Maria Terzi

Maria Terzi

CEO & Co-Founder
Privacy and Data Security

Shaping Online Privacy and Data Security with Malloc

Maria Terzi is the CEO and Co-founder of Malloc, an AIdriven privacy and data security startup. Malloc made history as the first Cypriot startup to join Y Combinator, receiving nearly $2 million in investments. Maria’s leadership has led to the success of the Malloc Privacy & Data Security VPN app, downloaded by over 1 million users worldwide, providing online privacy and data protection. Malloc, the startup she co-founded with Liza and Artemis, started from an idea that has now grown into an innovative company, applying AI and stateof-the-art cybersecurity methods to help people and organizations safeguard their data, protect them from spyware and stay safe and private online.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in tech? 

I have personally encountered gender bias, both as a Computer Science student and throughout my professional journey as a Software Engineer, Researcher, Lecturer, and CEO. People have questioned my abilities to deliver and lead based on gender stereotypes and preconceived notions about women’s capabilities. As a minority in the tech field, I often felt isolated throughout my career. Due to unconscious biases and exclusion from influential networks, women can face limited access to opportunities, including high-impact projects and mentorship. The absence of visible female role models in tech further hampers young women from envisioning themselves in leadership or technical roles, negatively impacting their career aspirations and confidence. There is a need for industry-wide changes to foster inclusivity, eliminate biases, and provide support structures that enable women to thrive in technology-related professions.

What advice would you give to other women interested in a tech career?

I strongly encourage other women aspiring to pursue a career in technology to persevere and maintain self-belief. It is essential to have confidence in your abilities and recognize the significant value you bring to the tech industry. However, it is crucial to understand that success in this fast-paced and demanding field cannot be taken for granted. To thrive, one must be confident, competent, resilient, and consistently abreast of the latest developments.

Embrace challenges and confront the difficulties that arise on your journey, as they serve as opportunities for personal and professional growth. Establish a robust support network by seeking guidance and encouragement from mentors, peers, and support groups. Explore organizations and communities that offer resources and support for women in tech, such as Women Who Code, where I am honored to serve as a Leadership Fellow.

As you progress in your tech career, do not forget to act as a role model and share your experiences to inspire others, particularly young women interested in technology. Doing so contributes to cultivating a supportive and inclusive environment within the tech industry.

What are your thoughts on the future of women in tech? 

I am optimistic about the future of women in tech. The momentum toward greater gender diversity and inclusion in the tech industry is building. More women are pursuing tech careers, and their influence is expanding across various tech sectors. As the industry continues recognizing the importance of diverse perspectives and talents, we expect more opportunities for women to thrive and lead in tech roles. With initiatives focused on education, mentorship, and advocacy, the future promises increased representation and women’s empowerment in tech, ultimately driving innovation and positive change.

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