Data Pitch: a new Europe-wide data accelerator launches today


  • Up to 50 startups and SMEs to receive equity-free funding of up to €100k
  • European Commission commits €7.1m into data driven innovation, and €4.8M to directly fund startups and SMEs over the next 3 years
  • Startups will work with data from established businesses to tackle top industry and societal challenges
  • Data Pitch follows the lead of Open Data Incubator Europe (ODINE), whose 57 successful projects generated €16M in sales and investment since its launch in 2014, and created 268 jobs
  • The three-year project will be delivered by the Open Data Institute, The University of Southampton, Portuguese innovation company Beta-i and French data marketplace platform Dawex. It is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Announced today, Data Pitch is a new European-funded project bringing together established businesses and startups to meet today’s challenges with data.

Data Pitch will provide up to 50 European startups and SMEs with world-class business support including: up to €100K equity-free funding, expert mentoring, investment opportunities, and access to data from established businesses and the public sector.

Data Pitch is also recruiting businesses and other organisations to share their data via a new, secure data innovation lab, based at the University of Southampton. They will also help define the challenges along with the Data Pitch team and a range of industry experts spanning from agriculture to health. Startups will be encouraged to use this data to address the challenges by developing innovative products and services.

Startups and SMEs will be able to apply for a place on Data Pitch from 1 July 2017.

Successful startups will be selected in October and November 2017, and the first cohort will join in December 2017. Each startup will be on the programme for six months.

The ambition is to create an innovation ecosystem for Europe, where larger organisations work closely with agile startups to innovate and learn from each other, using data as an enabler to solve problems.

Elena Simperl, Professor at University of Southampton and Data Pitch project Director said:

Data Pitch will create a European ecosystem for data-driven innovation. In the digital age, every organisation – public or private, big or small – generates and owns substantial data assets. Not all of them have the opportunity to use this data effectively. With Data Pitch, we take an established open innovation model and apply it at European scale – we pair some of the most creative entrepreneurial minds in 28 countries and help them to solve data challenges that matter – for the economy, for the environment, for science, and for society as a whole.

Jeni Tennison, CEO at the ODI said:

Startups have the skills, agility and energy to create novel and innovative solutions using data. Corporates need to understand the benefits of publishing and sharing data to take advantage of this innovation and realise the efficiencies, product opportunities and increased productivity that effective use of data can bring. Data Pitch will allow both corporates and startups to experiment with ways of encouraging open innovation using data in a safe environment.

Data Pitch will begin by running online and offline ‘datathons’ in Spring 2017, around themes including smart cities, health and wellbeing, and food and agriculture. Ideas for the datathons will be crowdsourced and put forward by data providers, bringing together startups, data scientists and experts to work on a case during a hackathon.

For more information go to:

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What is data asymmetry?

You’ve just parked your car. Google Maps offers to record your current location so you can find where you parked your car. It also lets you note how much parking time you have available.

Sharing this data allows Google Maps to provide you

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List of Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) member schools released as open data

Post: 15 March 2017

I recently requested from the Education Funding Agency a list of academy schools (or academy trusts) that are members of the Risk Protection Arrangement. The RPA is a comprehensive government-backed alternative to insurance. Membership is open to all academies and free schools.


Continue reading

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Some tips for open data ecosystem mapping

At Open Data Camp last month I pitched to run a session on mapping open data ecosystems. Happily quite a few people were interested in the topic, so we got together to try out the process and discuss the ideas.

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When an international partnership works: growing open data startups in Mexico

Emma Truswell reports from Mexico City on how a partnership between the ODI, the Mexican government and an NGO has strengthened an international relationship, a government policy programme and a talented group of startups


Representatives from Labora startups and the National Digital Office of Mexico visiting London in November 2016

Mexico and the UK seem unlikely partners at first glance. We do not share a language, a legal system or a continent. But as Mexico negotiates its place in the Americas and the UK contemplates its future outside the European Union, both countries are looking for new partners and new ways of thinking about their challenges.

London (the biggest city in Europe) and Mexico City (the biggest city in the Americas) share priorities such as managing transport, air pollution and population growth. Each have thriving technology sectors, enormous energy in their startup scene, and plenty to learn from each other.

Another common thread between the countries is the strong open data programmes led by their national governments. For almost three years now, the Open Data Institute and the Government of Mexico have been working together to open Mexico’s national data infrastructure to encourage transparency, innovation and entrepreneurship. In search of new ways to demonstrate the value of open data, we partnered with DEMOS, an outstanding Mexican NGO supporting startups and civic tech, to create Labora.

Labora helps to create social change by supporting Mexico’s open data programme and its tech entrepreneurs in three main ways.

Building business

By bringing together and supporting startups using open data to help build their business, it supports the drive towards open data in Mexico City. The startups in the pilot programme of Labora are outstanding examples of open data businesses. They are teams solving a wide range of social problems in novel ways.

