Online privacy and information security: meet the startup MyPermissions

Today our interviewee is Olivier Amar, CEO and Co-Founder of the startup MyPermissions. They empower users to monitor and control the access to their personal information on mobile devices and online, monitoring all connected applications across social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Dropbox and more.

New issues related to information security and online privacy arise everyday and although many regulations related to the subject have been issued recently in the US and in Europe, the end user seems still out of the "big debate". Meanwhile, the startup MyPermissions entered the market with the mission of giving more control over the personal information to end users, also helping them to be more aware online privacy and information security matters.
 
Check out this very interesting interview:

Where did the idea for MyPermissions come from?

Olivier: MyPermissions was founded in 2012 and came out of the Lool Ventures incubation program. The problem identified was simple. That privacy today starts with one question. Who has access to your personal information. In todays world, people connect to websites using Facebook connect, Google, Twitter etc.. they also install applications that all request personal information that is very important to us. The problem is that after so many websites registered to and so many applications installed and uninstalled, people have lost track of who can access what information. Moreover, most of the time, they don't know they are giving consent to accessing the information in the first place. 

What do you most like about the information security sector?

Olivier: It's a world that's not being properly addressed. Something will have to change there and we are leading the way to regaining control of your personal information.

How do you get feedback from your clients? How do you know if the product is solving their needs?

Olivier: Apart from reading and replying to reviews in the different stores, all our products have easy to reach contact links. We listen closely. We also run lots of user testing before product launches to make sure that our intuitions are correct and that we're addressing the right problem.

What were the most difficult choices you had to do in the beginning of the startup? Why?

Olivier: The most difficult parts have to do with understanding what an MVP is. You need to launch the most basic product possible that will address the need to understand your users and see how they interact and respond. As a founder, you really want everything to be perfect and as complete as possible, but with a startup, early on, it's all about moving fast and breaking things until you get it right. It's counter intuitive to everything we've been taught in the education system, where it's all about getting 100%. In startups you have to build us with lots of iterations and releases.

Did you think about giving up at any time? If yes, why?

Olivier: There are moments in every startup where you ask yourself if the sacrifices (family, social life, financial security etc..) are worth it. It's tough, but Iv'e never been in a workplace where 3 years in, I am still dying to get to work and take on the day.

What do you most like in your daily routine?

Olivier: That there is no routine. Every day brings in new challenges and lessons.

What is the future of online privacy in your opinion?

Olivier: Something will have to give there when it comes to regulations. The EU and the USA will have to stop releasing guidelines and force the online and mobile industries to abide by strict regulations or face harsh penalties. We're already seeing a shift with the Safe Harbor regulations being thrown out which will force companies transferring data to apply for the right to do so with every European company individually.

How do you imagine yourself in 10 years?

Olivier: Wow. That would put me at 51. I can't think that far ;-)

***

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In this blog's right column you will find the most popular posts, as well as the archive of all published posts. If you miss a subject, write to me!

See you soon!

Luiza S. Rezende
Corporate Lawyer specialized in Startups

Olivier Amar

Building maps and strengthening communities: learn more about Mapme

Hello, everyone!

I interviewed Ben Lang, Co-Founder of Mapme, and he told me a bit about his startup. Mapme was considered by Business Insider and Inc one of the hottest Israeli Startups of the moment. Read the interview and feel free to comment below!

1- How would you describe Mapme? Where did the idea come from?

Ben: We empower anyone to build smart and beautiful maps for free and without any coding required. Came from Mapped in israel, people were asking to build similar maps but of all different types.

2- How do you get feedback from your users? How do you know if the product is solving their needs?

Ben: We have a Facebook group for our most passionate users (map builders). They leave feedback there. I share product news there. Its a great place to know what problems we're solving, and what we're missing yet.

3- What is the next step for Mapme? What do you want to achieve in the next months?

Ben: Were in the process of opening the platform for anyone to use. We want to make it incredibly easy and fast to set up a map. Our goal is to have thousands of maps built on our platform by end of year.

4- When should an entrepreneur look for investors / external investment? When an entrepreneur shouldn't look for investors / external investment?

Ben: At the latest point possible. The longer you wait the better. You want to be in a position that the investor is coming after you. That will get you a much better deal. If you're too early on, have no users, traction, product than best to wait.


