KEY TO SUCCESS. Kristina Bergman started Integris Software to help other companies keep their data secure.
As a venture capitalist with Ignition Partners, Kristina Bergman looked for patterns that suggest emerging needs, and then tried to find companies that address those needs.
Three years ago, she saw just such a pattern: Large companies faced an explosion of diverse data and no good way to identify and control it. Meanwhile, companies were facing stiffer contractual obligations regarding data privacy, and Europe had introduced regulations that could subject violators to heavy jail time and fines of up to 4 percent of global revenues.
Bergman couldn’t find a company addressing those challenges, so she set out to build her own. She interviewed executives at 15 Fortune 1000 companies to find out what kind of technology was required to address their problems, and how much they would pay for that technology.
Her company, Integris Software, has an automated “platform” that tracks data going in and out of a company, identifies data that relate to privacy, interprets the law and the company’s contractual obligations, and makes sure the company fulfills those obligations.
“Data flows like water,” says Bergman. “It’s highly available, highly replicable.” Integris can help secure that flow, for example, by automatically encrypting credit card numbers it encounters. The technology has been adopted by many established companies, including the Seattle law firm Perkins Coie. With that kind of traction, Bergman has already raised $13 million.
“We invested in Integris because they were the only company that had the technology to operate at the scale and level of automation required to support a successful compliance strategy,” says Mark Kraynak, a partner at Aspect Ventures, the lead investor in Integris.
“We didn’t need the money,” Bergman says of her oversubscribed financing round, “but I knew [Kraynak] would be a value add. Given his background and knowledge of the privacy space, he was the right partner at the right time.”