Exchanging data between multiple parties securely is a major issue for many government departments and corporations in Australia. It is amazing today that even with so many cloud based services in the storage space how many organisations still use basic devices like a thumb drive to exchange important data between them to gain insights; the problem is it’s risky, especially in fields like government, security and health, to name just a few.
Sydney-based startup Data Republic, founded by Paul McCarney and Danny Gilligan is looking to de-risk this with its platform, which is a trust framework and secure product that allows users to exchange data safely and securely and make money in the process.
This will be McCarney’s fourth startup with his previous three, Decide Interactive, Life Events Media and Quotify Technologies, all having been acquired successfully. Since then McCarney has been consulting with a number of scalable startup ventures around the globe and sits on the board of both TradeMe, based in New Zealand, and Australian ISP provider iiNet, which was recently acquired by TPG.
“In that journey of three years, I’ve spoken to a lot of executives, board members and controlling groups, mostly around their ambitions when it comes to data and what they’re doing with data in order to better contextualise and personalise their offerings to their customers,” says McCarney. “I came to realise what sort of data are they using and that most companies have got some sort of degree of personalisation and ambition.
“When you think through that problem, you find that 99 percent of the customer’s time is spent not with that company but spent doing other stuff. Any sort of insight from other data sets is mostly expressed or survey-based, which affects the outcomes of the survey as opposed to allowing you to assess the actual behaviour. For example, if you ask a person if they are going to buy a mobile phone in the next six months, they might say yes; however if you are able to see that the last time they bought one was 2 years ago, and they ended up buying one this year, then that behaviour is way more valuable than someone who is saying they would, which is what the survey is all based on.”
The Data Republic platform enables multilateral data sharing and analytics as well as data exchange. Users are able to build data insights inside the startup’s inbuilt data workspace from other data sets and exchange or sell that data. What sits underneath this is a legal framework.
Data Republic is set upon creating a legal environment where two organisations are able to share data and understanding that allows for a user contributing data to exchange it, as well becoming a user of the other data and lay out the standards and prerequisites, responsibilities and liabilities that incur as a results of the opt-in environment; each individual data exchange is done on a term sheet basis.
“Then on top of that we build a platform,” says McCarney. “We built a technical platform which enables or gives users who want to exchange data the technical capabilities to do that, as well as provide insights to a degree and give them the ability to develop a segment of data to enable their own customers to gain more insight.”
From a commercial perspective, Data Republic makes its money taking a percentage of revenue generated via its users when selling their data using the platform. To date the startup has raised just under $2 million in funds; all of this came from within Australia including a portion from Reinventure, a firm backed by Westpac Bank (which Gilligan – who is not in an active exec role – helps to manage).
The next year for the startup is all about scaling the business, and educating organisations on how they can use their unique data for their own competitive advantage.
“We’re talking to a lot of organisations right now around how they can use data for their own competitive advantage or how they can market their customers in a well governed manner,” says McCarney.
Data Republic has intentions to complete a Series A funding round before Christmas or by early 2016.