Data Pitch awards

Success celebrated at ODI Summit with startup programme awards

Tue Nov 12, 2019
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An entrepreneur, a startup and a data provider received awards today at the ODI Summit from Sir Nigel Shadbolt, the UK’s AI expert and ODI co-founder, to recognise their outstanding success during the Data Pitch programme

An entrepreneur, a startup and a data provider received awards today at the ODI Summit from Sir Nigel Shadbolt, the UK’s AI expert and ODI co-founder, to recognise their outstanding success during the Data Pitch programme

We have a long-standing commitment to startups and companies wanting to innovate with them, and have also launched a competition to win a free year-long ODI membership worth up to £720. The winner joins a network of over 2,000 members, such as the Co-op, NHS Digital and the European Space Agency. Benefits include exclusive invitations to popular networking events and 30% off ODI courses.

The three award winners are two alumni and a corporate partner of Data Pitch, an EU-funded programme that ended in September 2019. Data Pitch worked with startups and corporates for three years to help them share data and build sustainable businesses. Run by the Open Data Institute (ODI), the University of Southampton, Beta-i and Dawex, Data Pitch, the programme:

  • Supported 47 startups from 13 different EU countries;
  • Worked with 11 corporate and public sector organisations (Data Providers);
  • Created 112 jobs;
  • Generated €14.8m in sales, investments and efficiencies.

Orsola De Marco, Head of Innovation Programmes at the ODI, said:

‘Sharing data enables businesses and governments to innovate and create products and services that solve sector challenges and fuel economic growth and productivity. Every company needs to think about how they can share data to unlock the economic value at scale. Organisations not thinking like this will struggle to compete on the global stage.

‘The ODI’s experience of helping a variety of stakeholders in the private and public sectors to gain value from sharing data enables us to really understand how to overcome the challenges to unlock innovation. Our commitment to startups and companies wanting to innovate with them doesn’t end now Data Pitch is over. Since 2012, the ODI has run 11 innovation programmes and supported 191 startups across 25 countries to create over £66m of impact and over 600 new jobs. We’ve achieved this by working with over 20 data providers, such as the Met Office and ARUP. We will be announcing new opportunities in 2020.’

Special achievement ODI awards

The three special achievement ODI awards celebrate the companies and entrepreneurs that actively built partnerships, innovative solutions and achieved impressive business growth.

Corporate Innovation Award

The Corporate Innovation Award was won by Greiner Packaging International. This award was presented to the data provider that demonstrated the greatest support for the growth of the data economy, through collaboration with the Data Pitch startups.

Greiner showed an unparalleled commitment to the programme, working with five different startups to help them develop a range of solutions and is now looking at potential opportunities to collaborate with them in the future.

Christian Mittermayr, Project Manager for Greiner, said: 

‘Our motivation in joining Data Pitch was to find new applications for our data, and a lot of startups have very good ideas. We found Data Pitch very helpful as it provided a framework and helped us find the right startups to work with and pre-validate them. The financial support from the EU also reduced the risks. Just looking at the data in new ways has helped us view our standard procedures in a different way. It was a unique opportunity to learn, and we would definitely recommend similar programmes to other companies.’

Startup Impact Award

The Startup Impact Award was won by Spanish startup, Recognai

The award is aimed at recognising the startup that has demonstrated the best use of the data being shared to solve an identified challenge.

Recognai worked with German Data Provider Uniserv to help improve its customer data management systems, using machine-learning. A year after taking part in Data Pitch, Recognai has continued to work with Uniserv and several of its clients. The company has more than doubled its average monthly revenue and has a pipeline of  opportunities to continue growing the business.

Daniel Vila Suero, CEO and Co-Founder of Recognai, said:

‘Data Pitch provided an important boost for our company. We were at a very early stage of the business when we saw the challenge, although we had been developing the technology for a year, and the direct involvement of Data Pitch was very useful. I even recommended Data Pitch to other Spanish startups, including Obuu who joined the second cohort.

‘Thanks to Data Pitch’s challenge, we found a real application for our technology, and we are carrying on working with Uniserv, which has been testing our model with a view to using the product for some of its clients. Recently, we started a project with DZ Bank, a large German bank, for Uniserv. We both see a lot of potential in working together in the future to roll-out the solutions we are co-developing.’

Women’s Entrepreneurship Award

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Award went to Meha Nelson, who was the Chief Technical Officer at Predina, one of the Data Pitch startups. The award is aimed at recognising an individual who has been an exemplary role model and raised the profile for female entrepreneurship, and has demonstrated courageous leadership throughout the Data Pitch programme.

Meha co-founded Predina, which developed an AI-powered analytics platform to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce costs caused by road accidents. To date, their solution has shown a real-world reduction of 25% in accidents. Meha has won several individual and company awards, and was featured on the Forbes 2019 ‘30 under 30’ list.

Meha Nelson said:

‘I am very happy to win the Female Entrepreneurship Award because I do think there is clear under-representation of women in the tech industry. When I graduated, I was often the only woman in a room full of men. It is getting better than when I started, but there is so much more potential, and it is nice to see more events being organised with inclusivity in mind. There’s still more scope for improvement, but change has started to happen and that’s a good thing.

‘Data Pitch was a great help to us. We had just finished the Entrepreneur First programme. We had funding, but we still wanted guidance. As a startup, you cannot afford to make mistakes by trial and error because you have limited resources. Data Pitch made us accountable for cash flow and activity and helped us establish a structure.’

Sectorial challenges solved through sharing data

At the ODI Summit 2019, Elena Simperl, Data Pitch programme Coordinator and Director of Southampton Data Science Academy explained how corporate and sectoral challenges can be solved through sharing data. The Data Pitch programme provided equity-free funding, mentoring, business and data training and investment opportunities. It was framed around specific challenges, which helped startups accelerate their growth while building agile solutions to help data providers meet their business needs.

For more information on ODI opportunities for startups and corporates, please visit our startups page or follow @ODIHQ and sign up to the ODI’s Week in Data newsletter.