Their work inspires other entrepreneurs, in Mexico and beyond to see open data as a tool for gaining new insights or building new tools. And as the team in the Office of the President of Mexico strengthens its open data policy, they are valuable examples of what is possible with local ideas and local teams.

Creating an interconnected support system

Labora provides a support system for startups. Labora offers training, networking and mentoring which has been hugely effective. (Every one of our startups moved up a stage during the programme: from idea to minimum viable product (MVP), from MVP to first customer, from early customers to growing market fit.) But other programmes offer similar guidance, in Mexico and around the world.

More uniquely, Labora offers a support system that connects groups in new ways. Working with government, an international institute and an outstanding local organisation, our startups have benefited from a range of expertise and approaches. We are proud that our programme created a new connection between government, civil society and entrepreneurs.

The Government of Mexico organised seven roundtables where Labora startups met with the civil servants responsible for the data they need for their apps. Sitting across a table is very different from sending emails; it enabled startups to establish a direct and productive relationships with public offices.

Throughout the programme, Labora startups chatted on Skype with data experts based in the UK. When they visited the UK in November 2016, startups from Mexico met with British teams who are also using open data to build their businesses. In return, we have brought five great British data-driven startups with us this week to help foster these relationships and build new connections between Mexico and the UK.

Forging friendships

The third benefit is easier to prove with photos than words, and it means the most to me. As my colleague Jessica Weereratne and I attend meetings and events with the startups we brought over from the UK, we are enjoying sharing with them the friendship we have built between two countries, three great teams and the startups we’ve supported.


We look forward to the start of many more connections during our trade visit to Mexico City this week, and hope the Labora programme helps to show the importance to the UK of growing our relationship with Mexico. We are hugely grateful to the UK Embassy in Mexico for support that has made this programme possible and demonstrated the importance of partnerships in supporting change: for an international relationship, a government policy programme, and a talented group of startups.

This week, the Open Data Institute is leading a trade delegation to Mexico City design along with five British data-driven startups: Bloom, ET Index, Globechain, Open Chain, and Red Ninja. This delegation was made possible by the energy, ideas, contacts and efforts of DEMOS (powered by PIDES and Dev.F), the National Digital Office of Mexico and the British Embassy in Mexico in organising our visit.

Emma Truswell is Deputy Head of Advisory at the ODI. Follow @EmmaTruswell on Twitter.

If you have ideas or experience in open data that you’d like to share, pitch us a blog or tweet us at @ODIHQ.

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ODI Podcast: Open data stories from Argentina and Kenya

From public sector reform to building an initiative from the ground up, open data leaders from Argentina and Kenya share what’s worked for their programmes, what hasn’t and how we can improve equality of opportunity in data and tech
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Ahead of Open Data Day, Linet Kwamboka and Sandra Elena share stories from their experiences running open data initiatives in different contexts.

Linet Kwamboka is coordinator of Kenya’s Open Data Initiative.


With a background in computer science and software engineering, Linet’s ‘impressive amounts of geekiness’ took her from consulting for the World Bank to coordinating Kenya’s national open data initiative.

In promoting open data in government, here Linet shares how important dataviz and blogging have been to proving it isn’t ‘just about transparency’, and how policy and community engagement are as important as technology.


Sandra Elena is coordinator of the Open Justice Programme at Argentina’s Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.


Struggling to find the data she needed for research led Sandra to become an advocate of open data, focusing on the justice sector.

Here Sandra shares how she encourages justice institutions to publish open data, one strategy being to feature it on a participatory platform for key stakeholders – from businesses to community groups – to help define justice priorities.


In the second part of the podcast, Linet and Sandra discuss equality of opportunity in the tech sectors of Argentina and Kenya and how it can be improved, along with their experiences as women in data and visions for the future.


This podcast was presented by Anna Scott and produced by Freya Hellier.

It follows a Friday lunchtime lecture that Linet and Sandra gave on achieving sustainable development data.

If you have ideas or experience in open data that you’d like to share, pitch us a blog or tweet us at @ODIHQ.

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Open Data Camp 4: bigger, better, wetter

This post is a repost of Giuseppe’s Medium blog post I am slowly coming back to life after Open Data Camp. Being in Cardiff was amazing, if not for the weather, which is partly to blame for my current heavy cold. I have not been that wet since I walked up the Snowdon six years ago. … Continue reading Open Data Camp 4: bigger, better, wetter

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Responsible data visualisation in our storytelling

Visualisation is a huge part of making data accessible – but do we run the risk of distorting the data by imposing a visual narrative on it? How do we visualise responsibly in our storytelling?

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What makes for a good API?

What makes for a good API? What makes for a bad one? Do we even need APIs?

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Open Data for Evil

Exposing data is a good thing, right? Well, some people want to do bad things with it. So what’s the best way to stop them; or at least mitigate the consequences? Team Sith and Team Jedi discussed.

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