Expression of Interest

 Openly – People Powered Privacy

Super simple privacy compliance solutions for Australian Businesses.

  • Type: Retail

Openly is a privacy-centric reg-tech platform that simplifies privacy compliance requirements for Australian Businesses through the creation of market-leading tools.


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    What is Openly

    Frustrated by the constant stream of negative privacy news and inspired by the successful implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, Openly’s founders set out to improve the standard of privacy here in Australia.

    With further investigation, and after speaking with both big and small business owners, it became clear that the privacy problem in Australia was double-sided. Privacy laws did not adequately protect consumers from privacy risks, and businesses of all sizes struggled to comply with the highly interpretational principles based approach of the Australian Privacy Act.

    With the aim of solving both of these problems, Openly was born.

    Based in Adelaide, Openly is a privacy-centric reg-tech platform that serves to simplify the onerous legal burden of privacy compliance for Australian businesses while strengthening privacy protections for consumers.

    Openly generates sticky and recurring B2B revenue through two streams.

    Stream One

    Through its proprietary platform, Openly For Business, Openly offers a module based privacy program that uses plain-language alongside easy to use tools to simplify privacy compliance for business owners. Upon completion, business owners have a stronger understanding of privacy laws and their obligations. Using a freemium model with a strong free to paid conversion rate, Openly For Business starts at $49 per month.

    Openly currently has 150+ registered users of Openly For Business.

    Initially, Openly is targeting one of the gaping holes in Australia’s privacy regime, the approximately 400,000 small to medium-sized businesses that are currently exempt from the Australian Privacy Act.

    Stream Two

    In the recent Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey, 74% of respondents agreed that privacy certification makes a business more trustworthy.

    Openly has developed a voluntary but legally binding Privacy Code that powers Australia’s first independent privacy certification offering. Once registered by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), the Privacy Code will become a legislative instrument under the Australian Privacy Act. There are only three other Privacy Codes in existence, none of these are economy-wide or privately run. Openly is currently completing a public consultation relating to this Privacy Code.

    Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Openly has developed a privacy certification program that automates the legwork of certifying a business. Pricing scales from $5,000 per year up to $30,000 per year dependent on business size and number of employees.

    Openly is currently completing 2 privacy certification intakes, one of which includes US-based password manager, 1Password.

    "The Openly platform is an excellent example of letting private players innovate on top of government regulatory systems."

    Tom Burton, Australian Financial Review, 22 April 2021

    Investment Highlights

    1. An Industry Awaiting Disruption

      Privacy in Australia is broken. While other markets around the world have introduced new privacy regulations that offer strong consumer protections, Australia has only just commissioned a review of the 1988 Privacy Act. Further, there is limited competition and low levels of new technology development related to privacy. The consumer market is stirring, and consumer expectations on privacy have changed significantly over the past 24 months.

    2. Launched, Loaded and Ready

      Openly has launched both the consumer and business products to market following an extensive beta testing program with several large enterprises. With its first two business contracts secured and initial revenue generation, 150+ subscribers to Openly For Business, plus more than 2,200 consumers using Openly’s free tools each month, this is a business ready for growth.

    3. Led By Automation

      Openly has invested significant capital into artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the privacy certification application process. This innovation follows core banking loan assessment models and creates a low-touch system that is capable of managing a high volume of applications.

    4. Amazon Web Services Collaboration

      Openly is a part of the AWS partner network, and the AWS activate program which offers additional support and funding opportunities through Amazon. Openly has received financial support from Amazon in the form of account credits which have assisted with technology development at no cost. Openly is also the only privacy certification program in the world selling B2B on Amazon Marketplace.

    The Problem

    Online trust in Australia is low, and it is getting lower. With the introduction of the GDPR, the CCPA and other global privacy regulatory changes, Australian community attitudes to privacy are changing, and the message is clear.

