Class of 2018 Insights: Privasee
Our team initially struggled to decide what problem we wanted to solve. We had two main ideas: a privacy web-browser extension and a food app. The privacy extension would tell users what data websites collect from them, and the food app would help people find the most popular items at restaurants. We were leaning toward the food app at first, but then two things happened. (1) We found out that Yelp released a feature that compiles the most popular items at restaurants. (2) We realized that the food app would not solve an actual problem, while the internet privacy extension most definitely would.
We ultimately decided to create Privasee, a web-browser extension that protects people’s data online. The more we looked into the problem of internet privacy, the more we realized the urgency of the issue. Like many, we were shocked by Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. In 2013, 87 million profiles were mined for data through a Facebook app, and this data was sold to Cambridge Analytica for use in 2016 presidential campaigns. Following the scandal, one out of every ten users deleted their accounts entirely. We also found that 75% of the most popular websites track people on a daily basis, according to a study by the University of Washington.
At Endevvr, we created a prototype and pitched Privasee to business professionals. Our extension blocks trackers, displays privacy grades for websites, and provides shortcuts to privacy settings. With Privasee, users can browse the internet with peace of mind and take action to further control their data.
Last fall, we focused on coding and refining Privasee. We were met with many roadblocks–from dysfunctional buttons to errors that crashed our entire product–but we eventually finished with a functional and user-friendly solution. In November, we released Privasee for anyone to download on the Chrome Web Store.
We also recently applied for the Diamond Challenge Pitch Competition and were selected as one of the startups to pitch in Danville, California this spring. The skills and resources we developed at Endevvr—such as our problem statement, market research, user-acquisition model—have turned out to be very useful in crafting our application to the Diamond Challenge and in perfecting our pitch. We are thankful for what we learned at Endevvr 2018 and look forward to where we take Privasee next.