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Make Data Work
Oct 15–17, 2014 • New York, NY

The Open Data 500: Building Businesses on Free Government Data

Joel Gurin (Center for Open Data Enterprise), Laura Manley (The GovLab at NYU)
5:05pm–5:45pm Thursday, 10/16/2014
Business & Industry
Location: 1 E10/1 E11
Tags: ngo
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)
Slides:   1-PDF 

Envision a business resource that companies can use to deliver better healthcare, offer in-depth investment tools, provide energy more efficiently, improve transportation, analyze market and social trends, or offer consumer services through mobile apps and the Web. Now imagine that this resource is free. That’s open government data: Public data that anyone can access and use to create new ventures and opportunities. Using examples from several sectors of the economy, Joel Gurin will show how businesses are putting open government data to work.

Joel will describe these companies’ different revenue models, the kinds of data they have found most useful, and what both startups and established businesses can learn from them. He and project manager Laura Manley will share insights from the Open Data 500, a project of the GovLab at NYU, which is the first comprehensive study of U.S.-based companies that use open government data as a key business resource. The 500 businesses in this ongoing study show the wide variety of companies, ranging from two-person startups to billion-dollar enterprises, that are using open government data successfully.

This talk will also cover new findings from a series of Open Data Roundtables being convened by the GovLab. These Roundtables bring together leading federal agencies, including Commerce, HHS, Labor, Transportation, Treasury, and the USDA, with the companies that use their data. They’re designed to identify the datasets that have the greatest business value, find ways to make them more usable, and increase their value to businesses of all kinds.

Photo of Joel Gurin

Joel Gurin

Center for Open Data Enterprise

Joel Gurin is an expert on consumer issues, information policy, and the application of open data. He is currently Senior Advisor at the Governance Lab at New York University, a center dedicated to improving government through technology. There he directs the Open Data 500, the first comprehensive study of U.S.-based companies that use open government data as a key business resource ( He is the author of the new book, Open Data Now, and covers the field through his website,

Gurin served as Chair of the White House Task Force on Smart Disclosure, which studied how the federal government can help consumers by providing information on complex choices in the marketplace. From late 2009 through early 2012 he was Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission. He was previously Editorial Director and then Executive Vice President of Consumer Reports, where he launched, the world’s largest paid-subscription information-based website.

Photo of Laura Manley

Laura Manley

The GovLab at NYU

Laura Manley is Project Manager at The Governance Lab (GovLab) based at New York University. She developed and coordinates the Open Data 500, the first comprehensive study of U.S. companies that use open government data to generate new business and develop new products and services. She has over 10 years of experience working with NGOs and social enterprises in the US, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America specializing in startup strategic planning and organizational development.

Laura is also the Director of Social Entrepreneurship Research at the NYU Stern School of Business and has worked with multiple development agencies including the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the National Endowment for Democracy, UNICEF, and MasterCard Foundation. She holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Masters in Public Administration from NYU Wagner focusing on international policy and entrepreneurship.