    • 88% have chosen not to deal with an organisation due to privacy concerns.
    • 87% want more control and choice when it comes to privacy.
    • 74% agree privacy certification would make a business more trustworthy.
    • 62% aged 18-34 are not aware of the Privacy Commissioner.
    • 43% aged 18-34 have never heard of the Privacy Act.

     Australian businesses are under pressure too. Privacy is a fast changing landscape, and privacy issues are causing businesses significant financial concern. In 2020 there was 1,051 data breaches reported to the OAIC at an average cost of $3.35m per data breach. That’s more than $3.52b spent on containment, remediation, legal and technical responses to data breach events in Australia in just one year!

    The Openly Solution

    Privacy is a complex problem, and Openly has identified three key areas of focus that solve the core concerns for both businesses and consumers.

    Openly For Business

    Openly’s proprietary privacy compliance platform, Openly For Business, improves digital literacy while developing the privacy awareness of business owners. This platform serves to improve the standard of privacy within a business, after which Openly on-sells the prospect of privacy certification.

    Privacy Certification

    Openly has developed Australia’s first independent privacy certification program. With the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, this program operates efficiently. Built on the foundations of transparency, trust and ethics, businesses are lining up to demonstrate their commitment to privacy.

    Consumer support services

    Openly is kicking off a huge effort to support consumers better. By developing new tools, better privacy resources and programs that promote greater transparency, Openly is truly consumer first. By generating greater trust with consumers, Openly aims to become the leader of privacy in Australia.

    Openly Advisory Board

    Openly has appointed an experienced Advisory Board who are actively providing guidance and support relating to business growth, government relations and consumer advocacy.

    The appointees include:

    Marion Hemphill – Chief Privacy Officer at Australian Red Cross Lifeblood

    Johan Muller – Group Privacy Officer at an ASX Top 50 Company

    Lisa Schoenstein – GM Privacy and Consumer Trust at WooliesX

    Umesh Ratnagobal – Government Relations at a Multi-National Energy Company

    Penny Wong – Director at Radmis Advisory

    Ajith Ratnarajah – Managing Partner at Open2Insight

    The Target Audience

    Openly is targeting the approximately 400,000 small to medium-sized businesses that are currently exempt from the national Privacy Act. These are firms with annual revenues of less than $3 million and include a vast swath of businesses such as real estate agents, suburban accountants and lawyers, gymnasiums and beauty providers, not to mention main street and online retailers which daily collect vast amounts of personal information.

    Larger businesses are the initial target of privacy certification, offering the opportunity to demonstrate advanced privacy compliance to investors, insurers, customers and auditors.

    Growth Strategy

    Openly is working hard to increase uptake of its platforms rapidly. To do this, Openly has implemented several strategies to drive growth.

    • Scale is king, and Openly is building partnerships with government, education, insurance and trusted third-party advisors to encourage growth among key business sectors.
    • Competitor products are primarily based in the US and EU, so Openly is accelerating the development of market specific tools that solve Australian problems.
    • Being based in Australia is a competitive advantage. With Australian privacy legislation currently in review, Openly is staying nimble and is well positioned to respond rapidly to any legislative amendments.
    • By driving consumer education, Openly is seeking to become the authoritative voice of privacy in Australia by delivering advice, tools and support to consumers. While early stage planning is underway, non-revenue generating consumer activity will sit secondary to B2B activities.

    Why Equity Crowdfunding?

    Everything that Openly does centres around the concept of People Powered Privacy. From public consultations and open forums to live webinars and product roadmaps, Openly is driven by the needs of the consumers and businesses it serves.

    Openly believes that equity crowdfunding aligns with the principles of People Powered Privacy and is seeking investors who believe in its products, its growth strategy, and the importance of privacy innovation in Australia.

    Openly will use the funds raised through this offer to further develop their technological capabilities, employ additional staff to manage an increasing workload, and formally launch a consumer campaign to drive awareness of Openly’s services.