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Cookies seem harmless enough.  After all, we give countless web sites permission to plant them in our machines each day and the world keeps turning.

Indeed it does, agrees Francesco Giarletta of software developer Avanite, but it turns slower each day as a result, he argues, increasing log-on and log-off times, gobbling up expensive data storage and diminishing the user experience.

And worse, says Francesco, cookies now potentially put companies in breach of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulations, or GDPR, which come in to force in the UK on 25th May.

“Cookies allow web sites to gather personal information, including sensitive user data, and offer it to third parties so that they can profile people, compile information on individuals and then sell this to other companies for purposes such as targeted advertising,” explains Francesco.

“That could put all companies in breach of GDPR from day one so they have to be able to demonstrate proactive measures to remove cookies from users’ machines.”

As the only software provider in the world with the technology to do this – a product called Web Data Control – Avanite finds itself in an extraordinary commercial position and the company has thought hard about how it will exploit this, says Francesco.

“We use re-sellers around the world to introduce the advantages of our software to enterprises and have set a target of signing up a further 20 global re-seller partners this year.

“Germany and France are a particular focus, as well as extending our reach across the United States, where we currently have re-sellers in four states.  The UK, of course, remains a major focus for us, too.”

And now the company has attracted the attention of one of the north west’s most respected venture capital funders, Dow Schofield Watts, whose northern tech angel network is being offered the opportunity to support its £500,000 investment in the firm.

David Smith, who leads the network, said: “Avanite’s software addresses a very real problem for system administrators and initial sales have proven its appeal.

“We believe that WebData Control has first-mover advantage in a large global market.”

User sentiment was already heading towards a greater desire for privacy before GDPR hoved in to view, argues Francesco, and the firm has been making ‘great progress’ targeting businesses in the legal, financial and healthcare sectors – pointing to more growth to come.

Francesco’s business plan envisages headcount doubling this year to 15 people and he cites the flexibility of their tenancy agreement at Warrington’s unique tech hub The Base in Dallam Lane as giving him confidence such growth can be accommodate quickly.

“It’s all set up to be a very interesting year,” he admits.  “The Base offers us a great ‘face’ to potential recruits, which is important, as the quality of people we need to employ know they can demand the very best.  I’m looking forward to welcoming more talented people to our team.”


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