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case study

The Data Exchange Welsh company set to revolutionize how “big data” is exchanged and interpreted; receives major grant to spur growth. Wales-based software company, The Data Exchange, is preparing to launch a web-based marketplace to facilitate the sale, exchange and management of “big data” across industry sectors. More aptly explained as the “the eBay of data,” the flexible platform is based on the premise of data as a commodity with a quantifiable value, and could potentially revolutionize the uses and exchange of data. The Opportunity CEO Susan Hopley, a U.K. native, has more than 20 years of experience working in the technology subsector of the U.S. travel industry. On a daily basis, travel companies touch millions of users, from consumers to businesses. If they were to track and manage all of this data, not only would this be a great expense, but the sheer size of the data sets— ranging from a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes—is far too large to manage and analyze with common software tools. However, if shared and utilized efficiently, the Attendees at The Data Exchange’s recent Board meeting hosted by the IMF in Washington, DC. Organizations represented include Acquis, depth and breadth for analyzing AON, A.T. Kearney, the Airlines Reporting Commission, GRASP human behavior and predicting Technologies, Radius, and the Welsh Government. market trends, far beyond the travel sector, would be limitless. Kearney, the International Monetary and interviewed participants from Hopley recognized this potential every segment of the travel industry, Fund (IMF), the Airlines Reporting opportunity, and in 2010, gathered Commission and Amadeus, and set from airlines and global distribution an advisory team of corporate out to unlock the potential of data systems, to hotel chains and travel buyers, suppliers and consultants, as a revenue stream. Over more than management companies. including representatives from A.T. a year, Hopley conducted research,


Hopley eventually narrowed the functionality of the data exchange concept to a marketplace, similar to a stock or commodity exchange. Together with researchers in the department of Computer Science at the University of Bangor in North Wales, Hopley began to develop a platform that could support these functions. In January 2012, the company launched a beta site, enlisting traders on an invitationonly basis, initially from the travel sector based on Hopley’s industry expertise. Based on the success of these trials, the Exchange platform is set to go live to a broader business base by the end of 2012, with the complete framework to allow sellers to control the data elements they sell, as well as to whom they sell. Buyers are verified, for security purposes, and can rate the quality of the data, allowing sellers with higher ratings to charge more for their product. The Case for Wales From the beginning, Hopley and her team identified Europe as the location to base The Data Exchange. Europe’s data laws are far less porous than those in the U.S., and it was critical that customers should feel completely comfortable uploading their data to the Exchange marketplace. With advice from a

Wales Account Manager, in less than nine months The Data Exchange was successful in securing a £425,000 ($689,820) grant through the Welsh Government in January 2012. The non-repayable grant was awarded based on The Data Exchange hiring 35 employees in Wales, the majority of which will require masters or further research degrees in IT. Leveraging the existing relationship with the University of Bangor, and the University of Wales network as a feeder channel, Hopley hopes to have a full team in place by the end of 2013.

“The support we have received from the Welsh Government has been significant to our success. Wales’ commitment to supporting research focused on industrial collaboration allows for a seamless transfer of skills, knowledge and talent, and generates an exciting culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Their comprehensive network in the U.S. has opened many doors for us in terms of potential investors and general awareness of our offering.”

With a Board comprised mainly of representatives from U.S. Susan Hopley companies, The Data Exchange CEO also is leveraging the extensive The Data Exchange network and resources of the Welsh Government team in North America, who have been instrumental in connecting the company with potential contacts to develop their For more information contact business in the U.S. market. the Welsh Government’s North American Office. While initial development is focused on the travel industry, Hopley and Address: 845 Third Avenue her team are optimistic that the 9th Floor, New York, NY 10022 data marketplace will provide the Tel: 212.745.0392 financial incentives for companies to produce and enhance the quality Web: of data across industries. For more information, please visit:

Wales case study - The Data Exchange