Emily Fry: Digital innovation and enhancing data protection
20Twenties Young Alumni Award recipient for her contribution to the field of digital technologies and their privacy and security implications. LLB(Hons) 2017, BCom Major Accounting 2017
What was your reaction to receiving the award?
I wasn't expecting it at all! It was such a nice surprise. The award is a great way to connect with other recipients and learn about the incredible things they are achieving. I feel lucky to be included alongside them.
What have you done since graduation and what are you doing now?
During University I picked up an interest in emerging technology and got involved with the local scene. It intrigued me enough to write my dissertation on blockchain technology and its securities law implications. One thing led to another after that.
I joined PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and helped to establish a cross-border consulting division focused on blockchain innovation. That exposed me to a range of start-ups working on really interesting ideas, including the people I currently work with. We started MATTR in 2019, a software company building privacy-preserving, verifiable data infrastructure. Since then we've grown the team from six to around 30 people and released our first product. It's fast paced and incredibly exciting.
What inspires and motivates you to work in the areas you are involved with?
I find the area of work both motivating and testing at the same time. Our society faces huge challenges around data privacy, data security and data discrimination. These are challenges that will not be solved by one person – I enjoy the collaboration that is required and am inspired by the people I get to work with. It's great to see some aspects of the issues we face being brought to mainstream attention in documentaries like The Great Hack and The Social Dilemma (both on Netflix).
What were the highlights of your time at Otago, and has it influenced you in your career?
Writing my dissertation on blockchain technology and its securities laws implications was quite a pivotal time for me. It was a pretty unconventional topic at the time, and had my supervisor (Professor Shelley Griffiths) not taken a chance on me with it I don't think I would be where I am in my career today.
Being surrounded by forward thinking and innovative minds during that time definitely influenced the steps I've taken in my career.