Two Spotify alumni involved in the creation of Discovery Weekly, have raised a $4.5 million seed round from Matrix to release an app that offers music, film and other recommendations based on user preferences, but without sharing data with Spotify, Netflix, Facebook or anyone else.
The Brooklyn based startup Canopy's app uses on-device machine learning to understand what each user likes, so that it can offer recommendations. All personal data stays on their phone. Canopy doesn’t see personal information or track behavior":
"We don’t know your activity or your history - in fact, there’s not even a sign-up. No login required."
“There hasn’t been a great solution to private discovery. We think the reason people haven’t been excited about privacy is that they haven’t seen the opportunities,” says Canopy founder and CEO Brian Whitman told Techcrunch. Whitman helped build and launch Spotify's popular Discover Weekly.
"I’ve been doing music recommendation stuff since 2000,” Whitman continued. He left Spotify in 2015, concerned about “how much power we had put in algorithmic decision making and personalization. All your information goes to their servers. As recent Facebook debacles show, "All this data is now being used against people. You’re getting bad recommendations, bad ads, and people are being radicalized.”
"We are totally changing the value exchange of the internet,” added Annika Goldman, Canopy’s head of product strategy and former Spotidyu director of Music Publishing.