Top 5 Unexpected Startup Opportunities Using Big Data and Open Data

By Wladimir Hinz, Altitude Accelerator Tech Blogger

Startups own the future of Big Data and Open Data.

Open Data and Big Data are all about analytics and connectivity. Often, critical relationships in data remain unnoticed because it’s too difficult to analyze such complex information. Capturing all these interactions and connections is vital for businesses to generate value and not miss any available opportunity.

It’s not strange that this is one of the fastest-growing segments of the IT industry. It’s expected to grow 22% this year reaching $33.31 Billion, and projected to grow up to $84 Billion by 2016, which is a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17%.

Between 80% – 90% of business leaders are moving their operations toward adopting Big Data platforms, and many of them have started their own projects in order to seize a competitive advantage. The trend is obvious: businesses want to easily and effectively analyze data and gather useful insights from it.

The fascinating aspect about this is that complex data can be derived from almost everything, whether it’s temperature, movement, social media responses, client tracking, bacteria growth or educational systems. The data is out there, someone just has to come up with a way to analyze it and gather insights about what’s happening. As a result, it shouldn’t be surprising to find this type of data analytics being used for the most unexpected purposes.

Opportunities are vast right now, so it’s a good idea for startups to focus on these unexplored territories before the dust settles:

1. Healthcare: This sector is positioning itself to be one of the most important for Big Data, as many aspects of the human body can be tracked, analyzed and aggregated. GNS Healthcare is a great example of what can be done.

But not everything transpires inside health care facilities, the potential is even bigger when talking about patient monitoring (Sentrian,

There are also fairly unique startups in this area, that offer, among other things, human genome sequencing (Illumina), and technologies that provide early insights into babies’ health developments (Counsyl). There’s even a joint venture between AYASDI and to analyze the impact of childhood polio vaccinations.

There are plenty of promising ideas in this area, especially when they’re combined with wearables (Conversa Health).

2. Sports: From betting platforms like Youbetme to wearables that track and analyze body movements (Platinga), there’s many ways to take advantage of all the statistics that are involved in sports (Automated Insights, MYagonism). There are some like Catapult that are even capable of predicting player injuries.

3. Machine Learning: Although not really unexpected, it’s truly interesting how machine learning startups offer creative ways to produce predictions that are easily consumed by businesses. There’s a wide range of services: predictions about what and which customers are going to buy (GPredictive), the use of algorithms to predict the future (io), or models that can, based on data, maximize opportunities for businesses (Nutonian).

4. Public Policy: Analytics systems are helping to make public policy smarter, more efficient and more accountable. For example, mark43 is making it easier and faster for police to enter incident reports and run them through an “intelligence algorithm” to find connections that could be useful for solving cases.

On the other hand, Outline can model the impact of public policy simulating scenarios with open economic data, potentially accelerating decision making and allowing for constant monitoring.

Open Data Nation is another startup that uses open data to create statistical analysis for city-wide solutions regarding city public policy.

5. Education: Online learning platforms that are directed at helping students academically are growing too. Clever is one of the best examples. Tutor-like systems exist such as Schoolzilla and are mainly directed toward children that are struggling with school. Infantium is another startup designed for younger school kids.

There are plenty of innovative and interesting ideas that rely on Big Data and Open Data but it’s fair to say that this sector is still developing. The high priority of gaining more and more precise insights about how processes work is sure to continue as businesses go beyond the constraints that are holding them back from being fully attentive and analytical about all of their operations.


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