Sir Tim Berners-Lee to help start-ups with ‘open data’

The Open Data Institute, which is due to open in September, will focus on ‘incubating’ start-ups that believe they can harness open data as well as providing training for individuals on how public data can be analysed, published and commercialised reports The Telegraph.

Led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, and Prof Nigel Shadbolt of the University of Southampton, the Institute has been funded with an initial £10m over five years by the government ‘innovation agency’, the Technology Strategy Board.

It has been set up as a private company limited by guarantee and is in talks to secure funding from private sources including a number of FTSE 100 companies.
Prof Shadbolt said: “We can help start-ups build viable companies and help them understand what data is there and what they can do with it.”

He said tools could be developed to provide a spotlight on regional procurement spending, for example, “which would help people in the supply chain and could even be sold back to local authorities”.

Start-ups who pass a competitive process are likely to be given subsidised rents, resources and facilities at the Institute’s base in Shoreditch, east London, near the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ tech hub which has been supported by the Government.

“Success will be chucking out 12 companies a year who have open data credentials who can fly the nest and will be at the stage to make a pitch [for funding].”

Cabinet office minister Francis Maude said the Government’s aim was make “to make the UK an international role model in exploiting the potential of open data to generate new businesses and stimulate growth”.