Editor’s note: Startland News selected 10 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2021’s companies. Click here to view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch — presented by sponsors Husch Blackwell and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Because of stringent regulatory, competitive and consumer privacy restrictions, an abundance of stored data has never been tapped into and utilized — until now, said Riddhiman Das.
Elevator pitch: TripleBlind technology is the state-of-the-art solution in privacy. TripleBlind’s suite of tools enables companies to safely provide and consume extremely sensitive data and algorithms in encrypted space, in the most private and secure setting that has existed.
• Founders: Riddhiman Das, Greg Storm
• Founding year: 2019
• Amount raised to date: Undisclosed
• Noteworthy investors: Flyover Capital, KCRise Fund, Accenture Ventures, Purpose Built Ventures, Practical Venture Capital
• Programs completed: Digital Sandbox KC
• Current employee count: 16
“TripleBlind does privacy as a service, meaning it allows for those sensitive datasets to be used, without violating their privacy,” stated Das, who co-founded TripleBlind with Greg Storm in 2019.
The duo previously worked together at one of Kansas City’s most well-known startups, EyeVerify (later rebranded as Zoloz) — which created the “EyePrint ID” that is able to identify a person by the red blood vessel patterns in their eye.
“That data can uniquely identify anyone in the world,” Das noted.
The startup sold to Ant Financial for more than $100 million in 2016. Das was leading corporate venture capital efforts for Ant while Greg was working as the director of Research at Zoloz when the two discovered a common concern.
“We faced an enormous challenge, after what seemed like a successful merger, in accessing data that was locked behind privacy concerns,” Das shared. “[Storm and I] shared these pain points of needing to refine our AI, and yet not being able to access any data.”
Three years after Zoloz’s exit to Ant, the duo pursued a solution to their problem, founding TripleBlind.
But how is TripleBlind able to responsibly access sensitive data? Through encrypting — never decrypting — data.
“We will move the world from ‘don’t be evil’ to ‘can’t be evil,’ by enabling everyone to freely collaborate around their most sensitive data and algorithms without compromising their privacy,” Das shared on the startup’s website. “Together we will create a new paradigm of compounded value.”
Similar to numerous other startups, the trajectory for TripleBlind changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Das said — noting that the team built the world’s first privacy-preserving, contract tracing application to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
“The White House endorsed us, along with the [World Health Organization] and the [Center for Disease Control and Prevention],” Das said in regard to their Private Kit: Safe Pathways application. “We ended up donating that IP and effort to the public domain where it continues to be an open source foundation.”
Click here to read more about TripleBlind’s COVID-tracking application.
“We became the youngest-ever company to receive an investment by Accenture,” Das noted. “They are a very strategic partner for us, because not only are they a customer and investor, but they’re also a sales channel — connecting us to companies that have real-world pain points [with accessing data.]
“With Mayo, I think that brings a very high level of confidence in TripleBlind because we are the world’s first and only HIPAA-certified privacy platform,” he continued — explaining that by eliminating decryption, TripleBlind is able to access data without the risk of re-identification and with no raw data leaving the healthcare facility firewall.
After a year of leaps and strides, TripleBlind plans to use their momentum to continually scale in 2021, Das stated.
“It’s possible to build a global company out of Kansas City; we’ve done it once,” Das said, referring to Zoloz. “Hopefully, this is another one of those stories.”
The Kansas City Startups Watch in 2021 list is made possible by presenting sponsors Husch Blackwell, a value-driven law firm with offices in Kansas City, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, though independently produced by Startland News.
Startups to Watch is now in its sixth year, thanks to ongoing support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.