Websites collect all sorts of data about you.
Not everyone who uses the internet is aware of this fact, and even fewer people understand what this means. Don’t feel bad if you’re one of these people: many companies keep their data collection policies secret by design.
But that’s starting to change. There’s an ongoing movement to make people more aware of how their data is being used, with regulators stepping in to create laws like GDPR in the European Union.
Austin-based Osano wants to be one of the companies leading the charge into data transparency, and it just closed a $5.4 million funding round to do so.
Osano co-founders Arlo Gilbert and Scott Hertel came up with the idea for their company while watching Mark Zuckerberg testify in front of Congress in 2018. When the U.S. members of Congress questioned Zuckerberg about Facebook’s use of people’s data, it was apparent to Gilbert and Hertel that the members didn’t fully understand how data is stored and shared. How can lawmakers be expected to regulate something they don’t understand?
Osano has created a data set that objectively measures every company’s data privacy practices, in order to give a sense of whether data is actually protected. Osano is also building a suite of software for data privacy compliance. It also provides cookie consents — those pop-ups that tell you the website you’re on collects cookies — for over 750,000 companies. And Osano has designated itself as a B Corporation, so it’s driven by purpose and not strictly profits.
This new funding will help Osano further its R&D and marketing efforts, as well as make new hires. The company has raised $8.4 million to-date, and has big plans for the future.
“Heading into 2020, we are moving quickly to add talent to our growing team and to deepen Osano’s position as a leading data privacy platform,” Gilbert said in a statement. “There is a definitive need to bring transparency to the process of how companies deal with privacy, and we are very excited about taking on this challenge to empower both individuals and organizations.”