5- What was the biggest challenge you have faced until today in your startup?
prioritizing is really difficult
its hard to know when the right time is to build something
should it be now, or later
knowing the right time is key for startups, since time is your most valuable resource.

6- For you what does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
Ben: Someone solving a problem for a group of people.

7- What are the advantages of being an entrepreneur in Israel? And the disadvantages?
Ben: Amazing community here, lots of development talent, Cheaper than Silicon Valley. Its far from the rest of the world. No local market here.


8- What do you most like in your daily routine?
Ben: I try to go the gym as often as possible, its a great way to disconnect and gain energy.

9- How do you imagine yourself in 10 years?
Ben: Hopefully building something cool :)

Ben also send a message to the Startup Blog Brazil readers:

"We have a few maps in Brazil and would love to have more. Anyone is welcome to sign up on Mapme.com to build maps!"

***

If you want to know when the next videos are released, sign up to my YouTube Channel. If you would like to receive the next Startup Blog Brazil posts, sign up here.

In this blog's right column you will find the most popular posts, as well as the archive of all published posts. If you miss a subject, write to me!

See you soon!

Luiza S. Rezende
Corporate Lawyer specialized in Startups

Mapme, Ben Lang
Mapme team

Is Content Curation the New "Must"? Plus: Interview with Arik Marmorstein on RefreshBox and Entrepreneurship


Hello, everyone,

Today we are going to talk about Content Curation. Is it the new must? Can we live without it or it would mean spending hours in a lifetime reading non-relevant materials from non-trusted sources?

We also have Arik Marmorstein as out interviewee talking about his startup RefreshBox. As he will explain better below, it's a content curation startup that helps people to be up to date with different types of interesting content with the help of "expert" curators that select the content according to their expertise area.

With the constant expansion of internet users and the incredible amount of people posting in a non-stop flow on multiple social networks, in the last years the "relevance" of the content is getting everyday more important. We are being flooded with links, images, articles, videos and we sometimes don't have any idea of the credibility of the source, the reliability of the content and the relevance of what is being absorbed.

In the last years many different tools and startups related to content curation have popped up. Startups offering the services of different experts to curate content for other companies, startups that help yourself curate content and share it on social media, startups that help you filter all the content that reaches you so that you only consume a highly selected material.

Side by side with content curation (although with a very different logic) there is content marketing: today with ad-blockers everywhere, people being more critical with too promotional ads (requiring a more contextual and engaging approach) and the most expensive ad units being held by the big players, content marketing is also getting more power in getting the consumer's attention. What is there in common between content curation and content marketing: it's all about authority, showing that you have knowledge of what you are talking about and that you can add value to the person that is consuming your content.

With the relative democratization brought by the internet, search engines and social media, it became easier to find, consume and produce content. However, as with every offer and demand rule, the relevant content is in percentage more scarce and it's harder to find the experts; the natural consequence is that the value of "expert information" is slowly rising. And that's when content curation tools find their space to grow.

What do you think about the subject? Is content curation the future of online content? Will this be the solution to deal with the massive flow of information with which we are faced everyday? Share your thoughts!

Read below the interview. First, an introduction:

Arik Marmorstein is the co founder of RefreshBox. In his first venture he founded Mimoona, which operates the "Israeli Indiegogo" as well as Mimoona.com which were backed by Dreamit Ventures NYC. Arik went to the law faculty in the Hebrew U and currently lives in Tel Aviv.

1- How would you describe RefreshBox? Where did the idea for RefreshBox come from?


Arik: RefreshBox is a side project that got a bit out of hand (: People can either subscribe to or create a 5-link-collection newsletter consisting their weekly professional best read (content curation). Among our curators there is a Nobel prize winner, people from Google, Google Ventures, Techstars, Harvard, MIT and more interesting people from all over the world (including Brazil).

A few years ago I was looking for a job and found a very cool newsletter in which an Israeli entrepreneur curated 5 cool jobs each week. Then I also found out about 8tracks.com, which enables people to create playlists and others to listen to them. By mixing these two I came out with RefreshBox.

We believe that people live on the "Matrix" when it comes to the content they don't consume online, we don't even know what we are missing out there. RefreshBox enables other people to become "Neo" in their domain expertise and send people awesome content they read during the week anyway, in the future they will be able to make money out of it. I can tell you I have never read so much good content in my life since I launched RB. The curation itself is super easy, 4 minutes per week.  

