Danish startup sees growth opportunities in digital trust and raises 11.5 million DKK
The winner-brands of the future will give people control of their data. Danish startup Safe Online sees a large market for solutions that help companies improve their data ethics, and investors are so excited that Safe Online has raised DKK 11.5 million in a short time to develop and distribute the company’s products.
Copenhagen, May 24, 2020
Danish companies are currently in the middle of a “perfect storm”. On one side, they must meet the rigid requirements of the EU Personal Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Consumers are on board with the new rules and they increasingly demand that companies show they are taking good care of their data. At the same time, technological developments require companies to become even more data-driven, collecting and processing more customer data than ever to remain relevant in the market.
To balance these somewhat conflicting priorities, strong data ethics and high transparency are crucial for companies to stay competitive. Safe Online saw this early, and decided to position itself as an important player in the relationship between companies and individuals by offering solutions that create mutual trust through transparency.
“At a very small cost, our products allow Danish companies to easily make changes that have a huge impact on their reputation as responsible data controllers,” says Christian Bohn, CEO of Safe Online.
Brand enhancement through data ethics
Safe Online’s core product, Connectid Business, is a cloud-based solution that helps companies manage personal data and privacy policies with a particular focus on data access requests. Connectid Business is a portal that companies can integrate into their website, and the basic version is free.
“Connectid Business helps companies strengthen their brand, letting customers know their personal data is being cared for and their rights are taken seriously. At the same time, it sets up an efficient and consistent way of handling data insight requests,” says Christian Bohn.
A new study by Djøf emphasizes how important it is to improve data ethics and among other things, our privacy policies. According to the study, there is widespread distrust among Danes when it comes to the way both private and public companies handle our data.
41% say they do not believe it’s safe to share their information with companies, and 20% do not trust public authorities to treat their personal information with confidentiality.
Meanwhile, 41% of the population are unsure how much of their personal data public authorities have collected, and 66% of Danes are unsure about how much of their data private companies control.
“But it’s starting to dawn on us that our personal data is worth protecting. That is why more and more of us are requesting companies give us control of the data they have about us, and let us decide how they use it,” says Christian Bohn, CEO of Safe Online.
The need for automation
Most companies are not prepared to handle data access requests in-house at all. The engineering association IDA asked its IT executives about their initial experiences with GDPR. As many as 56% do not know if their workplace has received inquiries from citizens / customers regarding their right of access, while just one in five replies that they have. And when asked whether their workplace has supportive systems to handle data insight requests (DSARs) more than half answered: “no / don’t know”.
“Most underestimate how much work is involved in responding to data insight requests. In a typical Danish company, customer data will be scattered throughout 6-7 core systems and it could easily take 30-40 hours to collect all the data needed and respond to the inquiry,” says Christian Bohn.
Safe Online can handle the entire process from providing a portal that receives data access requests, to automating data collection across a company’s internal systems, while ensuring the data is delivered to the right requester with identity verification via email and SMS, and optional 3rd party ID systems such as NemID and BankID. Finally, Safe Online offers an easy to use email add-in that securely exchanges data without requiring customers to install cumbersome digital certificates.
Transparency becomes a competitive parameter
The renowned MIT University has identified 9 mega-trends that will permeate the world as we move towards 2030. Transparency is one of them: MIT predicts the amount of information collected about individuals, products and organizations will increase dramatically. And that there will be increasing pressure to share this information, in particular, with customers and consumers.
Deloitte’s report “Marketing Trends 2020” reveals a sobering trend among consumers: More than half (53%) of respondents will never use a company’s products if the company sells customer data to third-parties.
“These international studies leave no doubt that you as a company must be open about how you use and handle your customers’ data; offering an easy and frustration-free way for them to make data insight requests,” emphasizes Christian Bohn.
With customers in 15 different countries and strong market potential, Safe Online has attracted the attention of a number of professional investors. This has translated into DKK 11.5 million raised in a short time towards its continued expansion.
Among the investors we find an experienced business angel, Gregers Kronborg, who is also the newly named chairman of the board. As an investor and mentor, Gregers Kronborg has been involved in companies such as Trustpilot, Spotify, iZettle, Napatech and Asetek, Tobii, EpiServer and Avito.
“I really see great opportunities for Safe Online. In fact, I believe they can establish themselves as the ‘Zendesk for data’,” Gregers Kronborg says, pointing out that Danish Zendesk became a global success in making the helpdesk area simple and even pleasant.
“Safe Online has some of the same qualities, but in the field of personal data, data ethics and transparency,” says Gregers Kronborg.
In addition, experienced start-up investor, Henrik Kähler, has chosen to invest in Safe Online:
“It is becoming increasingly clear that trust between consumers and businesses will be a key factor to staying competitive in the future. Safe Online’s products are already innovative in the way they help businesses and consumers build mutual trust easily and effectively. But Safe Online also has an exciting vision for the next step: how consumers and businesses can unlock the potential of data – for the benefit of both parties.”