Privasee, Diamond Challenge 2019 Top 20 Team
Along with everyone else in the world, high schoolers Ryan Draper and Val Rotan watched the Cambridge Analytica scandal unfold for Mark Zuckerberg as one of the most revered CEOs in the world testified in front of Congress on data privacy and the consequences of violating such an agreement. The scary reality that many individuals often forget is that the Internet is full of invisible hackers and viruses that consistently steal information from us. Even a simple action such as clicking on a website can extract so much data from one’s personal database, not to mention the constant surveillance and tracking patterns that feed into their databases. Privasee was developed specifically to combat these insecurities, with its design as a web-browser extension that provides features such as: privacy grades to help assess how private your information is on a certain website, tracker blocking, in-site data protection, and ad-blocking. The team entered Diamond Challenge 2019 with their noteworthy concept, ultimately finishing in the top 20 placing teams.
For Privasee team member Ryan Draper, the Diamond Challenge provided a valuable opportunity to connect with friends, both new and old: “Diamond Challenge was an awesome experience for us to refine our pitch and spread our message of internet privacy. We also really enjoyed reuniting with fellow entrepreneurs from past competitions and meeting new entrepreneurs from around the world.” This international aspect definitely elevated the stakes for Privasee, as Ryan commented: “The Diamond Challenge certainly offered us the experience to take our pitch to the next level as we pitched both in the Bay Area and in Delaware on a more international level. From this experience, we learned how to effectively pitch and network with others.”
While Privasee team members certainly had the opportunity to develop valuable skills at the Diamond Challenge competition, they also have plenty of advice for future members. “Make your pitch a story. Adding an element of emotion to the pitch that carries a unified theme throughout will definitely help you stand out,” Ryan advises. For Privasee, it was the injustice of identity theft on the Internet, along with the relevant controversy surrounding Facebook’s customer leak that fueled their passion for web security.
Since last summer, Privasee has progressed from a prototype to a final product which was released on Chrome Web Store last November. The Privasee team plans to pivot in the future so each team member can pursue new and exciting entrepreneurial ventures. Ryan explains: “Diamond Challenge was an awesome experience, but as we all head to separate colleges next year, we plan to bring Privasee to a close.” However, the potential of Privasee continuing is not completely out of question. As Ryan said: “If someone is interested at one of our high schools we may pass along the project.” The opportunities for these young entrepreneurs are limitless. We wish the Privasee team good luck in their future endeavors and cannot wait to see what amazing feats they accomplish in the future!
No matter where our Diamond Challenge alumni go, we are constantly amazed by how they continue to make an impact on the world for the better.
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