2- How do you get feedback from your clients? How do you know if the product is solving their needs?

Arik: Simply talk with them. I have a few users which were early adopters and I keep on talking to them as much as they have time. I also use Intercom to see retention and see how many active users do I have. I also track Open and click rate to see if the subscribers are active (and they are, we have great open and click rates, more than double the average). 

3- What was the biggest challenge you have faced until today in your startup?

Arik: It was and it's still is, prioritize. It's still a side project (although we wee on TechCrunch already) and the time is limited, You get a lot of feedback from users and there is always so much to do.

4- For you what does it mean to be an entrepreneur?

Arik: To be happy, then sad, than happy (: Seriously, I can't think of myself doing something else, it's an addiction. 

5- What are the advantages of being an entrepreneur in Israel? And the disadvantages?

Arik: Israel doesn't have any natural resources, we don't have any other choice than to innovate. It enables you the live in an awesome innovation hub, in which there are many entrepreneurs, and a lot of competition. That sharpens you. However, there is a lot of help from the community. The main disadvantage is that we are far from our natural market, which is usually the US. If you'll check, you'll see that Israeli companies are less consumers focused, it's harder to reach consumers from here (although you can fins examples like Waze). 

6- What do you most like in your daily routine?

Arik: I also own the "Israeli Kickstarter" so I meet a lot of cool people. With regards to RefreshBox, getting new users and reading what existing users are curating makes my day.

7- How do you imagine yourself in 10 years?

Arik: In a startup, whether I sold a company already or not (:

***


If you want to know when the next videos are released, sign up on my YouTube channel. If you would like to receive the next Startup Blog Brazil posts, sign up here.

In this blog's right column you will find the most popular posts, as well as the archive of all published posts. If you miss any subject, write to me!


See you soon!

Luiza S. Rezende
Corporate lawyer specialized in startups

Arik Marmorstein in picture taken by Yoni Malca

Bloqueadores de Anúncios, Empreender em Israel e o Futuro da Publicidade Online: Entrevista com Aron Goldstein

Olá a todos!

A entrevista de hoje é com o empreendedor Israelense (nascido no Brasil) Aron Goldstein*, co-fundador da startup RevDefender. Ele vai nos contar um pouco sobre a startup dele, os desafios que tem enfrentado e como é empreender em Israel.

A leitura da entrevista dele é super inspiradora principalmente para quem está começando o caminho como empreendedor e para quem tem interesse em publicidade online. Em paralelo, a questão dos bloqueadores de anúncios (ad-blockers) é super atual, por exemplo com a notícia recente sobre a Apple retirar bloqueadores de anúncios da Apple Store e lançar um "oficial" ou outras notícias falando sobre o conflito de interesses entre players da indústria da publicidade e os bloqueadores de anúncios. Como será o futuro dos publishers? Eles vão poder continuar contando com a receita de anúncios? Os usuários terão que pagar? Quais as alternativas eficazes para os anunciantes? Confira a entrevista e sinta-se à vontade para deixar seu comentário.

*Aron Goldstein é CMO & Co-Founder da RevDefender Ltd, tendo trabalhado por 19 anos com publicidade online. É especializado em Online Business Development, com negócios fechados que geraram alguns milhões de dólares ao mês. Seus empreendimentos anteriores incluem startups como IronSource, Interlogic, IncrediMail, entre outros.


Perfil da Startup
Nome: RevDefender LTD
Fundação: Maio de 2015, baseada em Tel Aviv - Israel
Clientes: trabalhamos diretamente com 40 sites e anunciantes
Time: 3 fundadores + 3 funcionários (in-house)




1- Como você descreveria a RevDefender?

Aron: A RevDefender criou uma solução tecnológica de monetização de adblock users, gerando de volta uma receita crucial a publishers geradores de conteúdo gratuito. Sendo um canal entre advertisers e publishers e assim aumentado em ate 35% receitas bloqueadas pelos distintos adblokcs.

2- De onde veio a ideia?



