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Julie Cordua is defending children with technology

Cordua is No. 51 on the Recode 100.

Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

As CEO of Thorn, Julie Cordua helps build technology to defend children from sexual abuse.

Thorn’s products and platforms help keep companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter from being used for abusive content. They also help identify child pornography and trafficking victims, and catch predators. The products are employed by 1,300 law enforcement agencies in 23 countries. In 2017 alone, they helped identify more than 10,000 victims of sexual abuse.

This year, her team has doubled in size to 19 people, most of whom are engineers and product managers. “It’s a unique entity in that it’s a nonprofit but it’s also a product- and technology-led organization,” Cordua told Recode.

That’s an unusual mix for a tech startup. And the stakes are higher than at many companies.

“It is intense. One thing I’ve heard from our team is that if something breaks in our product, they’re constantly thinking, ‘Did I miss a child?’ You don’t hear that from engineering teams every day.”

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