Imagine a bright sunny day; you ask Alexa about the weather and set out for the beach. En route, you enter your destination into your vehicle or phone, stop at a gas station to fuel your vehicle, purchase a coffee using an online payment system, and upload and tag pictures of yourself and the destination on social media platforms. You may think you are going about your normal day, but your day has already been meticulously documented, sometimes without your knowledge or consent! Now imagine this happening throughout the day and with not just you. There would be copious amounts of data that can be sold to data brokers. And largely, we have been convincing ourselves that the convenience outweighs the cost to our privacy. But now, the ubiquitousness of digital surveillance is causing an uproar amongst citizens who are demanding answers as to how companies treat their data.
Moreover, government bodies are accelerating the ratification of regulations in response to data breaches and abuses that are occurring at an ever increasing rate. Regulatory backlash is just one cost of abusing customer data. Even more significant costs are the resulting reputational damage, direct costs to the business to clean up the data breaches, and executive job losses all the way up to the CEO. Bringing about a consumer-centric paradigm shift in information sharing and data privacy is ODE Holdings, established in 2019. The company was built from the ground up to create a more balanced consumer data economy where consumers, entrepreneurs, and enterprises possess the ability to create, protect and liberate consumer data based on a core set of ethical and technical principles.
This inception journey began for Sashi Edupuganti, Founder & CEO at ODE Holdings, when his youngest child, then 8 years old, in 2019, wanted to become a social media influencer and star. As a parent, he felt a sense of duty to support his children’s dreams while simultaneously protecting them from the perils of social media. As he was exploring the risk and dangers of the digital landscape, he started to develop a hypothesis about how to create a world where we all could trust our digital footprints on the web.
The Commencement of the Startup
In his first step in developing his hypothesis on how to solve for data privacy, Sashi interviewed key stakeholders across various industry verticals like financial services, healthcare, and smartphone manufacturers around the world. This helped him understand the data market opportunities, develop a hypothesis for solving data violations and connected the instability that breaches and abuses create which make it hard to attract and retain talented employees and cause customers to lose trust in the organizations who hold their data.
“So from the idea of protecting my child while online, I discovered global feedback from CEOs across several industries that protecting consumer data is no longer a nice-to-have option but a critical success factor for company growth and success,” reveals Sashi. His findings demonstrated that trusted companies are more likely to amalgamate more personal data that can be leveraged to enhance their services, thus surpassing their competitors. Additionally, trusted companies are more readily forgiven when things go wrong.
It was then that ODE Holdings was born. The company was founded with the vision to create a new ‘Future of Consumer Data,’ creating a balanced and ethical data ecosystem. ODE uses state-of-the-art and emerging technologies to solve problems that widely impact consumers and corporations. While developed nations will benefit tremendously, the company expects that developing nations will reap the rewards of being able to monetize their data and create economic balance as they have not yet experienced the impact of the potential threat. “Not only are we helping enterprises grow, we are creating a micro-economy for a large portion of the world; the ability to get meaningful dollars into their pockets makes a big difference in their lives. This, in addition to addressing the fundamental data privacy and compliance exposure for the stakeholders,” elucidates Sashi.
Harnessing the Power of Technology
Sashi tells us how ODE has surpassed most of the existing and new market players with its blockchain and AI-powered integrated platform, Web 3.0. ODE is one of the only players in the market with the mission to disrupt the world of data and to create a two-sided marketplace where enterprises and consumers mutually benefit from data protection, organic compliance, and a shared monetization strategy. “With the advent of Web 3.0 and distributed ledger technologies, ODE is well-positioned to become the premier vendor in data privacy protection,” opines Sashi.
Essential Focus on Maintaining Data Privacy
The platform was designed and developed with the intention of exceeding the standards of security, governance, adaptability, and agility for clients worldwide. “We do this by building a balanced data ecosystem where consumers, entrepreneurs, and enterprises can create, protect, and access consumer data based on a core set of ethical and technical principles. We enable enterprises to build trust with their digital consumers by providing organic privacy capabilities, usage by consent and context, organic regulatory compliance, and shared monetization,” explains Sashi.
All in all, the end-to-end solution caters to three primary stakeholders: consumers, enterprises, and governments. Consumers face mounting privacy concerns and, despite being the actual owners of the data, cannot monetize the consumption of that data by organizations. In conjunction with this, enterprises encounter increasing regulatory and compliance challenges due to the mammoth-sized and often unused data in their system. Much of the data is underutilized and resides in stagnant reservoirs, which present significant exposure risks to the enterprise in the event of data compromise. Furthermore, government bodies are met with rising pressure to ensure that policies are enacted promoting ethical data responsibility and fostering an environment conducive to commerce. ODE solves these problems by individually catering to the needs of each stakeholder through its trusted data platform.
Building Strong Partnerships for a Better Tomorrow
ODE has forged deep relationships with prominent, well-known brands worldwide, making moves in the Telecomm, Financial, and Healthcare industries in a short period. Sashi proclaims, “To accelerate our journey, we have made acquisitions, including the IP and clients of Datacoup, a data marketplace pioneer with great brand value and affinity. We have filed global patents to protect our intellectual property. We have signed multiple partnership deals with leading value-added resellers in South Africa, Italy and France, North America, and other countries in Europe.”
