Canopy is a mobile app that aims to marry curation with privacy, collecting customers' data in an anonymized, non-reversible vector to base suggestions off of

Despite the popularity of apps like Spotify, which is largely powered by discovery via a recommendation engine, consumers are becoming increasingly aware that this curated content often comes at the expense of their data and privacy. A new startup called Canopy is attempting to give customers the best of both worlds by offering suggestions while maintaining their security.

Canopy was founded by Brian Whitman, who built Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist technology. The initial version of the app will suggest long-form articles and podcasts to users, asking them questions and seeing which of their suggestions listeners consume. Significantly,  Canopy looks at customers' content like music they've played, places they've explored and articles they've read to make a summary of their tastes as an anonymized vector that can't be reverse-engineered to identify the user in question. Only this unidentifiable summary is extracted from customers' phones, protecting their privacy.

Whitman, the founder and CEO of Canopy, says, “There hasn’t been a great solution to private discovery. We think the reason people haven’t been excited about privacy is that they haven’t seen the opportunities.” Canopy will begin a proof of concept study early next year, and hopes to expand its platform by licensing technology to other apps looking to guarantee user privacy.

Canopy


Lead image: listening to music stock photo from Thomas Andreas/Shutterstock

Despite the popularity of apps like Spotify, which is largely powered by discovery via a recommendation engine, consumers are becoming increasingly aware that this curated content often comes at the expense of their data and privacy. A new startup called Canopy is attempting to give customers the best of both worlds by offering suggestions while maintaining their security.

Canopy was founded by Brian Whitman, who built Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist technology. The initial version of the app will suggest long-form articles and podcasts to users, asking them questions and seeing which of their suggestions listeners consume. Significantly,  Canopy looks at customers' content like music they've played, places they've explored and articles they've read to make a summary of their tastes as an anonymized vector that can't be reverse-engineered to identify the user in question. Only this unidentifiable summary is extracted from customers' phones, protecting their privacy.