Last updated Jul 20, 2020

We Care About Your Privacy

We at Firsthand respect your privacy and take the issue of Internet privacy very seriously. By accepting the Firsthand Terms of Service (as a user of Firsthand’s services), you explicitly consent to the collection, processing, transfer, use and disclosure of any information, including personal information which you provide to us as outlined in this Privacy Statement and agree that the terms not defined below have the meanings set forth in the Terms of Service.

As Firsthand improves its services, we may modify our Privacy Statement at any time and for any reason without giving you prior notice. By accessing and using our Site and services following any such modifications, you agree to follow and be bound by the Terms of Service and Privacy Statement, each as modified from time to time. For this reason, we urge you to check here for updates from time to time.

Types of Data We Collect

In order to use this website, we request contact information, such as your name, email address and additional demographic information. We use this information to contact users about the services on our site for which they have expressed interest and may also use this information as a user’s sign-in information. We will not provide a user’s personal information to third parties without the consent of the user.

Firsthand will take all reasonable and appropriate steps necessary to ensure that any third party who is acting as a “data processor” under EU terminology is processing the personal information we entrust to them in a manner that is consistent with the EU-US Privacy Shield Principles. Firsthand is potentially liable in cases of onward transfer to third parties of data of EU individuals received pursuant to the EU-US Privacy Shield.

You may decline to submit personally identifiable information through the Service, in which case Firsthand may not be able to provide certain services to you. You have a right to access information we hold about you. You may update or correct your account information at any time by logging in to your account. For questions or inquiries regarding the correction or deletion of your personally identifiable information on the Service you may contact us at

We may disclose your information (including your personally identifiable information) in response to a lawful request by public authorities, including to meet national security or law enforcement requirements.

Firsthand collects Personal Data about you (a) when you provide it directly to us, (b) when third parties such as our business partners (e.g. companies and organizations with whom we integrate our Service), or (c) when Personal Data about you is automatically collected in connection with your use of our Service. We collect the following Personal Data from you in connection with the Service:

Contact Information: information we collect to identify or contact you, such as your first and last name, email address, telephone number, area code, time zone, and profile picture.

Transaction Information: information related to transactions you conduct on the Service, including date of consultations completed, type of consultations completed, topic of consultations completed, advisees/advisors consulted with, count of consultations given/received, and reviews.

User Account Information: information that identifies you to the Service, such as date joined, date last logged in, type of user (i.e. advisor, advisee, or both), date profile completed, group memberships, graduation date, education (school, degree, field of study), employment (employer, job title, location, start date and end date), advisor expertise (advice topics and opportunities offered) , and advisee career goals (desired employers, job functions, industries, and work locations).

Use of Personal Data

Firsthand uses Personal Data to: (a) provide, administer, and improve our Service; (b) better understand your needs and interests; (c) fulfill requests you make; (d) personalize your experience; (e) provide Service announcements; (f) protect, investigate, and deter against fraudulent, harmful, unauthorized, or illegal activity and (g) comply with legal obligations.

For example, we use Personal Data to:

  • Match mentors and mentees
  • Provide user support
  • Communicate with users regarding support, security, technical issues, marketing, and transactions
  • Administer the Service, user accounts, and transactions with respect to User Accounts
  • Enforce our contracts, administering and carrying out our obligations under contracts, and complying with the law
  • Publish aggregated data about usage trends, which may be derived from Personal Data

Opting out

You can ask us to stop sending you marketing messages at any time by following the opt-out links on any marketing message sent to you.

Services through the Site

Users provide information during the process of using the Firsthand service. We break down users of our service into two categories, Advisees and Advisors (otherwise referred to as Customers and Experts, respectively) (you may register as both a Customer and an Expert). Customers must provide financial information such as a credit card number and expiration date (or a PayPal address) in order to pay for and use the Firsthand service. Experts must provide contact information, such as name and mailing address or PayPal address, in order to receive their payment from Firsthand. The information we collect from Customers and Experts is to provide users with the best possible service. If we have trouble providing that service, we may use contact information to get in touch with the user.

Customer-Advisor Communication Using the Evisors Service

The main purpose of Firsthand is to allow registered Advisors to provide Advisees with services that Advisees need. Firsthand hosts live conversations, email exchanges and scheduling between Advisees and Advisors through its web site. In the process, Firsthand does not disclose the phone numbers, email addresses or full names of its users, nor do we share this information among interacting Experts and Customers. Firsthand does not screen or edit the content of communications between Customers and Experts. Such communications are personal and private unless both parties agree to additional distribution. Firsthand keeps information relayed between the Advisee and the Advisor confidential. No other users of Firsthand have access to this information.

Data Protection Measures

Your information is stored on our servers located in the United States. Despite preventative security measures taken by Firsthand, persons may unlawfully intercept or access transmissions or private communications and other persons may abuse or misuse personal information that they collect from our site. Accordingly, Firsthand is not liable for the improper release or misuse of personal information or private communications.

