Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
A startup that looks to help companies protect customers’ personal data just received $3.1 million in new funding at a crucial time for the data protection industry.
Clarendon-based WireWheel was founded in December 2016 by Justin Antonipillai, the former Acting Undersecretary of Economic Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce under President Barack Obama, alongside University of Maryland Computer Science professor Amol Deshpande and former NASA rocket scientist Chris Getner.
Its software, called the “Data Privacy and Protection platform,” helps businesses both in the United States and Europe keep track of customer data that has been collected, where it is stored and who or what has access to it.
“It’s not only the specific information you’ve given the company, because most companies are logging every interaction you have with them, often tied to where you were when that interaction took place, there’s crazy insights that people can get from that kind of data about you,” Antonipillai said. “What I’m really seeing is companies trying to do the right thing, and makes sure they can prove they’re doing the right thing, and that’s where we come in.”
WireWheel received its seed funding, early-stage investments in return for a stake in the business, from venture capital firms PSP Chicago and New Enterprise Associates. Antonipillai said that money will be used primarily to hire new software developers and engineers and to invest in improving the software which will be rolled out for a wider Beta test in January.
And from the investment firms’ point of view, the timing is perfect to invest in companies that help protect customers’ data, especially after high-profile breaches like that at the Equifax credit bureau.
“Now, more than ever, it is imperative that companies and governments build trust and show that they are taking care of their customer’s personal data,” Penny Pritzker, founder and Chairman of PSP Capital, said in a statement. “The WireWheel team brings tremendous expertise in understanding the regulatory maze, advanced technologies and business needs surrounding data privacy.”
In May, the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect for companies that do business in Europe, which includes multi-national corporations based in the United States. Described as “one of the biggest changes to data privacy and data protection regulation in 20 years,” it imposes significant privacy requirements on companies.
Antonipillai said the GDPR and the European Union’s renewed focus on data privacy means WireWheel fills a vital need for companies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
“In Europe, privacy is a fundamental right and it imbues a lot of parts of society,” he said. “If companies aren’t in a position to demonstrate that they’re doing the right thing with that information, and that they know where it is, what it is and who or what has access to it, you can’t do business on the world stage.”
Already, Antonipillai said WireWheel has worked with several multi-national companies in the software’s early stages, and has been developing its platform with their help.
He echoed comments from the likes of Ballston-based cybersecurity firm BluVector, which said previously it is part of an unofficial “cyber corridor” in Arlington, and said that as the software evolves, it will be easy to scale for more companies to use.
“We know that if we solve their problems, we’ll solve them in a way that is going to solve a lot of companies’ problems,” Antonipillai said. “Given the scope of the problem, there are European laws and there are US laws that have to be complied with. Companies are trying really hard to get up to speed on that, so I think we have a pretty good path to scale once we really get the platform out.”
Good Thursday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
A look at the smallest and largest homes sold in Arlington last month, January 2024.
A proposed county contract aims to incentivize Arlington residents to resume buying as many solar panels as they once did. The Arlington County Board on Saturday is set to consider…
Join us for Arlington’s 30th annual Feel the Heritage Festival taking place at Charles Drew Community Center this Saturday, February 24, from noon to 5 p.m. This cherished annual event unites…
🎉 Tonight, we invite you to the French Riviera, one of the most exciting places on earth – without ever boarding a plane! And celebrate Mardi Gras and the Carnival of Nice on French soil as we welcome you to a special evening at the Embassy of France!
From the elegance of classical French culture to the most celebrated Rivera nightlife of the 21st Century, experience a special evening of fantastic French food, wine, music, and ambiance.
Enjoy the flavors of Nice, Monaco, and St. Tropez in the beautiful and festive Maison Francaise at the French Embassy.
🍽️ On the Menu: Delicious French food
Virginia’s Importance in the Upcoming Election
General Membership Meeting
Rev. Cozy E. Bailey, Sr.
The third program in our Science Meets Judaism series brings together Kol Ami member Jeremy Epstein, Assistant Director for Technologies and Privacy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Dr. Rebecca Epstein-Levi, Assistant Professor of Jewish
Friday, March 8
8pm (Doors open at 7)
Crystal City Sports Pub – 3rd Floor Lounge
Come early for full Dinner and Drink Service!