To further strengthen its market positioning and foster a better audience reach, ODE is in partnership with Macrocomm. This partnership allows ODE to leverage the sales and implementation resources while providing Macrocomm with a robust solution to critical data privacy issues.
Macrocomm is an established South African empowered technology company that has built and implemented credible solutions to help organizations navigate the changing business environment. Macrocomm, with its partner ecosystem, offers cutting-edge digital technology solutions concentrated around IoT, Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning. They deploy innovative solutions to large corporations and public sector organizations within South Africa and the rest of the African continent. “The ability to place control of data back into the rightful owners’ hands is the main reason that Macrocomm has selected ODE and will bundle the app into their offering to their large enterprise customers,” informs Sashi.
Another exciting venture by ODE is the seamless collaboration of its Consumer Data Ecosystem with ThreeFold’s ultra-secure, sovereign, scalable, and decentralized infrastructure platform. ThreeFold.io brings a genuinely decentralized compute and storage network that ensures the privacy and sovereignty of customer data, a quantum-safe file system, scalability, cost efficiency, and ultimately a digital infrastructure that is far more sustainable for our planet. “The collaboration between ODE and ThreeFold is a tremendous win for enterprises and consumers that are wrestling to find a balance between data privacy, compliance, and business growth to build trust. Our joint offering creates a decentralized data ecosystem that enables enterprises to become trusted partners to their digital consumers. The new world where privacy is by design, usage is by consent, and value realization is unlimited and mutual is closer than you think,” says Sashi.
It is the People that Make the Company
2021 brought the release of the first version of the product with mobile functionality, further maintaining market relevancy. From the end of 2021 into 2022, the company has continued its expansion into India and anticipates building a new facility which will be completed in 2023. The company is also witnessing a team expansion to meet the growing product demands.
Sashi sought out top-quality leaders who share his values and drive for transforming the world of consumer data. And that is what he believes is a necessary ingredient for the company’s success that it commands today. Sashi himself has shown his mettle, having been brought up by his family coming from massive wealth to losing it all. Over the next decade, he learned the power of persistence, believed in his abilities, and gained the strength of working in unity with people on the same journey who shared common goals and values.
Sashi sought to bring people together who complemented and augmented his own capabilities. He turned to people he had worked closely with at places like Bridgwater Associates, HBO, and NBC-Universal for strong operational and execution focused people such as Nic Boaknin the COO, Brij Mathur, the Chief product officer, Peter Rodseth, head of sales, Gina Lepore, head of strategy and corporate development and Divya Bahl Director of Asia operations. Sashi brings a combination of entrepreneurship, engineering, SME domain knowledge and market understanding. The team was highly functional and productive out of the gate as they had shared decade long experiences and had built tremendous team trust and cohesion.
Sashi believes, “It doesn’t matter what happens to you; it only matters how you respond to what happens in a healthy manner and not compromise on the few important people and things.” He lists out what his day comprises, “I start my day early, typically at 5:21. Early mornings are my most precious time that I use to meditate, exercise, and get my protein shake in. This is followed by spending time with the kid before school and then taking off to meetings between 9 AM to noon. I then take a break and respond to emails, calls, prospects, and so on. Evenings are spent with the family over dinner, followed by story time, and then back to work again around 8:30 PM till about 1AM. This process is repeated daily.”
Taking Advantage of the Significant Potential the Market has to Offer
While ODE has made its mark in the market, he believes there is a long way to go and exciting opportunities that lie ahead. While the company set out with its focus on products initially, the team is rapidly pivoting its focus now to service delivery and partnerships. This move will help better implement the company’s products and become a reliable and trusted service provider within the privacy and compliance practice.
When quizzed about what else the future holds for ODE Holdings, Sashi says, “Later in 2022, we will onboard our first million users. And we will launch a new product offering based on Threefold that combines our application and data layer with their Web 3.0 infrastructure.” Further on the horizon, the company plans to create and onboard an entrepreneur ecosystem for the next generation of social, financial, and digital media applications to be built on the platform. Sashi concludes, “This is exciting for our community and us as it unleashes the power of our platform across a multitude of great ideas.”
For More Info: https://www.odeinfinity.com/
Sashi Edupuganti, Founder & CEO, ODE Holdings
Sashi Edupuganti is a Conscious Capitalist, Serial Entrepreneur, Fortune 100 Technology Executive, and investor. He is a creator and shaper, widely recognized for his innovation, next-generation capabilities, and building teams. As the CEO of ODE Holdings, a pioneering startup changing the world of consumer data, he is leading the movement toward decentralization and getting consumers their data back while enabling the enterprises to run their analytics without the need to store or own consumer data. He previously co-founded Coegil Holdings. He was a part of two startups with successful exits at Entcomm and Newsbreaker. In his corporate leadership positions, he has held senior positions at Bridgewater Associates, HBO, Comcast, and General Electric.
Mr. Edupuganti has an MBA (Entrepreneurship) from Pepperdine University, MCA (Master of Computer Applications), and BS (Physics) from the University of Madras. Since its founding, ODE and Mr. Edupuganti have been recognized by CIO Bulletin as the 30 Most Innovative companies in 2020 and by Intercon as a top 100 Innovators in 2021.