- Age of business: 1 year
- Name of business: DataPress
- Location: London
- Team: Tom Rees (Founder), Katalin Gallyas (BizDev), Jeremy Evans (Journalist)
- Funding: €100k from EU/ODINE
- Elevator pitch: DataPress is a platform for publishing raw files – like WordPress for data.
What does DataPress do?
We run websites such as the London Datastore and the Leeds Data Mill, where we help non-technical users in City Hall to clean and to publish open data. We are responsible for 1179 city datasets comprising 15.54GB of raw data – increasing every day.
How did you meet?
Tom is a solo founder. He hired Jeremy Evans when they met in London to discuss company names, as Jeremy was also looking to launch a product called DataPress.
Where did the business idea come from?
We were earning our daily bread building data.gov.uk for the Cabinet Office when we had the idea. We had solved serious challenges of scaling and “bomb-proofing” this piece of national infrastructure, and wanted to make that technology more widely available.
Are you working with any other partners?
None that we can talk about publicly yet.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Turning software into a business is a long, exciting journey but it’s double the workload if you’re a solo founder. If you haven’t found a business partner in those crucial early days it becomes much harder to bring one on when you have customers.
How has ODINE helped you so far?
ODINE is an exciting opportunity as it helps us to grow internationally and translate to other languages.
What advice would you give to other companies pitching to ODINE?
Be honest. You know your business better than anybody, and you understand the challenges as well as the opportunities. Hopefully you are excited about your business, and that passion will show through better than any sales pitch.
What would you say to other startups thinking of working with open data?
Open data is now an expected part of government infrastructure, as much as the roads, the fire service, or the electricity supply. It’s a miniature revolution, and will unlock business ideas which nobody has yet thought of because without open access to data they were, literally, unthinkable.
How would you encourage big business to buy into the open data movement?
You can’t estimate the return on investment of serendipity. Open access to data means that new ideas and connections will be made which nobody could have anticipated. It’s important to look past questions such as “why would anybody want this?” to “is there any reason why we can’t publish this too?”
What’s the key trend in open data at the moment?
We’re starting to see companies and governments really embrace the open source community. These teams and global partnerships are working together to solve common problems, and the solutions are categorically better than products from the old guard of large corporate vendors.
This article has been first published on The Guardian.