KERTOS – Data privacy and compliance can actually be simple

What happens when a frustrated lawyer meets two experienced IT founders? In the case of Kertos, a true data privacy success story.

The first fully automated data privacy platform

What happens when a frustrated lawyer meets two experienced IT founders? In the case of Kertos, a true data privacy success story.

We met Johannes Hussak, one of the three founders of Kertos, at the Kertos office in the middle of Munich. A central but quiet backyard location, lots of plants in the workspaces and lots of pictures of fun team moments, and of course desks with happy team members everywhere. There is an immediate sense of well-being here. To tell you the story of Kertos, we wanted to know: Where did the idea come from, how was the company founded and what is Johannes most proud of?

The problem: Data privacy and compliance is an operational nightmare

Personal data is everywhere, IT landscapes are complex and data protection processes are improvised. Organisations face enormous data protection challenges, yet teams lack the tools to address them. No wonder it takes dozens of people and countless hours to answer such simple questions like: “Could you please delete my data?”.

The solution: A no-code SaaS start-up

Kertos connects an organisation’s entire IT infrastructure to manage personal data and fully automate data protection processes as well as compliance issues. By

  • Executing workflows,
  • processing requests from data subjects,
  • in-app deletion
  • and creating a self-managing processing directory,

Kertos makes manual GDPR compliance a thing of the past. This can save organisations time, money and stress – allowing them to focus on their core business.

“With Kertos, we are opening up a new category of privacy tools. So we are not documenting things, we are not consulting, but we are really automating the whole process.”

Johannes Hussak, founder of KERTOS
Johannes Hussak
Co-Founder Kertos

How frustration turned into a successful start-up.

So let’s take a look at how this business model came about. Because as well as a problem to solve, you also need people to take it on. Here’s how Kertos came about:

Kilian has a doctorate in law and has been responsible for operational data protection in various scale-ups (e.g. Home24, TIER Mobility, Gorillas) for almost 10 years. He was the main sufferer of manual, improvised processes and simultaneously increasing regulatory requirements in the area of data protection.

Alex and Johannes have a long history of working together in research and development. They have developed dozens of products for large and medium-sized companies. Before Kertos, Johannes and Alex were running a software development agency with a focus on data-driven innovation.

Through mutual friends, the three met in 2021. Kilian’s frustration was big, Johannes’ and Alex’s curiosity to find a solution to the problem of data privacy in the enterprise was even bigger. It quickly became clear that the combination of strong domain (Kilian), product (Johannes) and technical (Alex) expertise was an ideal mix for this big challenge.

Three months later, Johannes and Alex asked their existing team at the agency (7-8 people) if they would like to join Kertos. Everyone was up for it. The agency closed, Kertos was born and everyone is still with the start-up today. There are now more than 20 people working on everything from technology to HR and marketing to ensure satisfied customers and a successful business.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Since its inception in early 2022, the Kertos team has managed to raise €1 million in its first seed round and a further €4 million 10 months later. They currently manage hundreds of thousands of data points to make enterprise data protection processes compliant and scalable.

Johannes is incredibly proud of his team and what they have achieved. It really shows when he talks about his personal highlight, the daily team lunch meetings, with a big smile on his face.

Beyond these great accomplishments and the great team, what really stuck in Johannes’ mind was a quote from one of the investors who had spoken to Kertos’ clients during the due diligence process. He had asked Johannes if he was aware that they did not have customers, but rather fans. You could hardly ask for more praise.

Want to know more about the founding story? 

In our upcoming interview with Johannes you can learn more about Kertos and the stumbling blocks on the way to starting a business. So stay tuned.

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