Skyflow, a data privacy startup, announced Friday that it has expanded the number of markets where it offers data residency support for companies that need to keep certain information within certain boundaries. In today’s market, you probably won’t be able to keep EU customer data in, say, South America and vice versa, so companies need to make sure that some information stays at home in the market it came from.
Skyflow started as a tool to help businesses securely store Personally Identifiable Information or PII. The API helps companies “address all the difficult privacy, encryption and data issues associated with storing PII and other forms of potentially radioactive data for their customers,” we wrote when we last covered the company.
The startup, which last closed a $45 million Series B at the end of 2021, can now support data residency requirements in Japan, India, Indonesia and Bahrain. Work, CEO of Skyflow Anshu Sharma explained to TechCrunch+, allows software companies to offer their services more quickly in more markets, while complying with local legal requirements regarding where the data resides and the secure storage of personal user information.
Sharma argued that his company’s recently expanded regional data storage capabilities will provide ways to help other companies avoid the complexities of starting their own data storage and security frameworks simply to launch in new markets.
Skyflow’s work to support more regions didn’t come cheap. Sharma said the work had “high fixed costs,” which Skyflow could afford because it “brought in a lot of money,” allowing it to “take on the infrastructure and operational costs” for its clients. (As an aside, this is what venture capital is for: to build ahead on earnings in the hopes of acquiring excessive market share.)
Considering that every technology company – startups and large companies alike – is looking to accelerate every bit of growth possible in the current sluggish market, you can understand why Skyflow expects a return on its spending. If software companies continue to push to reach new markets to sell their services, they will have to adopt a set of data regulations and rules of their own. Or they can work with Skyflow or one of its competitors — EverVault, Protectionamong other things — to help meet local requirements.
So far, Skyflow has found remarkable international acceptance. Sharma told TechCrunch+ that his company does more than 40% of its current business with non-US customers. The CEO was quick to point out – by pulling up S-1 files during our conversation – that some well-known software companies took a low double-digit share of their revenue from international markets when they went public. It will be curious to see if increased regional support will push that figure above 50% in time; we’ll get back to the startup in a few quarters.
Where does generative AI come into play here?
Skyflow initially focused on offering its services to the fintech and healthcare industries. However, it is recently built a version of its data storage service to support generative AI services, so when we got on the phone with Sharma to talk about data residency, we also asked a few questions about market demand for LLM-related software services.
First, we wanted to know if the startup built the tool thanks to known demand or in anticipation of anticipated need. According to Sharma, his startup started getting calls from customers a few months ago about generative AI and how those companies should keep not only PII, but also internally sensitive data for LLMs. He said the demand comes from both bottom-up use of generative AI tools and board-level curiosity. Put another way, both corporate drones and corporate demigods want to use generative AI, but they don’t want to get into trouble with the kind of data breaches we’ve already seen in the market.