Today’s Q&A Wednesday is with Joseph Kelly, COO of Infochimps.
Q: Give us the elevator pitch for your company?
Infochimps is a website to find, share, or sell any dataset in the world. Our collection has over 5,000 datasets on topics from number of deaths in a Rambo movie to US census data. Much of our data is free, however buyers come to us to look for data like the results from a Zogby poll on Iraqi citizens or last football season’s play-by-play data from Football Outsiders. Vendors and businesses that produce valuable data use us as a marketplace to monetize these assets.
Q: How did the company get started? Who had the idea? Was there an “A Ha!” moment?
Infochimps was founded by two researchers and physicists in Austin who were tired of the sorry state of data on the web. Data on the web is hard to find and often in messy, incompatible formats. Infochimps has gained substantial traction over the last year as a useful online repository for free datasets.
Q: What was your first indication that you really had something interesting here?
As researchers, Infochimps has already proved valuable to us as a place to share our research data. This is a already a huge resource to people in the scientific community.
Our early adopters have been our biggest supporters. They are mostly other people that are experts at working with big data, people like Mike Driscoll (http://dataspora.com/) and Pete Skomoroch (http://www.datawrangling.com/) have really helped us see what Infochimps needs to be in order to be useful.
That is without mentioning our local help in Austin, which has been huge. People like Josh Dilworth and Jason Cohen have given invaluable advice along the way. There is definitely a 1+1=3 effect here, Austin has a wonderful community to support startups.
Q: How has customer adoption been so far?
Great! A few companies signed up before our launch to sell data, including Zogby International (http://www.zogby.com/), Football Oustiders (http://www.footballoutsiders.com/) and AggData (http://www.aggdata.com/). Since our launch we have had a few other companies come out of the woodwork to talk about monetizing their data – which is exactly what we’re shooting for with the marketplace.
Giving the world better access to structured data is an important mission, one for which we have had an easy time gaining support.
Q: What can we expect to see in the future from your company?
A lot! We plan to double the size of the commons (already 5,000+ datasets) over the next six months. The marketplace will continue to grow as we add more vendors and datasets for sale.
We are working to make many of the datasets available as shared EBS volumes on Amazon Web Services, allowing anyone in the world to begin playing with data from our repository live in the cloud.
We have quite a few interesting partners that are helping to grow the commons, and help take advantage of the interesting data in our collection. Check out our blog (http://blog.infochimps.org/) for updates.
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re looking for data that might not be in our collection, or if you’d be interested in selling and sharing data on Infochimps, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up for a beta account with the invite code “austinsdata”.