The University of Southampton

New Europe-wide data accelerator to tackle problems in the digital economy

Published: 14 July 2017
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Data Pitch, a new accelerator led by Electronics and Computer Science expertise at the University of Southampton, is set to bring together businesses, organisations and startups to meet the modern world’s challenges with data.

The three-year project will provide up to 50 European startups and SME’s with world-class business support including up to €100,000 equity free funding, expert mentoring, investment opportunities and access to data from businesses and the public sector.

Data Pitch will be delivered by the University of Southampton, the Open Data Institute, Portuguese company Beta-i and French data marketplace platform Dawex. It is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and follows the success of the Open Data Incubator for Europe (ODINE) programme.

Professor Elena Simperl, Data Pitch project Director and researcher in Southampton’s Web and Internet Science (WAIS) group, says: “Data Pitch is doing something very different and important for the digital economy. It is the first ever data accelerator built to bring together organisations from all over Europe that own data and would like to see it used to solve some of their most interesting business problems, with startups which have fresh ideas for data products and services. Over the past six months Data Pitch has worked together with various stakeholders to design an open competition for startups and SMEs from all over the EU, built on 12 data challenges.

“Some of these challenges have been defined together with data sharing organisations in our network; others have been defined through consultations with the public and experts. I am very happy with the result, as I believe it truly illustrates the diversity of the EU data economy: from cross cutting business challenges, such as how to extract value from supply chain data and customer records, to how to design new AI algorithms, apps and services in vital areas such as healthcare, manufacturing, transport or tourism. As we're launching the call for proposals, I am very much looking forward to see hundreds of new, creative ideas on how to solve these challenges coming through.”

Applications are open for Data Pitch’s first cohort, which will begin a six-month programme in February 2018. Startups and SME’s have until 1st October to enter, with successful companies invited to interviews the week commencing 30th October.

The project has also announced the first official data providers: businesses and other organisations who will share their data and who have already helped define the challenges for startups to address. They include: ● German rail company Deutsche Bahn ● Data management provider Uniserv GmBH ● Italian big data and machine learning company SpazioDati ● Portuguese retail business Sonae Retail ● The UK’s IMIN, an open data scaleup working with health and fitness data which previously went through the ODINE programme.

The challenges will relate to issues in Retail, Sports & Recreation, Data Analytics, Transport, Data Management, Health & Wellness, Empowering Users Online, Lifelong Learning, Living, Smart Manufacturing, Logistics & Maintenance and Tourism.

For more information, including the process for applications to the first cohort, visit: www.datapitch.eu

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