Information for companies providing data:

Why is data so important for business growth?

Sometimes, what data is worth is most evident to the ones who control it, and perhaps their competitors and collaborators. In most cases, however, organisations are yet to unleash the real potential of their data. What is clear, however, is what it takes to do so: enabling reuse and integration with other data assets to build so-called Big Data Value chains, in which open, shared, and closed data are used in combination. To realise these data chains organisations need to re-think access to data and take an open approach to innovation – in particular, by working together with startups and entrepreneurs – to find the most promising data-driven business models, products, and services that benefit their business.

How do I work with Data Pitch?

Working together with Data Pitch is straightforward:

  1. Define challenge and select datasets First, we help you define a challenge that you would like explored with your data, or select a dataset that you believe may have substantial value for you.
  2. Data sharing agreement We agree on which data sets will be shared with Data Pitch and how. Our legal team can offer guidance on best practices around data protection and the ethics of data sharing, while our technical team will ensure you are comfortable with the the hosting options.  We sign a contract to formalise our partnership.
  3. Datathons We will organise open Datathons which you may choose to participate in to further explore the scope of the challenges you have defined and meet some of the companies that could engage with your data.  
  4. Competition Data Pitch organises a Europe-wide competition (‘the call’), reaching out to hundreds of thousands of startups and SMEs, looking for the best ideas on how to solve the challenge you’ve identified.
  5. Shortlisting and interviews Together with you, we shortlist the best ideas and interview the candidates.
  6. Define deliverables, milestones and KPIs The selected startups and SMEs join the Data Pitch incubator. Based on your aims, we help them to define tangible outcomes and KPIs for six month projects.
  7. Incubation Each idea is funded by Data Pitch with up to €100k. Data Pitch also offers successful applicants bespoke technical, business, legal, and marketing support as part of a European incubator. You receive regular reports to ensure what they produce is truly useful for your organisation.
  8. New opportunities After six months, the companies graduate the incubation programme. You have the opportunity to continue to collaborate with those companies which have shown greatest promise.

Can I select the startup(s) my company works with?

As a data owner you are invited to join our Data Innovators Board, and participate in the selection of the companies that will tackle the challenges you have put forward.

What is the potential impact of  Data Pitch?

Similar projects run by Data Pitch partners have delivered high impact results.

Open Data Incubator for Europe (ODINE)

A  6 month incubator for open data entrepreneurs across Europe, ODINE aims to support the next generation of digital businesses and support them to fast-track the development of their products.

  • 1176 SME and startup applications
  • 57 successful projects
  • 18 countries
  • 265 jobs created
  • 14.7m sales and investment unlocked


Open Data Challenge Series

A series of 7 challenges over tracks including food, energy and education to generate innovative and sustainable solutions to social challenges.

  • 84 team applications
  • 21 shortlisted solutions
  • 75 -141 jobs predicted
  • £5.3  – £10.8 gross value added for each £1 invested in the challenge


Is Data Pitch focused on a particular domain?

Data Pitch can engage with any industry sector that you choose.  Dependent on your requirements, tracks may cover sectors including environment, energy, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, public sector, healthcare, media, finance, telecoms, retail and tourism.

How does data sharing work?

To create solutions to the challenges you’ve identified, startups and SMEs will need to have access to your data. You can share it with Data Pitch in a way that works for you – legally, technically and organisationally – from your choice of API to high-security hosting facilities with physical authentication. Which option is used will depend on a number of factors such as technical and regulatory constraints and your own preferences. Data Pitch will assist with discussions and reviewing alternatives, but the final decision is for you, the data owner, to make. The datasets you decide to share will be accessible only to those startups and SMEs that have been accepted into the incubator. You will be part of the panel selecting and interviewing them.

There are no restrictions to the datasets you decide to put forward. They can be in any accessible format, from any domain, big or small, open or not yet disclosed to third parties. We offer a range of data sharing options:

  • You host the data You may wish to use your own infrastructure. This is particularly relevant where it is required that the data has no delegation to third parties or where the data might include personal data.  You may also wish to provide an API to the data.
  • Data is hosted in a commercial cloud You may decide to offer a copy of the data for experimentation purposes using services such as AWS or Azure. Data Pitch is happy to assist in any way you need to make this happen.
  • We host the data for you DataPitch can host your data for you. This option provides multiple levels of security depending on what is required:
    • Connection to the public internet through Janet, the UK university network
    • Defining a secure zone Data Pitch via a standard proxy – an academic infrastructure hosting all the academic services and laboratories
    • As above, but with a further proxy to create an isolated and secure zone for Data Pitch. The infrastructure hosts a limited number of research project servers and it is managed independently
    • Hosting on a separate, BIL3 and ISO27001-compliant network.  To access this network physical authentication is required.


  • Data is hosted by the startup/SME In some cases, it maybe be more appropriate for the dataset to be stored by the company working with it, especially if they already have strong analytics infrastructure. You, Data Pitch and the applicant decide the terms and conditions for data hosting before the company is admitted to the incubator.


You retain the rights on and control over your data, which will only be used for the purposes of the experiments accepted for funding. After the incubation, you have the choice to:

  • remove the data from the platform (effectively closing it back)
  • keep it published as shared data (the Data Pitch infrastructure will be available at least two years after the end of the project for this particular purpose)
  • release (parts of) the data in the public domain

Data Pitch has comprehensive expertise in any aspect of data hosting, management, analytics, and governance. To understand your needs we will ask you to complete a short technical questionnaire so that we can suggest the most appropriate options for you.

What paperwork do we need to sign?

Your agreement to join the Data Pitch open innovation programme will be with the Data Pitch consortium, represented by its coordinator, the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. The startup will similarly sign an agreement with Data Pitch, governing what they have to deliver and when, their KPIs, and what they are allowed to do with your data. In addition, you can also define a third non-disclosure agreement for the startup to sign to ensure any related commercial knowledge is held in confidence.

We take numerous steps to ensure appropriate legal compliance and protect your rights. We will ask you to complete a short questionnaire that we will review to enable us to put in place the right security, constrictions and licensing to keep your data safe but usable.

What are the datathons?

The datathons are opportunities for startups and SMEs to experiment with a synthesized or subset version of your data. At the end of the period you will have greater insight into the possibilities in your data, and also some learning about how it might be used. It’s also an opportunity to get to learn a little more about the startups who are interested in working with your data.