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September 7, 2022 in datatech for good

Exploring the Intersection of Impact and Data Privacy: Conversations with Fintech, Healthtech, and Ethical AI Startups at IBM zDay

Join us on September 15 at IBM zDay to see the newest 45 startups joining the IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator and meet some of our outstanding ventures leveraging data to create better, safer, and more equitable systems.

Learn more about IBM zDay and register to join for free →

For the past decade, Village Capital has supported more than 1,400 entrepreneurs in over 90 countries scaling investible, mission-driven solutions. We have pioneered models like peer selection to make impact investing more transparent and less biased. All of our work is grounded in our commitment to mitigating bias, increasing access to essential services, and building more inclusive and equitable ecosystems. 

We’ve seen in our work with founders and investors that data is an undercurrent of change with the potential to transform industries, affecting billions of people. Because of the importance that data intake and analysis has on our society, we must be vigilant to ensure that data is a conduit to more equitable access, rather than a barrier.

For the past three years in collaboration with IBM zSystems and the IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator (“HPA”) team, we’ve been building our Datatech for Good Coalition to create an ecosystem of support for startups leveraging data to create impact at all stages around the world. These startups are improving or increasing access to essential services, mitigating bias and ensuring ethical and secure management of the sensitive data required to power their product or service, and on top of that, protecting users’ sensitive data and maintaining privacy and ownership.

Image description: Preview of the Datatech for Good webpage

The Coalition is composed of 100 IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator alumni, 300 data-centric startups, 120 datatech investors & mentors, and adjacent mission-driven organizations & corporations that have acknowledged the critical role data can play in advancing social and economic justice and human rights. The Data Tech for Good Coalition offers training, advice, investor matchmaking and other services to support the founders working to use data and tech for good. 

Join us at IBM zDay on September 15, 2022 to learn more AND hear from some of the outstanding IBM HPA ventures leveraging data to create better and safer systems. Read below to see the challenges these startups are tackling in Fintech, Healthtech, and Ethical AI.


Datatech for Good - Which sectors and why? 

While there is an abundance of opportunity for data to transform society, the biggest overlap between data and transformative impact lies in sectors that have seen recent digital transformations like fintech, healthtech, and ethical AI.

Fintech

The Challenge: Despite the rapid recent growth in financial technology, the financial system perpetuates inequality. There are still 1.7 billion unbanked people around the world who are effectively denied access to opportunities for building wealth, like getting a mortgage. Even when people do have access to financial products and services, their personal data is vulnerable to exploitation - whether that is in a region like Africa where not even half of African countries have created laws to protect personal data or in North America where the amount of records exposed has quintupled in the last 5 years.

Opportunity + Impact: Making healthcare data more integrated and interoperable improves outcomes and lowers cost; fortunately, the market potential of solving these challenges is enormous. There are an increasing number of entrepreneurs leveraging new technologies like AI and machine learning to equitably improve early detection and diagnosis and accelerate less invasive and more personalized treatments. New regulations like GDPR are strengthening the security framework in which innovation can happen, ensuring that emerging solutions are compliant.

IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator Graduates: 

  • Pngme (USA) has created the first unified data API for Africa, to aggregate users’ financial data and ultimately open the financial system to unbanked individuals.
  • Zenda.la (Mexico) offers simple, transparent, and free insurance coverage via a digital platform that adapts to your lifestyle and budget and that you can adjust according to your needs.
  • Lafya (Nigeria) is a mobile health savings wallet that allows individuals and families to share their healthcare expenses with other users and friends.

Healthtech

The Challenge: The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the digitization of the healthcare system -- and also increased its vulnerability. Health records are a valuable commodity among hackers, a security risk that will only increase as more and more medical data is shared virtually. Data collection and sharing practices are also inconsistent across the industry and regions, exacerbating the challenges caused by data silos and making it harder to root out bias, which skews the treatments being researched away from already underserved communities. 

Opportunity + Impact: Making healthcare data more integrated and interoperable improves outcomes and lowers cost; fortunately, the market potential of solving these challenges is enormous. There are an increasing number of entrepreneurs leveraging new technologies like AI and machine learning to equitably improve early detection and diagnosis and accelerate less invasive and more personalized treatments. New regulations like GDPR are strengthening the security framework in which innovation can happen, ensuring that emerging solutions are compliant. 

IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator Graduates:

  • FotoConcent (UK) is the only fully GDPR and HIPAA compliant mobile platform for capturing, storing, and sharing clinical images and documents.
  • Snark Health (Kenya) helps patients improve their access to health care and lower their cost of care through a Hippocratic Coin® alternative payment model.
  • USCHAG (US) provides healthcare advocacy that empowers patients with actionable insights to have more control over their health and wellness.

Ethical AI

The Challenge: When a system capable of making decisions on its own can impact individuals, ethics must be at the heart of the discussion. AI magnifies the ability to use personal information in harmful ways that intrude on privacy and security. AI is also developed based on the choices of humans, including biases reflected in who has access, what data is used and collected, and how that data is analyzed and shared.

Opportunity + Impact: We are at an inflection point that will determine how AI is used -- and the biggest influencers of its trajectory will be investors, governments, and founders. Regulatory solutions from the UK and Europe are proving critical to establishing guidelines for the ethical and fair development of AI. It is vital for this sentiment to drive investment in solutions that mitigate the threat of data protection and privacy infringement, give individuals control over their data, and reduce and remove underlying bias

IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator Graduates:

  • Datacy (UK) is a marketplace enabling ethical and legal data exchange. With Datacy, users can collect and store all their data in one place. They also control who accesses their data and on what terms, and get paid every time it is used. 
  • Syntho (Netherlands) offers privacy-preserving synthetic data to unlock data and remove legitimate privacy concerns.
  • Nymiz (Spain) is a solution for the anonymization of personal data focused on the pseudonymization of unstructured data that allows protection from hacking and compliance with data protection laws for companies, their clients, and providers.

Meet many of the HPA startups on September 15 and have the opportunity to learn more about the HPA program at IBM zDay: Register here.

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