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How Ex-Apple Engineer is rewriting the rules for Personal Data Management

"We believe in a future where privacy is not seen as an extra legal burden for businesses or an already-lost cause for consumers, but rather a benefit to both sides."

Published: Sep 23, 2020 03:21:35 PM IST
Updated: Sep 29, 2020 04:34:07 PM IST

How Ex-Apple Engineer is rewriting the rules for Personal Data Management
When Jay Pavagadhi moved to another place, he found himself facing a time-consuming task which seemed trivial yet exhausting: He had to contact tens of different organizations such as real estate companies, car rental businesses, hospitals, doctors, banks, and tax authorities to update his address details.

“While the first one or two data-entry tasks may be a fun experience, you start to feel quite annoyed as this repetitive process consumes all the little energy that you are left with after a busy day,” Jay says.

This inconvenience of manual data entry was what led Jay to look for more effective solutions for people to enter their details. His starting point was simple: Instead of people visiting different websites and doing the laborious work of data entry repetitively, they should have a platform to send their details from a single location without much effort and move on with their daily lives.

This is how OLAK was founded in 2018.

A Painful Start

OLAK provides individuals a single location to upload, share, and update their details. This platform is called Personal Data Stores.

As easy as building such a platform sounds, Jay and his team of engineers had their fair share of the difficulties of two-sided markets. “In two-sided markets, you need to get both the enterprise and the consumer to use your product so that both sides can benefit from the product. Think of the Amazon marketplace, for instance. If there is not enough number of buyers and sellers on the platform, the other side cannot derive any benefits.” Jay explains.

The Personal Data Stores Market, a two-sided market, is hard to break into because convincing enterprises to adopt the Personal Data Store solution is hard.

Considering these challenges, Jay decided to start with users and get them on board first to break into the market.

Providing a browser-autofill function was the solution Jay and his team came up with: By integrating the OLAK autofill function into web browsers like Chrome, OLAK started to see an upward trend in its user base. With OLAK autofill solution, individuals are saved from the trouble of entering repetitive details and can complete form submissions and applications with just one-click.

This is how OLAK overcame the challenge of establishing a user base for its product.

While the practical benefits of Personal Data Stores were the driving force for OLAK in the beginning, Jay also understood the growing concern over data privacy.

“Privacy concerns derive from lack of control. To give people control over their data, we created the OLAK Personal Data Store in a way that our users can share their data with whoever they want. Our users’ data is protected with the end-to-end encryption key and no one, not even us as OLAK can access the content of their data without permission.” Jay adds.

Unlike the majority of cloud service providers who store user data in unencrypted form or have an access to the decryption key to see the content of personal information, OLAK does not have any way to unlock the content of data.

Thanks to the convenience of filling out personal details with one-click and its privacy-enhancing features, OLAK Personal Data Store started to grow its user base, reaching to 2000 users recently. 

Understanding The Market

If Personal Data Stores is to become a big thing, providing tangible benefits to businesses is a must. “Why would a business adopt the Personal Data Store instead of going with the traditional method of collecting data,” Jay says. 

“If we cannot convince businesses to integrate with the solution, people cannot fully reap the benefits either.” He continues.

OLAK provides businesses three distinct benefits:

  1. Thanks to security-enhancing features and restoring control to individuals, OLAK Personal Data Store makes it easier to comply with privacy law obligations.
  2. OLAK Personal Data Store is a great solution to reduce wasted resources due to inaccurate personal information such as addresses and phone numbers. As per research from Experian Data Quality, inaccurate personal information costs businesses 12% revenue on average. 
  3. OLAK one-click solution will lead to higher conversion rates for businesses. The easier it is to complete an application or a purchase, the more likely it is for potential customers to convert to sales. Amazon's one-click was a prime example of this phenomenon.

Challenges And Opportunities Ahead

Jay acknowledges that Personal Data Stores are still an immature market. However, he realizes the potential rewards for early-movers because of the growing demand on the market: Individuals demand more privacy and they expect convenience while managing their data.

“Understanding the two-sided character of the market and the interests of businesses is essential for growth. That is why we are launching our enterprise integration tool solution so that enterprises can also benefit from this new platform.” Jay explains. 

With its 20% monthly growth rate, OLAK keeps working towards its goal of becoming a market leader for Personal Data Stores.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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