Relyance AI Emerges From Stealth With $30M in Funding to Give Privacy Pros Real-Time Insights Into Their Codebase

Sep 15, 2021

Menlo Ventures and Unusual Ventures lead Seed and Series A as Relyance AI launches with customers including Dialpad, Patreon, Samsara and True

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Data breaches and privacy incidents are an existential risk to an organization’s brand, customer and user trust. According to a recent McKinsey study, seventy-one percent of consumers would cut off ties to a company that released their data without permission.

Yet businesses struggle to answer basic questions about their own data practices: Where is our customer’s personal data going? What exactly are we doing with the data? Are vendors or internal systems with access to our data exposing us to risk? Are we protecting data the way we’ve promised our customers? These questions are impossible to answer at today’s speed of business with archaic compliance workflows anchored in forms, surveys and meetings.

That’s the problem Relyance AI has set out to solve, launching from stealth today with $30M in seed and Series A funding from Unusual Ventures and Menlo Ventures. John Vrionis, co-founder and managing partner of Unusual Ventures, led Relyance AI’s seed round and has been on the board since its inception. The latest round was co-led by Unusual Ventures and Menlo Ventures. Jyoti Bansal of Unusual Ventures, founder of AppDynamics, Harness and Traceable, joins the company’s board of directors. Menlo Ventures partner Matt Murphy also joins the board as an observer.

Relyance AI is the first Privacy and Data Governance Ops solution to offer transparency and visibility all the way down to the source code in real-time. For the first time ever, an organization can quickly and accurately answer essential privacy questions and ensure compliance and governance by mapping requirements directly to the ultimate source of truth: the codebase. PrivacyOps can finally operate at the speed of DevOps.

“Relyance AI answers a problem the whole privacy industry is facing: It’s six o’clock - do you know where your data is? For most companies, the answer is really - no,” explains Preston Thomas, privacy and compliance counsel at Dialpad.

Historically, legal and data protection teams have had limited visibility into digital operations. The information they collect goes obsolete almost as soon as it’s gathered. Developers and data scientists are constantly creating and updating internal applications, microservices and data pipelines. DevOps is deploying them. Sales, marketing and customer success teams are adopting new tools and decommissioning old ones. Each time they do, the gap between what is really happening in the business and what the legal, data protection, privacy and compliance teams expect to happen grows ever more dangerously wide.

Relyance AI provides a platform for an entire organization to manage privacy compliance and data protection seamlessly. Using machine learning, Relyance AI determines an organization’s contractual requirements and the actual operational reality of data processing down to the source code. With this foundation of trust, data protection teams have the visibility and insight they need to take action on privacy issues in real-time.

Though Relyance AI just launched from stealth, it is already seeing rapid customer adoption with brands such as Dialpad, Patreon, Samsara, ThriveTRM, True and dozens of others in production and proof-of-concept.

“Relyance AI is taking our privacy program to the next level. They are moving us from a manual, static approach to a truly data-driven technology one,” explained Lawrence Schoeb, legal director at Samsara. “I think a lot of privacy programs feel on the back foot because they’re never confident in the underlying data. But with Relyance AI, we have started to build a strong foundation for an intelligent, world-class data privacy program.”

“Compliance software has historically been a manual, top-down process of mapping and trying to figure out data location and movement. Relyance completely changes the game with a bottoms-up, tech-first approach which automagically discovers and maps data locality and flows,” said Matt Murphy, Partner at Menlo Ventures. “This puts them in the unique position to ensure a level of coverage and provide real-time insights about data risk that have never been possible. Just as DevOps changed the way companies thought about managing apps and infrastructure, Relyance is changing what’s possible in managing compliance and data governance.”

Relyance AI helps organizations with five integrated components:

  • Live Data Inventory and Map: Relyance AI quickly connects to code repositories, infrastructure tools and external vendor APIs. It automatically inventories data assets across internal APIs and third-party systems and maps the topology of data flows and lineage.
  • Universal ROPA: Relyance AI automatically generates universal records of processing activities (ROPAs) with the flexibility to meet global compliance requirements. It scans code, policies and agreements to learn how data is actually processed, then generates ROPAs that identify data types and categories, the purpose of processing, the basis of transfer, security measures and processing activities.
  • Intelligent Insights: Relyance AI sends alerts about potential issues so privacy, data governance, and compliance teams can quickly prioritize action items. It detects missing vendor and data processing agreements (DPAs), invalidated compliance frameworks in agreements, missing data categories in DPAs, broad DPA language and more.
  • Data Subject Access Request: Relyance AI helps organizations achieve compliance quickly and accurately with a view into data lifecycles, vendor data flows and cross-functional data processing. It trains on global best practices to highlight data subject access request (DSAR) exceptions, extensions and allowable fees automatically to run the custom rules that work for each organization.
  • Vendor Lifecycle Management: Relyance AI manages the complete vendor lifecycle to ensure an organization is doing what it said it would do with personal data. It surfaces key terms from a DPA like security, DSARs and inspection of their codebase by providing visibility into how personal data is shared between internal services and external vendors. Organizations can quickly remediate privacy issues by pinpointing data sharing down to the API method.

