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Recommendations startup Canopy hires vets of Instagram, New York Times

The privacy-focused app maker is adding to its ranks, already stocked with recommendation vets from giants like Spotify and Google.

Illustration of a smartphone spying on a person.

Privacy-minded recommendations startup Canopy is adding to its ranks of Silicon Valley vets with two hires Tuesday: Matthew Ogle from Facebook's Instagram and Bassey Etim from the New York Times.  

The company is being built by people who've worked at Spotify, Instagram, Google and The New York Times, many of whom became disillusioned with how most digital personalization exploits consumers' data. Canopy's concept is to upend a fundamental concept that propelled many of the internet's biggest companies to power: To get personalized service, you have to hand over troves of data about you.

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On Tuesday, Canopy said that Ogle -- who launched Spotify's hit weekly personalized playlist feature Discover Weekly before moving to Instagram -- will be leading Canopy's overall consumer product.

Etim, who spend a decade building community forums for The New York Times, will focus on developing "the voice" of Canopy's recommendation architecture, the company said. 

After coming out of stealth development last year, Canopy expected to launch its app early this year. Its premise is to give you a small set of recommendations daily for things you might like, such as songs or web articles or podcasts. But  the app is designed to never ask you to sign up or log in, and Canopy is building a wall between your device (and everything you do on it) and its servers, so your activity is private. 

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