Revolutionizing Digital Privacy: A Glimpse Into Donna Tremble’s Royalty Data Rewards Club
In a digital age where personal data is commodified at an unprecedented scale, Donna Tremble, the Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek Founder and CEO of Royalty Data Rewards Club living in Thunderbay, Ontario, emerges as a determined visionary entrepreneur working to pivot the paradigm and giving power back to the people and their data.
“Personal data is constantly tracked and sold by online businesses. Consent is obscured in the fine print,” Tremble laments. Drawing from personal experiences and witnessing the harmful consequences of unchecked data exploitation — ranging from eating disorders to child exploitation — she decided to intervene.
Her business, Royalty Data Rewards Club, is designed as a solution for small businesses in Canada, facilitating gamified in-store experiences to incentivize customers. But what sets it apart is the Ingenious twist of reversing the traditional data trading process. Donna elaborates, “Our club members will have the choice to opt-in to personal data sales, and they’ll receive 100% of the proceeds.” Emphasizing data privacy, she adds, “I’m using complex cryptography algorithms and informed consent to maintain privacy and security for our club members.” As of today, Tremble’s innovation has attracted three locally-owned businesses in Thunder Bay to pilot her technology.
Tremble’s tenacity is unparalleled, especially given the hurdles she has faced. “I left high school after grade 10 to recover from a brain injury and had to learn how to read, write, and do math all over again,” she reveals. Her remarkable recovery journey and the subsequent foray into self-taught mathematics, which enabled her to craft encryption processes for her software, stands testament to her resilience and determination.
Donna candidly shares, “One of the most rewarding parts of being an entrepreneur is the independence and flexibility.”However, Tremble doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the challenges, citing uncertainty as the toughest obstacle. “The uncertainty of it all is the most challenging part,” she admits. But, she also praises the pivotal role market research played in guiding her venture’s trajectory.
Her journey with the Pow Wow Pitch competition has been rewarding, allowing her to refine her pitch and connect with other passionate Indigenous entrepreneurs. Tremble fondly recalls, “One of the best parts of Pow Wow Pitch has been seeing the different businesses that other Indigenous entrepreneurs are building.”
Donna’s mentors, Ron Shaluk from RBC and Russell Thomas from Mastercard, have been instrumental in her journey. With their guidance, she has honed her pitch and studied the dynamics of large loyalty programs, gleaning insights to amplify her business.
For Donna, her Indigenous identity plays a significant role in her approach to entrepreneurship. Reflecting upon Algonquin teachings, she shares, “We are taught that the most important people are the seven generations that came before us and the seven generations that come after us.” This ethos is deeply embedded in her quest to make the Internet a more secure realm for future generations.
For budding Indigenous entrepreneurs, Tremble has some sage advice: “You have to start somewhere. Write down all of your ideas… Don’t worry about failure, failure is just another opportunity to grow and learn new things.”
In a world that often overlooks data privacy and consent, Donna Tremble and her Royalty Data Rewards Club remind us that there are still those who advocate for the individual’s rights. With leaders like Tremble at the helm, the future of digital privacy looks promising.
Register to watch Donna pitch at the Technology Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 15, 2023, at 6 PM ET and vote for Donna to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#84) before September 17, 2023.