Careers at TRUSTe
True Ultimate Standards Everywhere Inc (“TRUSTe”) is a data privacy management company, The Company assesses, monitors and certifies websites, mobile applications, cloud services, and advertising channels to ensure that its customers can safely manage customer data.
TRUSTe was originally established in 1997 as a non-profit under the name eTRUST, with privacy advocates Lori Fena (“Fena”) and Chris Jennings (“Jennings”) at the helm. The Company was renamed TRUSTe following a copyright dispute. In its non-profit form, TRUSTe received sponsorship from Microsoft, IBM, and other tech companies, generating revenue solely through its certification services.
TRUSTe grew considerably during the early 2000s, however, the further emergence of the internet brought with it a number of more complex privacy concerns relating to spyware, spam and phishing schemes, as well as greater opportunities within the small business market. Consequently the Company restructured to a for-profit model in 2007, attracting additional funding and personnel to fulfil a greater range of services.
In 2008 TRUSTe received $10 million in Series A funding from Accel and Baseline Ventures. To date the Company has received a total of $37 million in four rounds of funding from four investors, its two most recent investors being DAG Ventures and Icon Ventures.
Benefits at TRUSTe
Business model of TRUSTe
TRUSTe primarily serves business customers, notably those that manage an online user base and as such are required to comply with privacy regulations. This principally comprises websites – media, retail and business – mobile application developers, online advertisers, and companies that maintain an online software platform.
Among its customers, TRUSTe names media group The New York Times; retailers GAP, McDonalds and Nestle; tech companies Apple, Oracle and PayPal; and app developers Zynga and App Annie.
TRUSTe is an established and experienced name in the privacy certification space, with a brand reputation for reliability and quality. It is thus an attractive provider for new customers.
The Company provides a full suite of products and services that allow customers to manage their privacy needs across multiple channels – including websites, applications, advertising and cloud platforms – from one single provider, making the process more efficient and simple for customers.
TRUSTe also provides its client ongoing and personal care to its customers, with flexible support afforded to clients of all sizes and across all sectors.
TRUSTe’s products and services can be acquired through direct consultation with the Company’s sales and marketing team. Ongoing management of user accounts and subscriptions can be accessed through the Company’s website at www.truste.com, as well as by using a variety of help pages and tutorials.
TRUSTe also allows users to access the TRUSTe Privacy app – available through iOS and Google Play as a free download – which allows customers to manage its advertising privacy needs.
TRUSTe provides a tailored service to its customers. Before purchasing products and services from the Company, potential clients must have a consultation with members of TRUSTe’s sales and marketing team.
Users of the TRUSTe Privacy Management Platform also receive ongoing care from the Company. User accounts can be accessed in a self-service form, and many help and tutorials are available on-hand via the Company’s website, including advice regarding privacy disputes.
TRUSTe provides privacy monitoring controls for customers with an online user base and privacy assessment automation products that enable users to the continues compliance of customers.
The Company also provides privacy consulting services and certifications and assessments, with compliant websites, applications and platforms being awarded a TRUSTe verification certificate that confirms it complies with all relevant privacy regulations.
TRUSTe has a number of industry partners comprising regulatory and compliance bodies, human rights non-profits and trade associations. The Company’s partners are listed on its website and include the Future of Privacy Forum, the Digital Advertising Alliance, the Centre for Democracy and Technology, the Internet Advertising Bureau and the National Cyber Security Alliance.
TRUSTe also partners with law firms Baker and Mckenzie, Alston and Bird, Cooley, and Davis Wright Tremaine in order to ensure that they remain compliant with all current privacy laws. To this end the Company also entered a partnership with contract management provider PactSafe in 2015.
TRUSTe’s key resources are its proprietary technology and software and its personnel. The Company’s privacy tools, upon which its credibility as a privacy compliance assessor are based, are the Company’s most important asset.
Searches of records held by the US Patent and Trademark Office, however, identified no patent applications registered in the Company’s name.
TRUSTe’s sales and marketing team, which is responsible for on-boarding new clients and offering support to existing customers, is a key component of the Company’s operations.
TRUSTe also relies on the reliable maintenance of its online platform and the infrastructure including server space, required to operate it.
TRUSTe incurs costs related to the maintenance and development of its technology platform and infrastructure and the retention of its personnel, notably its large sales and marketing team.
The Company also accrues fixed costs through the operation of its offices in San Francisco, California and London, England.
TRUSTe generates revenue through the sale of various products and services related to online privacy compliance. This includes monthly and annual subscriptions to the TRUSTE Data Privacy Management Platform, which includes a variety of privacy tools, as well one-off payments for assessments and certifications. Subscription services begin at around $1,000 per month, with Corporate and Enterprise memberships costing more.
TRUSTe also generates revenue through paid-for consultation services, including the running of privacy workshops of risk assessments.
info: Lori served as a director of TRUSTe from its inception in 1997 and continues to serve as Chairman Emeritus. Fena also holds several advisory roles within the technology space, including with social networking service Minds.com, graphic arts studio Trumbull Studios, payment solutions provider GPN and cloud computing company Steeplechase Networks. As a respected internet activist, Fena also speaks and writes regularly on the subject of data security and internet privacy. Prior to co-founding TRUSTe. Fena held a number of directorships and senior leadership roles at technology companies. This includes a spell as a director at Unisys (formerly Convergent Technologies), Vice President of Stream International (which acquired her company Fena and Bates) and director of Critical Path.
info: Chris has served as TRUSTe’s Chief Executive Officer since 2009. Prior to joining TRUSTe, Babel held several roles concerning online trust, most recently serving as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Verisign’s worldwide Authentication Services business from 1999. During his time with Verisign, Babel also managed the company’s SSL and Managed Security Services business. Before joining Verisign, Babel worked as an associate/analyst at Morgan Stanley from 1995 to 1999.
info: Tim has served as TRUSTe’s Chief Financial Officer since 2010. Before joining the Company, he served briefly as the Chief Financial Officer of TEECOM Design Group, a consulting, engineering and project management group, from 2008 to 2009. Prior to this, Sullivan was a long-serving employee at Morgan Stanley. Between 1996 and 2003, in his role as a Managing Director of Morgan Stanley’s Technology Group, he worked with a number of technology companies, including those operating within the security and privacy space. Sullivan’s earliest executive role was as Vice President at executive bank and securities trader Bear Stearns.
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