Sebastian is the CEO and Co-founder of Statice, a Berlin-based company providing an automatic data-anonymization software. He oversees the business side of the company. Sebastian has been working in the Berlin startup ecosystem for several years before founding Statice together with his two co-founders Mikhail and Omar.
Can you tell us how the idea for your startup began?
In our growing customer-centric economy, I believe that innovation begins with understanding people. Companies partly do this by measuring, tracking, and storing personal data on individuals in order to quantify personal preferences and use this knowledge to tailor experiences and products towards each customer individually. Personal data is the core source of modern services and products and serves as the most important resource for the majority of modern technological advances and discoveries. This does not only hold for scientific settings but also for corporate R&D.
That’s why I believe that there are two major trends happening at the moment. First, data privacy is becoming an increasingly important asset for companies in order to provide trust. Second, innovation will build on collaboration across players and data as a main resource.
As anonymous data is exempt from data privacy regulations, we decided to build Statice as an enabling power of both trends: protecting individuals on the one side and empowering data-driven innovation and collaboration on the other side.
Mikhail, one of my co-founders and our CTO at Statice and I have been working together for more than two years now. We both worked at the company builder WATTx together before teaming up for Statice. Shortly after Omar joined us as a third co-founder and that was the moment we were ready to go and get Statice of the ground together.
What are you really passionate about achieving?
Our mission at Statice is to allow data-driven collaboration between organizations, to unlock undiscovered insights, solve business problems, and accelerate product development. With personal data becoming more scarce in times of GDPR, we see Statice as an enabling power for data-driven innovation. Statice unlocks sensitive customer data for companies while protecting consumers by securely anonymizing this data.
Statice’s vision is to be the central privacy-preserving data hub for data-driven collaboration across companies.
Who is in your team? Where are you all from and what backgrounds do you have?
Currently, we are a team of Data Scientists, Software Developers and Marketing/Business Developers hailing from all over the world. Our diverse backgrounds, not just in terms of culture but also in terms of skillsets, is exactly what we need in order to tackle the complex challenge that we will be working on. By looking at a given problem from all relevant angles, we can always make sure to keep the bigger picture in mind without forgetting about important aspects of the solution.
What challenge have you selected for the EDI incubation programme and why did you choose it?
The challenge we will solve during the EDI is the Cashier Fraud Detection from Migros. Cashier and customer fraud can amount to large losses, given the huge number of transactions they deal with everyday. Being able to detect fraudulent transactions in real-time allows companies to make significant savings. But this can be tricky, especially in the case of employee or customers sensitive data.
With stricter global privacy regulations in place, it is not sufficient anymore for companies to just pseudonymise data. Regulations such as the GDPR explicitly state the need for truly anonymous data as opposed to just pseudonymous data.
In the past, it has been shown that pseudonymised data is not enough to guarantee the anonymity of the individuals in the datasets. For instance, in the sample data shared by Migros, employment starting dates could potentially be linked to publicly available data such as LinkedIn or other professional social networks.
We want to show that companies like Migros do not have to risk their customers’ privacy in order to build complex machine learning solutions. We will show that it is possible to build highly performant solutions such as fraud detection on truly anonymous data by using synthetic data.
What are you most excited about taking part in the incubation programme?
Statice’s mission is to allow data-driven collaboration between organizations, to unlock undiscovered insights, solve business problems, and accelerate product development. We believe that innovation, now more than ever, is rooted in data and the understanding of customers. We aim to be a driving force of leveraging big data for product and service innovations, while always protecting consumers’ privacy.
In short, Statice’s vision is to be the central privacy-preserving data hub.
EDI is a concrete opportunity where fifteen high profile organizations partner with startups and SMEs in order to create value from the data.
From this perspective, it is a perfect fit. After checking the datasets provided we immediately saw a way to solve the challenge for the provider (Migros). Not only this, we will go beyond and solve the challenge in a privacy-preserving manner. This way, we will provide Migros with the means to position themselves as a trusted partner and to tackle even more questions, while still protecting the privacy of their customers and employees.
What unique aspects does Statice have to offer the big data ecosystem in Europe?
Personally, I strongly believe that Europe does not have to hide behind the USA or China in terms of AI applications. Europe has so many amazing opportunities with its diverse industrial landscape as well as amazing universities to be a prime market for the big data and AI market. One of the biggest concerns across almost all sectors in regard to the use of data, is data privacy. This especially holds with the GDPR in place. With our product, we have a way to take this fear of privacy-breaches from companies and show them a way to leverage data freely for amazing products and applications. We thus see Statice as a great enabler of data science and AI in Europe.
You can watch a 30 second video on Statice in their EDI portfolio.