Privacy-Related Start-Ups Get Fresh Attention

As articles about the Facebook backlash, security concerns, and even a "good-bye to privacy" continue to stream in at a steady clip, tech companies are busy developing a potentially lucrative market--privacy protection. The Wall Street Journal reports that venture capitalists are actively investing in privacy-related start-ups that offer a range of services to manage online identity.

The investment windfalls include $15 million for ReputationDefender, a site that offers services to monitor and control your Internet presence. They range from a customized search to remove personal information from databases to managing what search engines reveal about you. Not everyone is running a political campaign, but job seekers, in particular, may want to make sure that the pictures of their last scantily-clad vacation stay locked safely away. Businesses can take it a step further and sign up for services that will promote their brand, reduce the impact of negative publicity, and manage their presence on the Web.

Though the company wasn't planning on seeking funding for several months, CEO Michael Fertik told the Journal that more than 20 venture capital firms expressed interest.

Other services getting support include Truste, which certifies sites that meet its online privacy standards, and closed $12 million in funding in early June. The cash infusion will in part be directed at certifying "social networking, mobile, and advertising" services, suggesting that credibility will be a key component in the future success of online business endeavors.

And as privacy continues to remain at the forefront of consumers' minds, it seems that these ventures are just the beginning; Theresia Gouw Ranzetta, a venture capitalist at Accel tells the Journal, "we're actively looking for more [privacy] deals."

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