June 19, 2024
New e-commerce startup, founded by an ex-PayPal exec, aims to give customers control of their own shopping data | TechCrunch

Do you get tired of creating an account every time you purchase something from an online store?

You’re not alone.

I Own My Data (IOMD) is a startup aiming to eliminate the tedious step for consumers, so not only do you not have to create a password, or deal with Captcha, you also don’t get bombarded with follow-up promotional email or text communications. The advantage for merchants is being able to offer an easier and faster way for people to shop on their sites.

The company’s self-described aim is to “flip the script” on commerce with its Node platform. Rather than people having to enter and re-enter personal information on countless sites, I Own My Data says it lets consumers manage, retrieve and save all of their online interactions, purchases and profiles only on their devices.  

Founder and CEO Rohan Mahadevan said he started the company last year after growing frustrated with his own experience as a consumer of having to re-verify and validate who he was, and creating new accounts with every site. 

“Node is the safest, fastest and most convenient way to transact online because it requires no central servers and consumer data doesn’t need to be stored anywhere else,” said Mahadevan, who spent 15 years at PayPal in a variety of senior roles, including SVP of its international division. “You can actually have really fast checkout processes, and not worry about any hacking, or phishing or anything.”

With Node, all of a user’s private information such as past purchases, cards, addresses and preferences are stored on their own device, so transactions can be completed instantly with one click, tap or touch, anywhere on the web, he said. 

“It’s similar to Amazon’s one-click purchases, but works across merchants, so they can rely less on a single platform,” Mahadevan added. “E-commerce is a very crowded space, with most companies solving symptoms of an underlying health problem associated with profile capture and management, payments and security. The problem is caused by the need to store information on millions of servers, which poses issues for both consumers and businesses. The massive paradigm shift is to keep all personal information on the consumer’s device. Solving the health problem alleviates the symptoms.”

Node is emerging from stealth today, having raised $2.75 million in a seed funding round led by Neotribe Ventures, and including participation from executives and founders from companies such as Bill Me Later, Boku, Citicards, Facebook, Magento, Meta and PayPal. 

The 20-person startup is currently onboarding merchants into its beta program and has a live app in the App Store. The new capital will go toward supporting product development and go-to-market. Eventually, IOMD hopes to take its offering global.

We can serve any merchant, anywhere, but we think those who have a big proportion of visitors who checkout as guests will be the first to truly love us,” said Mahadevan. “Merchants who sell cosmetics, specialty food, fashion, baby or pet products and other frequent, but not subscription products will benefit in the biggest and most immediate way.”

Mahadevan emphasizes that IOMD is not a payments company, but rather an information company.

“I think that’s really important to you so we’re not processing payments,” he said. “We’re not interested in whatever payment process you use…What we are doing is we’re actually just saving that information back to your node. There is zero latency because there is no server involved, and we give everyone a tokenized email so they don’t have to share their info if they don’t want to. This also eradicates hacking.”

Kittu Kolluri, founder and managing director at Neotribe Ventures, told TechCrunch that he believes Node is “taking on e-commerce at the highest level.”

Gary Marino, former chief commercial officer at PayPal, told TechCrunch via email that he and Mahadevan worked together at PayPal “to build user experiences that enabled shoppers and merchants to trust each other enough to transact.”

“Node recognizes that trust can be established in a much more straightforward and less intrusive manner while improving the shopping and buying experience,” Marino added. “The use of new technology at Node will lead this transformation.”

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