“Given the importance of data privacy and the emergence of strict new regulatory regimes like the CCPA, GDPR and others, it’s surprising how little compliance teams know about the moment-to-moment flow of personal data throughout their organization,” said Jyoti Bansal, co-founder and partner at Unusual Ventures. “Engineering teams move fast, unaware of new data protection requirements, and the rest of the company is always racing to catch up. Relyance AI unites these teams, giving them a common platform that ensures robust data privacy and continued trust in the brand. It’s like putting a privacy expert inside the code.”

Relyance AI was co-founded by entrepreneur, data-protection attorney, and privacy thought leader Leila R. Golchehreh and serial entrepreneur and machine-learning expert Abhi Sharma, who have been longtime friends. Prior to Relyance AI, Leila built out global data privacy and legal programs for various organizations for more than 13 years, in private practice as well as for Workday and Adaptive Insights, where she led data protection and compliance in preparation for the company’s IPO and subsequent acquisition. Abhi is a machine learning expert and two-time tech entrepreneur. Previously the founding member of Foghorn Systems and a platform engineer at AppDynamics, Abhi spent most of his career building tech and go to market (GTM) for products involving compilers, real-time/large-scale data processing, ML and observability tools. He also serves as an advisor at Unusual Ventures, helps first-time founders with product/GTM and actively explores progress studies.

Together, the founders combine a deep understanding of machine learning, compilers and large-scale infrastructure operations with data protection, privacy operations, legal expertise and firsthand experience of the major problems large organizations face with privacy and data protection.

“Relyance AI is that leapfrog moment for privacy and data governance. For the first time, you can truly match the speed of privacy, compliance and data governance operations to the speed of product development and business operations,” said Abhi Sharma, co-founder and co-CEO of Relyance AI. “Privacy and data governance must shift left in the software development lifecycle, just as security has for many years now. It needs to become a native part of the core DevOps, MLOps and BizOps lifecycle, not just handled in audits, reviews, legal negotiations, QA or post-production releases. With Relyance AI, we are thrilled to bring the same advances in NLP and software instrumentation that have been used to leverage data; to now protect it.”

“For too long, there has been a deep disconnect between engineering and privacy teams, where everyone speaks different languages. With Relyance AI, for the first time, legal and privacy teams can speak code and engineering teams can speak contract,” said Leila R. Golchehreh, co-founder and co-CEO of Relyance AI. “When trust is the new currency, we need to communicate and collaborate more effectively, eliminate painful manual workflows and rely on what we can actually see for ourselves instead of what we are told by others is true, then placed into a spreadsheet or form, where it instantly goes obsolete. Relyance AI solves this to improve data protection processes across organizations by generating code-level insights.”

The company has built an elite board of advisors, including renowned data protection lawyer Phil Lee, and is backed by other prestigious angel investors and advisors including Dev Ittycheria, CEO of MongoDB; Henry Ward, CEO of Carta; Rob Hull, Former CEO, Adaptive Insights; Meredith Halama, privacy chair at a major law firm and former compliance head at the Network Advertising Initiative; Ashok Banerjee, VP, Security & Privacy at VMWare and former CTO at Symantec; Susan Hintze, privacy lawyer, former privacy chair at Cooley LLP and privacy track leader at RSA; and Mike Hintze, privacy lawyer, former chief privacy counsel at Microsoft and senior fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum.

Based in Mountain View, CA, Relyance AI has 30+ staff members and will use the funds to expand its engineering and sales teams and accelerate the company’s initial go-to-market motions.

About Relyance AI

Relyance AI provides a complete privacy and data governance solution for the entire organization to collaborate on data protection and compliance seamlessly on a single platform. Using machine learning, Relyance AI learns an organization’s contractual requirements and actual data processing at the code level and then provides visibility and insight needed to take action on critical privacy issues in real-time. The company counts iconic customers like Dialpad, Patreon, Samsara, ThriveTRM and True and has an all-star advisory board featuring Jyoti Bansal, Phil Lee and other domain experts. The company is venture-backed by Unusual Ventures and Menlo Ventures.

More press releases