A new startup is clearing the way for other companies to better monitor and manage their risk and compliance with privacy laws.
Osano, an Austin, Texas-based startup, bills itself as a privacy platform startup, which uses a software-as-a-service solution to give businesses real-time visibility into their current privacy and compliance posture. On one hand, that helps startups and enterprises large and small insight into whether or not they’re complying with global or state privacy laws, and manage risk factors associated with their business such as when partner or vendor privacy policies change.
The company launched its privacy platform at Disrupt SF on the Startup Battlefield stage.
Risk and compliance is typically a fusty, boring and frankly unsexy topic. But with ever-changing legal landscapes and constantly moving requirements, it’s hard to keep up. Although Europe’s GDPR has been around for a year, it’s still causing headaches. And stateside, the California Consumer Privacy Act is about to kick in and it is terrifying large companies for fear they can’t comply with it.
Osano mixes tech with its legal chops to help companies, particularly smaller startups without their own legal support, to provide a one-stop shop for businesses to get insight, advice and guidance.
“We believe that any time a company does a better job with transparency and data protection, we think that’s a really good thing for the internet,” the company’s founder Arlo Gilbert told TechCrunch.
Gilbert, along with his co-founder and chief technology officer Scott Hertel, have built their company’s software-as-a-service solution with several components in mind, including maintaining its scorecard of 6,000 vendors and their privacy practices to objectively grade how a company fares, as well as monitoring vendor privacy policies to spot changes as soon as they are made.
One of its standout features is allowing its corporate customers to comply with dozens of privacy laws across the world with a single line of code.
You’ve seen them before: The “consent” popups that ask (or demand) you to allow cookies or you can’t come in. Osano’s consent management lets companies install a dynamic consent management in just five minutes, which delivers the right consent message to the right people in the best language. Using the blockchain, the company says it can record and provide searchable and cryptographically verifiable proof-of-consent in the event of a person’s data access request.
“There are 40 countries with cookie and data privacy laws that require consent,” said Gilbert. “Each of them has nuances about what they consider to be consent: what you have to tell them; what you have to offer them; when you have to do it.”
Osano also has an office in Dublin, Ireland, allowing its corporate customers to say it has a physical representative in the European Union — a requirement for companies that have to comply with GDPR.
And, for corporate customers with questions, they can dial-an-expert from Osano’s outsourced and freelance team of attorneys and privacy experts to help break down complex questions into bitesize answers.
Or as Gilbert calls it, “Uber, but for lawyers.”
The concept seems novel but it’s not restricted to GDPR or California’s upcoming law. The company says it monitors international, federal and state legislatures for new laws and changes to existing privacy legislation to alert customers of upcoming changes and requirements that might affect their business.
In other words, plug in a new law or two and Osano’s customers are as good as covered.
Osano is still in its pre-seed stage. But while the company is focusing on its product, it’s not thinking too much about money.
“We’re planning to kind of go the binary outcome — go big or go home,” said Gilbert, with his eye on the small- to medium-sized enterprise. “It’s greenfield right now. There’s really nobody doing what we’re doing.”
The plan is to take on enough funding to own the market, and then focus on turning a profit. So much so, Gilbert said, that the company is registered as a B Corporation, a more socially conscious and less profit-driven approach of corporate structure, allowing it to generate profits while maintaining its social vision.
The company’s idea is strong; its corporate structure seems mindful. But is it enough of an enticement for fellow startups and small businesses? It’s either dominate the market or bust, and only time will tell.