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Honored to join Opaque Systems as CEO

Aaron Fulkerson
5 min read

Hi, I am Aaron Fulkerson, and I feel tremendously privileged to take on the role of Chief Executive Officer at Opaque Systems. Opaque has been at the forefront of a revolution, developing privacy technology for data and AI. With an exceptional product and team of world-class researchers and engineers, Opaque is the clear leader in privacy-enhancing technologies. The combination of data, AI, and privacy is not a passing trend; it is the foundation for rebuilding trust in our digital age. Opaque stands out in this mission, and I am incredibly fortunate to be part of this journey.

Data/AI and privacy are the two most important macro-trends in technology—well, really…in any industry—and these will continue to be the most important for the next decade. Not only does the massive market opportunity make joining Opaque an exciting opportunity, but I am also deeply passionate about the Data/AI privacy space. In the past decade, a noticeable erosion of trust has affected humanity, significantly fueled by high-tech enterprises. These entities’ extensive mining and refining of personal data have brewed distrust and propelled manipulative technologies that skew commercial and political landscapes. With the advent of generative AI and the impending revolution this will create, there will undoubtedly be more significant harvesting of personal information, and privacy-enhancing technology will be more critical than ever. The intersection of data/AI and privacy is the crucible for the future of trust. As such, I could not overstate my enthusiasm for the Opaque team and product—we aim to make a profoundly positive difference in the world.

My professional journey has always been about serving the customer by carving new paths that remove the friction for the customer to get value. At ServiceNow, I led ServiceNow Impact from a mere idea to a thriving business unit, bringing on over 1,500 customers in less than two years. Before that, I helped grow the ServiceNow Customer Workflows business unit, where we tripled our business in 24 months. And MindTouch, an open-source project I co-founded, rapidly gained traction globally, and we evolved into a successful SaaS venture.

I am passionate about solving business problems in a customer-centered way, and this commonly creates new categories or disrupts existing markets by providing a superior customer experience. We expect to achieve the same aim with Opaque; we’re building a new and much-needed category: privacy-enhancing technologies that combine consumer-grade experiences with military-grade cryptography, giving you control over your data.

Opaque Systems: A confluence of visionary minds

The brilliance of Opaque stems from its stellar founders: Rishabh Poddar, Raluca Ada Popa, Wenting Zheng, Chester Leung, and Ion Stoica. Their roots in the UC Berkeley RISELab, coupled with Ion Stoica’s co-founding legacy at Databricks and AnyScale, paint a vivid picture of world-class expertise converging to solve one of tech’s most challenging puzzles. These are individuals whose accolades resonate profoundly in academia and tech, and being part of the team they’ve assembled is truly an honor.

Our products, Opaque Analytics and OpaquePrompts, manifest their vision.

Opaque Analytics allows organizations to unearth business insights from encrypted datasets in a zero-trust environment. No one can see the data; it remains encrypted and is processed with analytics or machine learning. The use cases are abundant but commonly involve identifying or matching behavioral patterns and entities across multiple sensitive or confidential datasets. It’s a game changer in scenarios involving sensitive or regulated data like fraud detection, Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance, anti-money laundering efforts, clustering groups by behaviors or outcomes, or even comparing chemical compounds.

OpaquePrompts serves as a confidential conduit, enabling seamless interactions with large language models while keeping sensitive data protected. It’s your go-to for engaging with AI without any data exposure or leakage of sensitive or proprietary data. Partnering with tech behemoths like Databricks, Snowflake, AWS, GCP, and Azure, we are committed to crafting a privacy layer that controls data access without sacrificing deriving business value.

Let’s collaborate

The road ahead with Opaque is brimming with promise and the potential to redefine how we utilize data and AI without jeopardizing individual privacy. If the fusion of data privacy with AI piques your interest, I want to hear from you. Weekly, we’re identifying new use cases for our innovative products by speaking with organizations that need help to achieve their business goals while also adhering to privacy requirements. I’d love to hear about your business challenges. How can we help you achieve your goals with analytics and AI while ensuring adherence to regulations and maintaining privacy? If you’re an enterprise with sensitive or confidential data restrictions struggling to automate your workflows, contact us. Opaque can dramatically improve data automation on common platforms (Databricks, Snowflake, etc.) for confidential/sensitive data. Reach out for a demo at [email protected] or feel free to contact me directly on LinkedIn. Together, let’s build a digital experience for humans that delights them without exposing them to risk.

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