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Rownd's Holiday letter to our Customers, Stakeholders, and Investors

Hey Rownd Supporter,

Henry David Thoreau once said,

"When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before." 

Over the past year, we have been unlearning a lot about what we know about how the internet works.  Unlearning is hard because we have to rethink recognized business model and patterns, we have to unlearn the very technology upon which apps are built, and we have to unlearn even the tech language that we speak.    But in unlearning, we can find new truths, new opportunities, and see the world through a new lens. We have been learning anew how to build a better world through true individual data ownership and enabling every website and app developer that wants to be a part of this new world to join us.

By unlearning the business model of "big data", we open the door to even a more exciting world.  A world where everyone has individual data ownership, security, and privacy also creates entirely new industries, new markets, and new platforms.  Take a few minutes to see what we learned in 2019. 


What we learned in 2019:

1. The technology stack is flawed.  The very foundation of apps and websites are built without regard to personal data ownership.  Everything from how data is encrypted to how to is stored is made to extract as much value as possible from personal data.  In 2019, we at Rownd put together an ambitious plan to create a new, data-ownership central stack, allowing apps and websites to instantly become data-centric.  The first iteration of our new stack is done and we are working tirelessly to add an API layer to it so others can try it out.  I am incredibly proud of my CTO and co-founder, Matt for really tackling the problem from the bottom up by designing a new platform that throws away the current stack for something new.  


2. Data laws are a pain point.  With the plethora of data privacy laws rolling out across the US and the world, keeping track of the requirements and being "on-call" to answer "delete my data requests" impacts small and medium businesses more than the big guys.  We are building a SaaS platform that levels the playing field and makes it easy for apps to take care of their customers.  Keep an eye out in 2020 for the first MVP of the platform. 


3. Change is hard.  The business model of "big data' is taught in b-schools, it has made many many people and has made many people very rich by starting "big data plays" in diverse industries, but, at its heart, it is flawed.  We learned that the conversation has to start at the underlying assumption of who owns one's personal information and data.  We hope that the arch of history will point towards the individual, but for those in the data business now, this reality can be scary.  That is why we are building tools to allow for this transition to take place.  We started 2019 with a view that we would START with the individual, but we are ending 2019 by providing tooling and a platform for the organization.  Remember, before the 4-minute mile was broken, no one thought it was possible, but within a year of the first runner breaking that mark, a half dozen other runners accomplished the feat.  Why?  Because the human body and mind are constricted by artificial boundaries. We at Rownd want to make it stupid easy to add data ownership.  As that boundary disappears, we will see a great shift and race as others bring data ownership to the market.   

Check out our latest blog end of year blog articles: 

Unlearning is hard, but there has been a lot of progress in 2019 and we believe 2020 will be a tipping point.


With over 8 billion accounts breached in 2019, this year will go down as the worst year for personal information being hacked.  Check out our blog about it!


Over 150 countries have or will have data privacy laws in 2020.  This is going to cause a lot of confusion for small and medium businesses.  See how Rownd is ready to help!


Data Ownership and privacy is gaining in momentum in literature, politics, and pop-culture.  Check it out here


I want to send my most heartfelt thank you to everyone out there that believed in us in 2019, especially those that invested in us* and our first beta customers!  I hope you all have a very Happy Holidays and look forward to an action-packed 2020!  

Rob Thelen

CEO, Rownd

P.S. Our mission is simple: We believe everyone deserves individual data ownership, privacy, and security.  

P.P.S. Our pre-seed Rownd is over-subscribed, but stay tuned, we are starting our Seed Rownd raise in 2020!

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