“I have no doubts that three years from now a privacy unicorn will appear in Latin America”, forecasts Argentine industrial engineer and entrepreneur, Rodrigo Irarrazaval. Newly arrived in Brazil, the executive plans to transform his startup, Wibson, into the leading privacy company in the region.
Along with his partner Daniel Fernandez, Irarrazaval developed a SaaS solution for companies that are not yet in compliance with Brazilian Data Protection Law (LGPD). The company was founded in 2018 when the duo realized they could offer a privacy service to European companies interested in complying with the GDPR — European Union’s counterpart data privacy legislation.
In Brazil, the LGPD was passed in August 2020, but it has not yet been fully assimilated by the companies. According to a study conducted by digital marketing specialist RD Station with nearly a thousand companies, and 93% of companies were aware of the law. However, until August 2021, only 15% of them were ready or in the final preparation for compliance with the LGPD.
The law grants fines that can reach 2% of company revenue, with a limit of BRL 50 million. And it is precisely these companies that compose the startup‘s target audience. Wibson wants to prove that it is not so difficult to adapt to the rules. To help in this process, the company raised a round led by Newtopia VC (learn more about the fund that the founder of Mercado Libre has among its partners).
As all Brazilian companies need to comply with the LGPD, the startup expects to have significant growth and generate revenues of BRL 3 million in 2022.
Privacy: back to basics
The Argentine startup arrives in Brazil at a time when more than 6 million companies need to comply with the LGPD rules. With a structure focused on technology, the first solution offered by Wibson is a banner about cookies (used to track users’ navigation) that can be inserted on the company’s website with just one line of code.
The executive says that adapting the companies’ websites through his solution may seem basic, but it is a strategy to win over small and medium-sized companies. Generally, leaders in this type of business find compliance with privacy regulations expensive and still don’t understand their importance.
“Many companies still do not know how to adapt to the LGPD, especially SMEs, which normally do not have assistance or a legal department. It’s all very new for everyone. So, with our knowledge, we want to help these companies. Our goal is to build a more transparent and fair data ecosystem, helping them comply with regulations starting with the basics: the website,” explains Irarrazaval.
DPO as service
The Brazilian LGPD is inspired by the GDPR, the European Union’s homologous legislation for user privacy. According to Irarrazaval, Wibson will apply its know-how in this type of implementation to help companies in Latin America comply with the privacy specifications brought by the regulations.
Currently, the startup is a partner and provider of privacy solutions for the European Union.
One of the opportunities that the startup sees in the local market is the possibility of offering the Data Protection Officer (DPO) service as a complement to its software. The cybersecurity startup noted that most of the companies covered still do not have this professional responsible for data management and privacy in companies.
“The DPO has to have a position of impact and decision-making power. In many cases, what happens is that when companies have an in-house expert, nobody pays much attention. Having an external DPO helps in this regard,” says the Wibson founder.
Expansion to Latin America and privacy as a differential
To facilitate its adaptation, the company is hiring privacy experts in the Brazilian market and is still looking for a partner to act as COO, based in São Paulo.
“Now, we are looking for our Brazilian partner, a COO based in São Paulo. We are going to give a lot of responsibility to this person, who will lead the operation and, together, will helps us grow in Brazil”, explains the executive.
Following the Argentine startup recipe — companies created to expand across the continent — Wibson is also interested in other markets on the continent. Colombia, Mexico, and Peru are countries that may receive the brand’s solution in the coming years. However, this depends on the evolution of these markets and their privacy legislation.
Wibson’s CEO believes the importance of data privacy will be a common thread for both businesses and consumers: “Today, privacy is a differentiator. If you watch commercials for the iPhone, Apple no longer emphasizes the best camera, or the best screen. Its already selling privacy, because that’s what people want to buy now.”