(Bloomberg) -- Privacy management software startup OneTrust has raised $150 million in a funding round led by Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, the startup plans to announce this week.
The deal values the company at $4.5 billion, a high valuation — but still about 18% less than it was during its last funding round in 2021. That lower valuation means OneTrust is the latest in a growing list of unicorns to accept a so-called down round in a historically tight funding environment.
Over the years in which the startup’s valuation declined, Chief Executive Officer Kabir Barday said, its financial performance improved. Atlanta-based OneTrust doubled annual recurring revenue to $400 million from 2021, the CEO said. The company’s data privacy products allow individuals to do things like request their personal data and act as whistleblowers. OneTrust said it now counts 80% of Fortune 100 companies among its 14,000 customers.
Barday said he wasn’t overly bothered by the terms of the latest funding round, given the broader shakeup in the startup world. “The price is what it is,” he said.
A lingering tech downturn has turned what used to be a trickle of companies taking down rounds — like Stripe Inc. and Klarna Bank AB — into a steady stream. Such rounds can pose legal and personal difficulties for companies and investors, because they indicate a shrinking pie, but they also may be necessary when norms change around valuations. The number of companies accepting down rounds tripled to 14.2% of all deals during the second quarter from the year before, according to PitchBook data.
The alternative for some startups is not raising money at all. Venture capitalists invested roughly $40 billion in startups last quarter, or about half the sum they invested during the same period last year. Meanwhile the number of deals they completed decreased by one-third, according to PitchBook.
OneTrust made significant cuts while navigating the downturn. Barday replaced the majority of his senior team with outside executives in 2021 and early 2022. The company also laid off 25% of its workforce, or 950 employees, in June 2022. Barday said OneTrust currently employs about 2,000 people and is not planning further layoffs.
Joy Tuffield, an investor at Generation Investment Management, said that startup valuations have recently have come back to reality. OneTrust has “matured significantly,” she said. “We’re getting them at what we believe is a very fair and reasonable valuation.”
Barday said he’ll use the new funding to improve OneTrust’s privacy and data governance products, and will aim to help organizations with ethical adoption of AI, focusing on data in training models to reduce bias.
OneTrust is in the process of preparing to go public, but has no date in mind. “It’s on our to do list, but it’s not number one,” Barday said.
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