MADRID -- Telefónica has today announced that it is to play a leading role in establishing a new EU-wide, industry-focused network of open data start-ups called ODINE - the “Open Data INcubator for Europe” – which will be funded by the European Commission. Open data startups are those that harness openly available data sets to establish new business models, develop innovative ideas or products and accelerate growth.
ODINE will be backed by a consortium of open-data leaders including the University of Southampton - who will lead the consortium and is home to Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt- alongside Telefónica and its Open Future initiative that comprises its start-up accelerator Wayra and other initiatives in support of entrepreneurship and innovation, the UK’s Open Data Institute (ODI), the Guardian, the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany (OKFN) and Fraunhofer IAIS.
Leveraging the expertise of all consortium members, the primary mission of ODINE will be to incentivise start-ups to successfully use open data – defined by the ODI as “information that is available for anyone to use, for any purpose, at no cost”. This will include support in terms of financial, data, and computing resources. Telefónica will provide the computing infrastructure which will be vital in facilitating the use of open data sets, and Wayra will be using its existing expertise in this space to help shape the incubation process while also leading the start-up outreach efforts. Wayra now hosts more than 400 new digital businesses in 13 cities in Europe and Latin America.
The EU has committed a €7.8 million investment to realise a 30-month incubator programme that will recruit new startups every two months - approximately 50 startups in total. Echoing the ‘best in class’ incubation model of Wayra and the whole Open Future network, as well as the individual expertise of each consortium member, interested start-ups will be able to apply to join the ODINE programme by submitting a mini-project proposal to a competitive call. €5.5 million of the total investment will be allocated to successful applicants helping them to develop their concepts. This amounts to around €50-100k per company. In addition, each start-up will receive mentoring, technology, infrastructure and networking support. At the end of the mini-project, the most promising participants will be invited to be present at a graduation ceremony where open data startups will be showcased in front of media and investors including Wayra, Fraunhofer Venture, Telefónica Ventures and others.
Richard Benjamins, Group Director Business Intelligence & Big Data at Telefónica, said: "The ODINE consortium champions two areas that are at the heart of Telefónica - entrepreneurship and open data. “Telefónica has a strong background in supporting these two areas, whether it be through the establishment of Wayra academies in Europe and Latin America; support of open web standards; our Open Future initiative or our investment and support of FI-Ware, a private-public partnership that offers a range of open source, API-enabled tools intended to help developers and innovators build future internet applications.
“We realise, however, that simply opening up data sets is not enough. What is needed are open ecosystems based on open data: ecosystems that enable new ideas and help new businesses to start up and flourish. ODINE is designed to do exactly this, which is why are very excited to be part of this expert consortium which will accelerate open data innovation, growth and entrepreneurialism across Europe.”
Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF)