Dublin start-up Oblivious raises €5.35m for privacy enhancing tech

17 Apr 2023

Co-founders Robert Pisarczyk and Jack Fitzsimons. Image: Oblivious

Founded by two Oxford PhD graduates, Oblivious is building tools to allow data scientists access data without compromising on confidentiality.

Irish data security start-up Oblivious has announced that it has raised €5.35m in an oversubscribed seed funding round to invest in its privacy-enhancing technologies aimed at professionals working with sensitive data.

Based in Dublin’s NovaUCD, Oblivious pitches itself as a “confidential computing” company on a mission to “change the way we broker trust between the data scientist and data owners”.

In essence, the start-up is building tools that help data scientists access and use sensitive data without compromising on its confidentiality.

“Collectively, the tech industry has put hundreds of billions into building robust data lakes and advanced data science tooling, but standard role-based access control still remains untouched since the ’80s,” said Robert Pisarczyk, co-founder and CEO of Oblivious.

“We focus on building tools that allow data scientists to access and use the world’s most impactful data while ensuring it is used for its intended purpose, and we call it eyes-off data science.”

Oblivious, which has previously raised $1m in a seed round in 2021, has a team of engineers, security architects and product designers that is focused on building the tools to allow API providers to work on sensitive data while enforcing confidentiality constraints and brokering trust between organisations.

“Put yourself in the shoes of Uber, Airbnb or any modern tech-enabled company. You can’t simply hand your data scientist the keys to customer data. Like with any powerful resource, it could be used for great good or great evil,” explained Pisarczyk, who founded Oblivious with fellow Oxford PhD Jack Fitzsimons.

“We believe that by restricting how data is used, through modern privacy enhancing technologies, we can open the doors to the next wave of data innovations while providing the safety rails to ensure it’s only used for good.”

The seed round was led by Cavalry Ventures, a Berlin-based early-stage VC fund. Other backers include a range of European and US-based VCs and angels including Act VC, Atlantic Bridge, Firestreak Ventures, Expeditions Fund and Hustle Fund.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic