At last week’s Privacy. Security. Risk. conference, automated PIA and data mapping solution provider OneTrust announced the acquisition of U.K. firm Optanon, a software maker that provides website auditing and cookie compliance solutions.
Terms of the deal were not released.
Optanon was founded 15 years ago, following passage of the ePrivacy Directive in the EU, and was one of the first providers of “cookie law” compliance services.
Alan Dabbiere, OneTrust chairman, told The Privacy Advisor that OneTrust was attracted to Optanon’s domain competence. “They’ve been in this website-scanning business for quite a few years, and they have some very good customers and technology,” he said. OneTrust and Optanon have similar customer bases, but very little technology or product overlap, he said, “and this gave us a huge expansion of our product line and got us there at a rational price, with solid technology and happy customers.”
It’s the not the expense to build out OneTrust’s technology that the acquisition avoids, Dabbiere said, but rather the opportunity cost saved by not having to build it.
Further, the buy gives OneTrust some feet on the ground in the EU (for the time being), “and we do believe you have to think globally and act locally,” he said. “Generally, Europeans are reasonably comfortable doing business with American companies, but they don’t want their first line of support to be Atlanta or San Francisco.”
Clearly, OneTrust is growing rapidly. Self-funded following Dabbiere’s and OneTrust co-founder/CEO Kabir Barday’s sale of AirWatch to WMWare for more than $1 billion, the company has gone from zero to 40 employees in the first six months and doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon.
“There’s a race to have a scaled product,” Dabbiere said. “Companies don’t want to buy 10 different solutions [for their privacy operations]. They want one hand to shake and one provider who can fill enough of that solution while still being purpose-built.”
And Dabbiere has seen this kind of growth before. “I thought we had rapid growth at AirWatch [founded in 2003], but it took us three years to get to 100 people, and then two years later it was 1,000 people,” he said. “I get that same feeling when I see very large companies coming forward and saying, ‘This is something we need for so many different reasons.”
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