SA Startup Omnisient Secures Pre-Series A Funding, Plans To Roll Out Data Sharing Service In Nigeria

By  |  March 4, 2020

South African startup, Omnisient, which has created a business out of enabling secure data sharing for businesses, has secured an undisclosed amount of pre-Series A investment.

Amongst the five-year-old startup’s latest backers are Investec Private Capital, Compass Venture Capital, and Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking.

Omnisient’s platform enables businesses to unlock the benefits of data collaboration while protecting customers’ data privacy and intellectual property. 

Co-founded by  Jon Jacobson, Matt Mckie and Anton Grutzmacher, the Cape Town-based startup claimed to have gained major traction amongst South African businesses, including leading banks, insurers, and retailers since launching in 2014.

Omniscient’s pre-Series A raise seems timely especially as it is coming at a time when South Africa’s information regulator is relentlessly working towards the finalisation of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) which is expected to take effect as from April 1 this year.

Per the provisions, companies will have 12 months to get their systems and processes in place to comply with the Act, and Omniscient is keen to be at the centre of the orchestration of the changes to how data is handled in South Africa.

“With rigorous new data privacy regulations coming into effect, businesses across sectors have to put secure data sharing systems and infrastructure in place,” said Jacobson, who is chief executive and technology officer at Omnisient.

“Savvy business leaders are quickly recognising the imperative to act now, and are looking to integrate world-class technology that simultaneously drives growth through data monetisation.”

Jacobson told Ventureburn that the startup currently services three major SA banks and four SA top retailers. While the startup did not disclose the value of the investment or what stake investors have taken in the business, Grutzmacher did reveal that the amount was below ZAR 20 Mn.

In a statement announcing the development, Janade Du Plessis, Head of Alternative Investments and Venture Capital at Nedbank, said: “Our investment in Omnisient will support the company’s scaling of their team to capitalise on their first-mover-advantage in Africa.

“We are confident that the platform will be beneficial to our corporate clients that are looking to monetise their data or improve unique client value propositions, in a safe and compliant way,” he added.

Also, Akash Maharaj of Investec comented thus: “Our strategy is to invest in and enable the growth of established, reputable entrepreneurs. Our investment in Omnisient is informed by the strength of the team and the innovation we believe they will bring to the tech ecosystem and the increasingly important field of data protection and privacy.

He added, “More importantly, our partnership seeks to leverage Investec Private Capital’s expertise and experience to empower Omnisient’s team in unlocking the potential of their unique vision.”

Omnisient’s platform is particularly useful to retailers and banks that have customer loyalty programmes and want to share customer data with current or potential partner companies.

It is also understood that the startup has its eyes on growing its team, launching another office in Johannesburg, and expanding into other African markets starting with Nigeria where the company already offers Know your customer (KYC) services to data partners.

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