Data access is granted only as-needed to qualified and vetted members of the Firsthand team. Firsthand limits accessibility to personal data through the application by way of individual access controlled accounts, restricted through modern cryptographic means. Access is granted on a need-to-know basis.

All Firsthand servers and network devices are protected by modern encryption and best practices. Access is limited to Firsthand’s engineering team, and restricted via RSA-2048 keys. Multi-Factor authentication is required wherever possible.

Firsthand servers and data storage are all provided by large, well-respected networking service providers, specifically Rackspace and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Their data center security, certifications, and access policy documents are available at their respective websites.

We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected personal data breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a breach where we are legally required to do so.

For complete information on Firsthand’s Data Protection measures, please see our Security Procedures and Controls and our Platform Configuration and Deployment Procedures.

Your Legal Rights

You have the right to:

  • Request access to your personal data. This enables you to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • Request correction of the personal data that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate data we hold about you corrected, though we may need to verify the accuracy of the new data you provide to us.
  • Request erasure of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to delete personal data from active use where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal data where you have successfully exercised your right to object to processing (see below), where we may have processed your information unlawfully or where we are required to erase your personal data to comply with local law. Note, however, that we may not always be able to comply with your request of erasure for specific legal reasons which will be notified to you, if applicable, at the time of your request.
  • Object to processing of your personal data where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground as you feel it impacts on your fundamental rights and freedoms. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal data for direct marketing purposes. In some cases, we may demonstrate that we have compelling legitimate grounds to process your information which override your rights and freedoms.
  • Request a restriction of processing of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of your personal data in the following scenarios: (a) if you want us to establish the data’s accuracy; (b) where our use of the data is unlawful but you do not want us to erase it; (c) where you need us to hold the data even if we no longer require it as you need it to establish, exercise or defend legal claims; or (d) you have objected to our use of your data but we need to verify whether we have overriding legitimate grounds to use it.
  • Request the transfer of your personal data to you or to a third party. We will provide to you, or a third party you have chosen, your personal data in a structured, commonly used, machine-readable format. Note that this right only applies to automated information which you initially provided consent for us to use or where we used the information to perform a contract with you.
  • Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products or services to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent.

If your personal information changes or you no longer wish to use our services, please e-mail our Customer Support at

Data Retention

Your data will be kept and stored for such period of time as we deem necessary taking into account the purpose for which it was collected in the first instance (i.e. the administration of your account for as long as your account is active and a reasonable period thereafter in case you decide to re-activate your account), and our obligations under Data Protection Legislation. This may include retaining your data as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, to resolve disputes, to enforce our agreements, to support business operations, and to continue to develop and improve our Services.

Where we retain information for Service improvement and development, we take steps to eliminate information that directly identifies you, and we only use the information to uncover collective insights about the use of our Service, not to specifically analyze personal characteristics about you.

For our University or Corporate Partners:

The Firsthand platform allows existing users to opt into other Firsthand powered networks in addition to the one they initially joined (e.g., if they attended two universities that each have Firsthand platforms). User accounts existing on multiple networks are considered “cross-pollinated.”. Users must explicitly opt into appearing on Firsthand networks outside of their initial network in order for this to occur.

All live user data that is not cross-pollinated at the request of an end user, or live user data explicitly requested to be removed by the end user to which it belongs, can, upon agreement with a partner, be deleted from the Firsthand platform database and rendered beyond use within sixty (60) days of the termination or expiration of the service agreement between Firsthand and the partner, or earlier at the request of an authorized stakeholder.

Privacy Shield

Firsthand complies with the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information from the European Union to the United States, respectively. Firsthand has certified to the Department of Commerce that it adheres to the Privacy Shield Principles of Notice, Choice, Accountability for Onward Transfer, Security, Data Integrity and Purpose Limitation, Access and Recourse, Enforcement and Liability. To learn more about the Privacy Shield program, please visit To view our certification page, please visit

In compliance with the EU-US Privacy Shield Principles, Firsthand commits to resolve complaints about your privacy and our collection or use of your personal information. European Union citizens with inquiries or complaints regarding this privacy policy should first contact Firsthand at:

Firsthand has further committed to refer unresolved privacy complaints under the EU-US Privacy Shield Principles to an independent dispute resolution mechanism, the EU Data Protection Authorities (DPAs). If you do not receive timely acknowledgment of your complaint, or if your complaint is not satisfactorily addressed by Firsthand, please visit the EU Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) web site for more information and to file a complaint.

Please note that if your complaint is not resolved through these channels, under limited circumstances, a binding arbitration option may be available before a Privacy Shield Panel.

Firsthand is subject to the investigatory and enforcement powers of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with respect to its compliance with the provisions of the EU-US Privacy Shield.

Contacting Us

If you have any questions about our Privacy Policy, the practices of this site or your dealings with Evisors, please contact us at

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