Data protection startup Virtru Corp. is hoping to establish its Trusted Data Format standard in the enterprise after closing on a $60 million round of funding today.

The Series C round was co-led by existing investor Iconiq Growth and new backer Foundry Capital, and saw participation from Tiger Global, MC2, Bessemer Venture Partners and New Enterprise Associates.

Virtru is an interesting company in the data protection market. The open-source TDF standard was created by its co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Will Ackerly, while working at the U.S. National Security Agency, as a way for its agents to share files by email securely.

What the TDF standard does is create a protective wrapper around whatever content is being shared – be it a Word document, a PDF, an image, Excel file or something else. That wrapper encrypts the file, which then communicates with a remote key store hosted by Virtru to maintain access privileges.

The email sender specifies who can access the document before it’s sent. Once the intended recipient receives the file, the TDF wrapper communicates with Virtru’s server and verifies that person is eligible to access the data. Only when verified can the recipient decrypt, open and read the file.

Ackerly quickly realized the TDF standard could be useful not only for the NSA, but also for many other organizations. Hence, Virtru was born, and the company has gone on to develop a number of products based on TDF encryption. They include encryption for Gmail, Google Drive and Google Cloud, plus encryption for Outlook. Its latest product Virtru Secure Share brings TDF encryption to any channel. Users can share a secure link across Slack, Microsoft Teams or other collaboration tools.

Virtru says it has more than 7,000 enterprise customers that rely on it to safeguard their most sensitive data. The TDF standard, meanwhile, has become the leading data control standard for the U.S. intelligence community, Virtru says.

“Corporations and governments are generating and sharing unprecedented levels of sensitive data, and Virtru is the most powerful and user-friendly platform to protect and control that data wherever it goes,” said Foundry Capital Chief Executive John Ein, who will join Virtru’s board of directors.

Holger Mueller, an analyst with Constellation Research Inc., said it was good to see startups like Virtru attracting funding to ensure the safety of enterprise data. “Data is at the center of the knowledge economy and is the base for all AI and ML automation,” he said. “Yet its protection and privacy has been and remains a problem.”

Virtru will use its new funds to accelerate the delivery of more products across its data protection portfolio, and to hire more personnel across its sales, marketing, research and development and customer success teams.

Image: TheDigitalArtist/pixabay

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