Aron: A ideia veio vendo a necessidade e as dificuldades que grandes e médios publishers vêm sofrendo principalmente no ultimo ano, por suas ads sendo bloqueadas pelos diversos ad ons, em nossa visão restam duas soluções:


a) Usuários terão que pagar para poder acessar conteúdo (o que acredito inviável);

b) Publishers e Advertisers terão que parar de usar ads agressivas como diversos popups/unders e etc, e criar ads targeteadas.

A RevDefender como estratégia e visão não roda nenhum tipo de propaganda agressiva, não abrindo portas para missleading/popups e diversos, usando somente banners targeteados e native ads.

3- O que você mais gosta no setor de publicidade online?

Aron: A criatividade e a capacidade de servir uma publicidade inteligente e targeteada, assim ajudando aos usuários a pesquisar e  achar uma variedade de produtos e ou soluções.

4- Como você obtém feedback de seus clientes?

Aron: O feedback mais importante que recebemos, é que os diversos partners após implementar a nossa solução não recebem queixas dos usuários, outra coisa muito interessante, que deve ser um case study, é que pelo fato de os usuários terem o adblock ativo e não esperarem por propagandas, uma vez que o user decide clicar na propaganda o engagement é muito mais forte e o CTR de conversão é muito mais alto, isso devido às ads targeteadas sem dúvida nenhuma.

5- Como você sabe se o produto está resolvendo as necessidades dos clientes?

Aron: A nossa solução tem um foco bastante claro, trazer de volta as receitas perdidas pelos diversos adblocks em sites de conteúdo, assim que fica muito fácil medir o sucesso, como diz o ditado "os número não mentem", juntado isso à satisfação do parceiro, pela simplicidade e ao mesmo tempo eficaz solução, fica fácil de entender que o produto esta trazendo excelentes resultados.

6- Qual foi o principal desafio que você enfrentou até hoje na sua startup?

Aron: Nós existimos há 7 meses, neste breve tempo mudamos várias vezes o modelo de negócios, estamos constantemente adaptando o produto às necessidades dos diversos parceiros, sem dúvida o core de uma startup são os diversos desafios, acredito que ainda teremos vários pela frente, mas como um camaleão vamos nos adaptando  e superando até chegar o mais próximo possível da perfeição.

7- Quais são as vantagens de ser um empreendedor em Israel? E as desvantagens?

Aron: Não e à toa que a porcentagem de empreendedores e startups em Israel é muito grande, sendo comparada ao Vale do silício, existem alguns fatores que fazem isso acontecer:

a) Ajuda governamental (ministério da ciência, diversas reduções de impostos etc) em Israel o governo entende a importância da tecnologia e  realmente investe em startups;

b) Alto nível de recursos humanos na area tecnológica;

c) Israel sendo um país novo e montado por imigração de Judeus do mundo tem um plus gigantesco em poder encontrar profissionais que falam diversos e distintos idiomas, assim ajudando muito na área de negócios;

d) Estando perto dos maiores polos online na europa como Berlin/Londres, entre outros, sinceramente fica difícil de encontrar alguma desvantagem.

8- O que você mais gosta na sua rotina diária?

Aron: Sem dúvida que sou um caçador e assim sendo o que mais gosto é do research (pesquisa), da procura de grandes parcerias, encontrar os lugares onde a nossa solução possa trazer o melhor ROI (retorno do investimento) tanto para nós quanto para o parceiro 

9- Qual é o futuro da publicidade online na sua opinião?

Aron: Nos últimos 10 ou mesmo 15 anos, a indústria online em conjunto com a tecnologia de TI deram passos gigantescos, mas mesmo assim acredito que ainda temos muito a descobrir pela frente, desenvolvendo novas soluções que de um lado permitirão aos players da indústria gerar boas e importantes receitas e de outro lado sem irritar os usuários. 

10- Como você se imagina em 10 anos?

Aron: Espero que em 10 anos eu continue fazendo o faço e gosto, mas ao mesmo tempo tenha mais tempo livre para a família e meus hobbies, que são velejar e jogar poker.

***

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Na coluna da direta deste blog você encontrará os posts mais populares, assim como o arquivo com todos os posts publicados. Se você sentiu falta de algum tema, escreva-me

Se você também gostaria de ser entrevistado(a), escreva-me contando um pouco sobre a sua startup.

Até a próxima!

Luiza S. Rezende
Advogada empresarial especializada em startups
about.me/luizasrezende

Aron Goldstein