Caden Launches as Zero-Party Data Platform, Leading the Shift to Consumer Control of Data With $3.4M in Pre-Seed Funding From Investors Including Jerry Yang & Barry Sternlicht

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Caden, a personal data advocacy startup, launches to lead the paradigm shift in consumer data and privacy. Caden’s platform empowers users to have complete control over their data and earn a profit by sharing certain data with trusted brands, while never relinquishing ownership. As a “zero-party” data platform, Caden aims to impact the market with its next-generation cloud infrastructure that inverses the current dynamics of how brands access and act on personal data from their customers. Caden has raised a $3.4 million pre-seed round backed by notable investors, including Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, Starwood Capital’s Barry Sternlicht, MediaLink’s Wenda Millard, and seven venture capital firms.

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The internet is undergoing a radical paradigm shift around personal data ownership and privacy. For decades, there has been systematic abuse of consumer data that has been the underpinning of multiple trillion-dollar companies. From privacy violations and data breaches to big tech’s newfound privacy focus, the future of personal data online is going to be consent-driven and value-adding. Most states in America have now passed or proposed privacy regulations, further adding to the upcoming multi-billion dollar personal data disruption.

Caden has created a suite of products to respond to this disruption, including VAULT, a fully encrypted, on-device “data wallet”, powered by a custom knowledge graph architecture, creating opportunities for unique data insights and artificial intelligence. They’re also announcing LINK, a two-way API that allows users to download their data from multiple brand sources, glean insights about themselves, let companies access select pieces of data (for instance, hotel requesting room preferences), and ultimately, be compensated in that exchange, without ever relinquishing ownership of that data.

For consumers, managing data in a central place allows choice and consent around which companies can access the data, which data they have access to, and what value exchange they desire in return—results in a fair, decentralized, and privacy-centered marketplace. Trusted companies, in turn, will now have access to an unprecedented level of timely, accurate, thorough, and most importantly, consent-based “zero-party” data across the network of brands a consumer interacts with. This data remains owned and controlled by the user throughout the exchange.

This issue is so pivotal to the future of online communication and transactions that it has attracted seasoned investors even at the pre-seed stage. Investors include Barry Sternlicht (Founder, Starwood Capital), Jerry Yang (Co-founder, Yahoo, Founder, AME Cloud Ventures), Don Callahan (former CTO of Citigroup, Chairman of Time Magazine), Wenda Harris Millard (founding executive team, DoubleClick, former CRO, Yahoo!, Vice Chairman, Medialink), Ben Buettell (Co-founder R7 Partners, Board Member of Fusion Acquisition Corp. II), Kyle Hendrick & Omar Darwazah (AAF Management), David Wieland (Motivate Ventures), Ed Oppedisano (1707 Capital) and Morgan Schwanke (Mana Ventures).

“Anyone who thinks about personal data and privacy can acknowledge the fact that we’re in the most disruptive step-change on the internet since the move to the cloud. Like then, slow-moving global incumbents are going to be made redundant, and a new trillion-dollar personal data industry is going to form,” says John Roa, CEO and founder. “Thankfully for all of us, with the right companies leading the charge, this is a positive change that will make the internet better for consumers and the brands they trust.”

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Caden is building its platform with and through consumer brand partners rather than ostracizing privacy-aware companies. The platform provides many tools for brands to improve their offerings and relationships with customers, creating a positive lift while maintaining regulatory compliance and strict privacy standards. Caden can help its partner brands with aggregated insights, personalization, recommendations, data cleansing, machine learning, inference, identity, portability, and other functions.

“There is going to be a ‘wild west’ period with personal data where we have the unique opportunity to invent and define a brand-new industry. These are some of the most fascinating and complex technical challenges this team of engineering veterans has ever pursued,” says CTO Howie Altman. “We are building a powerful platform that will handle a lot of heavy lifting, so every consumer brand doesn’t need to become a big data company. It complies with all current and pending privacy regulations while giving absolute control and transparency to the user. Nothing of its kind currently exists, and its timing is perfect with the unprecedented level of disruption that is occurring today.”

Caden is partnering with influential advocacy groups, academic institutions, government bodies, and thought-leaders in the world of privacy to create a system of ethics and internal governance.

Caden also has notable advisors contributing to the development of this platform, including Stéphane Hamel (global privacy and ethics thought-leader), Porter Braswell (Co-founder & CEO, Jopwell), Carla Hendra (CEO, Growth & Innovation, Ogilvy), and Tyler Pietz (EVP of Data, Media.Monks).

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