EU pledges €7.8 million to Open Data start-ups

The EU, together with the Open Data Institute in London, have announced the largest investment in innovative data start-ups in the world to date.

The EU has committed €7.8 million to a Europe-wide programme for entrepreneurs looking to launch innovative data businesses.

The call for submissions will open in spring 2015, and will be open to start-ups looking to build their business models around using or publishing data, in order to create insight into their own products or services or create new ones.

In collaboration with London’s Open Data Institute (ODI) and the University of Southampton, the programme will recruit approximately 50 start-ups over 30 months, with euro;5.5 million allocated to each successful applicant to develop their concept. They will also receive mentoring, technology, infrastructure and networking support.

‘Open data has the potential to radically change the way organisations value data,’ said Elena Simperi, associate professor of the University of Southampton. ‘And incubation programmes like ODInE’s will offer small and medium innovators in this space mentoring, technology and financial support, helping to build a business network around open data across Europe.’

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London-based organisation the Open Data Institute was set up in 2012 by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and the University of Southampton’s Professor Nigel Shadbolt with the aim of training business leaders to exploit the growing amount of government data made publicly available, for economic, environmental and social value.

The new EU incubator is based on the success of the Open Data Institute’s own startup programme, which provides funding and hands-on support for start-ups. In the last twelve months ODI startups that use or produce data as part of their services have generated over £12 million.

Under the ODI scheme, a startup called Open Utility secured £500 million this month to develop an innovative new peer-to-peer electricity marketplace that will enable electricity generators to sell directly to consumers, who will have full transparency over where their power comes from and how to source the best deals.

The new EU-wide open data incubator forms part of a €14.4 million initiative to catalyse open data initiatives across Europe, which will also include an EU-wide research network and an academy for training data scientists.

Alan Dobie

Johnathon Jacobs

Alan Dobie was assistant editor at Vitesse Media Plc before moving on to a content producer role at Reed Business Information. He has over 17 years of experience in the publishing industry and has held...

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