Aussie data exchange platform Data Republic has grand plans for the future, which started to unfold this week. The company launched its Open Data Marketplace, a governed marketplace for organisations to list, exchange, and collaborate on data exchange projects in a secure environment.

“I would say that we would be the next Atlassian, but I actually think we are going to do much bigger [things] than what Atlassian has done. I think we are doing something that’s so much bigger that nobody has ever even thought about,” Ryan Peterson, CTO of Data Republic, told Which-50 between sessions at the Hadoop Summit in Melbourne this week.

Data Republic was founded in 2014 in Sydney and has designed a data exchange platform built on top of a trusted legal framework. It’s backed by three big investors: Westpac, NAB and Qantas.

The size of the opportunity for Data Republic comes down to organisations being able to understand the value of their data and being able to extract that value.

Peterson believes data valuation is the next really big thing.

“Think about a company’s valuation. Say you find a company worth $1 billion, the latent asset of data sitting inside a storage unit is not valued at anything,” Peterson explains. “It might be indirectly valued as goodwill but, if you actually want to value a company and look at the data’s value, you need to have enough exchanges to understand the market supply and demand metrics around that data.

“Now that we’ve got an actual marketplace where exchanges can happen more freely, we will get to a point where we will understand the valuation of that data and we can tell people what their information is worth.”

Take the example of Caesar’s Entertainment. The customer data in its loyalty program was valued at $US1 billion when the casino group entered bankruptcy.

Data is a new currency and Peterson likened a data exchange to the shift from keeping money in a safe to moving it to a bank. “We think we are going to be the bank for data, where people feel comfortable and trusting putting data in and letting data flow around and turn into a monetary asset. We have to make sure it maintains the highest security and the highest trust level.”

Building a data exchange business will very likely give rise to competitors.

“It would shock me if we didn’t see more and more competitors coming creating more data marketplaces and exchanges,” Peterson said.

Getting Back To The Marketplace…

It was standing room only at the launch of Data Republic’s data marketplace this week at fintech hub Stone and Chalk.

Investors Westpac and Qantas Loyalty are among the brands that are already listing their data on Open Data Marketplace. Open government datasets from, ABS and Bureau of Meteorology are also listed to allow users to analyse and combine proprietary data to reveal new insights. Data Republic clips the ticket on the way through.

Consumers’ privacy is preserved, with personal information encrypted and stored separately in Westpac’s Databank.

Users must apply and be authorised to get access to the marketplace, and Data Republic’s technology provides organisations with complete oversight and control around who can access its data as well governing the permitted application or use of the data once exchanged.

Paul McCarney, co-founder and CEO of Data Republic, said there are significant productivity and social benefits that are already being unlocked by the open data trend.

“Whether it’s personalising rewards for loyal customers, informing urban planning with up-to-date data, identifying fraudulent activity to lower premiums, or just ensuring that a local retailer has enough umbrellas on a rainy day — the applications of secure, privacy-compliant data exchanges are endless,” McCarney said.

“The data exists. With Data Republic’s technology, organisations and governments now have the secure infrastructure to leverage it without risking the privacy of consumers or the security of the data.”

The Social Problems We Can’t Solve (Yet)

Data Republic is developing a social good program which, once launched, will have options for NGOs and research organisations to access and work with the data. The business believes making it easier for different data sets to move around will provide solutions to social problems.

“We spent quite a lot of energy looking at issues in the world and how there is a major lack of data available to help solve these issues,” Peterson said.

“We think to get people really trusting data exchanges we need to focus our energy on those social good programs first — so it becomes less about you sharing my information and more about big world problems,” Peterson said.

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