We love our Netflix recommendations and knowing how far our UberEats order is, but we also don't want Doordash to know where we live, or Google to know where and how fast we're driving. This is one of the biggest privacy conundrums of the modern data age. We can get amazing benefits from our data, but we have to give up our privacy for it.
But can we have our cake and eat it too? There are a few emerging approaches that could help make this possible - federated learning, edge AI, homomorphic encryptions, secure multi-party computations, differential privacy, and others. We now also have 'confidential computing' powered by trusted execution environments - think of these as isolated environments, enabled by hardware, where code can run on data securely. Chip manufacturers like Intel, AMD, and ARM provide support for these, but more critically, large cloud providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are making these environments available for use in the cloud. This opens up a fascinating world of new opportunities.
Eder Labs, one of our recent investments, is taking advantage of this wave.
With their new product called Fluid, Eder Labs helps data teams confidentially explore, collaborate, and deploy new applications for analytics and ML/AI, all while ensuring full data ownership & privacy-preservation, even when working with external vendors.
When we met the Eder team, it was just the three founders and two team members.
Sharat loves to sketch and collects SciFi comics. Utkarsh dropped out of college and dabbles in poetry. Vishwajit hacks hardware and dreams about brain-computer interfaces. This motley crew got together when Sharat started advising Utkarsh and Vishwajit while they were still in college. They discovered a shared passion for the promise of AI but also endlessly debated AI's insatiable need for data and the associated compromises around privacy, fairness, and access. This got them started on the journey to address some of these problems, and soon Eder Labs was born
The team had a broad sense of the problem they wanted to solve, a pulse on the technology trends that were creating interesting opportunities, and a boatload of enthusiasm for why they were doing what they were doing.
That was enough to get us excited, and we're thrilled to be partnering with them on this journey.