on growing its Software-as-a-Service enterprise solution, and on building out the infrastructure for sharing money in a secure way.
The Series A raise was about bringing the first companies on board, Gilligan says.
Now, “around 500 companies are participants in our overall ecosystem”.
The next objective is to reach more partners, and to increase the level of activity between the existing ones, Gilligan adds.
The funding will also be used to start expanding the platform and expanding overseas.
“We have been toeing the water in North America for the last year,” Gilligan says.
“We’re hoping to bring on our first customers in those markets.”
There’s also “a unique opportunity” in Singapore, he adds, as it’s a very concentrated market of large and data-heavy businesses.
“There is demand there — it’s a very sophisticated economy when it comes to data,” Gilligan says.
Shifts in the market
Gilligan puts the increasing success of Data Republic partly down to “tech advances that coincide with market maturity”.
There have been “a couple of really material shifts” in the data landscape, he says.
Open banking and conversations on consumer data rights have led to “a huge progressive movement towards opening up data”.
At the same time, there’s increasing focus on data security and privacy.
“All of our partners are incredibly security conscious,” Gilligan says.
And, while the founders strongly believe in the power of an open-data economy, “you only have that licence when you can demonstrate trust and transparency”, he adds.
Data Republic entered the data-sharing game before it was a national buzzword, and it hasn’t always been easy to educate the market, Gilligan says.
“But, if you do it well, then you get the opportunity to shape that as well,” he adds.
“Things that are very difficult are sometimes the most worthwhile things to do.”