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The hottest topic in tech this year wasn't AI or the blockchain. It was privacy. 
 
Some of the biggest tech companies in the world endured lawsuits, congressional summons, and investigative reports in major news publications, all centering around their use (or misuse) of user data. Governments implemented sweeping legislation aimed at protecting user data, from GDPR to the California Consumer Privacy Act, California's new law that will offer citizens more control over how companies use their data. 
 
At the same time, Crunchbase recorded a more than 30% increase in the number of funding rounds raised by privacy startups in 2018 over 2017. While the public outcry around users' rights to privacy has put many tech giants in crisis mode, it has also been a boon to a new generation of startups that are making security, privacy, and anonymity the core of their value proposition.
 
Startups benefiting from this surge in interest around privacy, many of which deliver products that serve both businesses and consumers, include:
  • Purism builds privacy-centric computers and maintains its namesake PureOS, a privacy-focused Linux distribution. It's begun accepting preorders for the new Librem 5, a smartphone built specifically to protect user data.
  • BigID uses machine learning to help companies protect and analyze user data while staying compliant with new privacy laws. The startup raised a $14 million Series A in January, then a $30 million Series B in June.
  • Canopy was launched by Spotify and Echo Nest alums—including Brian Whitman, the man who built Spotify's Discover Weekly recommendation engine—in 2018, licensing a recommendation engine that doesn't collect user data.
Every time Facebook reports a leak, or a new exposé is published about how Google neglected to disclose a potential breach, the level of user concern around privacy increases. With users becoming increasingly concerned about the security of their data, and governments taking more aggressive action to regulate tech companies' use of it, the market for privacy-focused software will only continue to grow. 
 
In the future, we may well look back on 2018 as the year privacy-focused startups took off.

How to recruit talent when you're competing with giants

Competing with giants
For a top candidates to join your startup, they have to believe two things:
  • Your startup can give them the return they're looking for—be it in their bank account, career, or personal life.
  • Your startup will survive long enough for them to realize that return.
If you are the underdog in a market full of massive competitors, that second point can be tricky to explain.

A young video hosting startup, for example, would have to convince candidates it can succeed despite the presence of Vimeo and YouTube. Similarly, a credit card processing service has to explain how it succeeds in a world where Square and Stripe are ubiquitous.

After speaking with several companies that have successfully recruited against the 800-pound gorillas in their markets, we found all of them focused their sell on their startups' vision, impact and culture.
Keep reading

Hot startups hiring now 🔥

 
📊 HyperScience automates data entry. It translates human-readable content into machine-readable data, freeing customers from their reliance on manual data entry and allowing them to do business better. Hiring a lead product designer, solutions engineer, and more.
 
🏠 Naborly is an automated screening service helping landlords and property managers know who they are renting to, before they move in. Its algorithm reduces evictions, late rent payments, and property damage. Hiring a graphic & web designer, performance marketing manager, and more.
 
🔍 River is building an entirely new kind of search engine—one focused exclusively on making sense of the past 24 hours. Hiring a software engineer, mobile engineer, and more. 
 
👂 Whisper.ai uses deep learning in hearing aids to amplify voices and sounds of interest—the #1 need for folks with hearing loss. Its system has 10x the noise reduction of leading competitors with a lower price point. Hiring a deep learning engineer, a firmware engineer, and more.
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