I want to push the Data Sharing Economy so I created DataCircle, a Data Exchange network for private or business users. Single founder, working with sensitive data trying to persuade people to share, AMA ūüėć

Jan 10, 2018

Hey all, I am Chris (25 if that matters) and earlier this year (2017) I started a company DataCircle.

It is a serious roller coaster of emotions mainly because it is very people facing and people are always.. unpredictable! ūüėĪ

*Sidenote during DataCircle I started using Emojis and now love them.

But what is DataCircle and what does it solve?

We, me, you, companies generate and gather information/data and it is about time we start sharing them. This is the concept of the "Data Sharing Economy" which is the evolution of the Sharing Economy.

I could bore you to death but in short, the goal is to create a one-stop place to Find, Buy, Sell and Exchange Data Sets easy (our motto).

DataCircle has two sides, the B2B and the B2C.

B2B) Companies generate massive amount of data that are then being left unused. We have sample use-cases such as Innogy (Energy), Lufthansa (Aviation) and other SMEs in which data generated by one is worth gold for others.

Essentially buy from one sell to the other.

Our minimum sale deal has been on the ~1k size and the largest currently reaches the 4 zeros.

B2C) Here we see a need of identification and aggregation of multiple datasets in areas like Machine Learning, AI, Data Science and Civil. 

Data Transparency in all those sectors is crucial to develop them further and make people more knowledgeable.

Feel free to ask me anything about Data, Business, Startups, Living in Berlin ūüėú or my last attempt to do an AMA on reddit.

A small intro in what DataCircle aims to achieve can be found here, which is part of my talk at DataNatives Conference in Berlin about "The Data Sharing Economy"

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What influenced you to create your own company?

Dec 31, 2:52AM EST0

Have you ever worked on any similar projects?

Dec 30, 12:51PM EST0

I have not done this deal making before, however I have been working with data pipelines (taking a piece of data and transforming it on the way) ETLs, DWH and lots of data communication for e-commerce shops.

Jan 10, 11:41AM EST0

Do you operate in Germany, Europe or? Can any business buy and sell data using your services regardless of location?

Dec 30, 11:27AM EST0

We operate from Berlin Germany to ensure the outmost secure approach for both sides. 

However our clientele has no Geo restrictions.

Jan 10, 11:40AM EST0

How are people reacting to your idea? What is the overall opinion of business owners, what is the biggest objection you get?

Dec 30, 5:07AM EST0

Most people find it a really good concept, but of course if you are in a market that you don't want to buy or sell and don't look what is happening around, you won't see it.

Jan 10, 11:39AM EST0

Are there any legal limitations to selling data?

Dec 29, 1:18PM EST0

Ofcourse, someone asked bellow a similar question. You cannot sell data about illegal activities, content that the user doesnt own, private data or in general data that can identify a person.

In short these are the key rules of thumb.

Dec 29, 1:27PM EST0

What are the most enjoyable parts of your work?

Dec 29, 12:06PM EST0

You always get a boost of happines when you are about to close a deal. For me that is the one key thing, if I close a deal I am the happiest person in the world.

I believe that if we continue the more deals will deminish the happines created but it will still be a good part.

Dec 29, 1:28PM EST0
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How can a company use another company’s data?

Dec 28, 8:40PM EST0

There are different models and verticals that can be combined.

I will give you a few examples. A shop that sells hardware tools B2B can sell their list of Business (key here not private data but compay names) to another company that finds you the best deal for your car repair.

An delivery service sells route and pricing data to instant price calculators.

There are so many combinations that even after a few years I am sure I will see new ones.

Dec 29, 1:26PM EST0

How do you market the project? What has worked best so far - digital adverting or on the ground?

Dec 28, 2:11PM EST0

Twitter / ProductHunt / Reddit have been the best buds for the marketing side.The problem is that my marketing budget is 0 so anything that goes out of social media is a no.

I would love to do some flier ad but I am afraid it might lower the credibility of the platform

Dec 28, 4:21PM EST0
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What is the most challenging part of this project so far?

Dec 28, 10:12AM EST0

Getting people on the platform. 

Honestly, I think in this matter I might be the worse person ever. 

I just cannot find the one thing that will get DataCircle into people's eyes.

How many websites are absolute perfection but really need someone with 10k followers to say they are and then the masses adopt it?That's the most challenging part on my side, how to get DataCircle out there and what am I doing wrong.

Dec 28, 12:40PM EST0

What did you study and how was it related to business and economy?

Dec 28, 9:35AM EST0

I studied Computer Science, which has nothing to do with business or economy both topics I have learnt on my own.

The only benefit of my degree is that I got easily my first job, otherwise it was irrelevant.

Dec 28, 9:39AM EST0

How long did it take you to get your first paying customers?

Dec 28, 8:39AM EST0

Our first paying customer came quick early the 2nd and the 3rd almost a month. 

We face issues, like anonymity (many companies dont know us and for big ones this is a no no). Exchanging data B2B not from an aggregator is quite new.

The sale cycles take a long time. The biggest the ticket size the longer the cycle.

Dec 28, 9:18AM EST0

How is living in Berlin? What do you enjoy about it?

Dec 28, 5:59AM EST0

I was born in Greece, Thessaloniki and there life is.. sorry was very relaxing. I moved to the UK and then to Germany living in Berlin for some time now.

The main thing that I noticed, was that Berlin seemed like a bigger Thessaloniki (my home town) and although it does not have the weather, it has abandance of food (something I cant say for the UK) a healthy drinking culture. Easy jobs for newcommers but worse for long term.

The train system is horrible, but you get to enjoy it through sarcasm and I really like that!

Also I like that it is really spread out and has classic buildings with talk cellings. :)

You cant go wrong with a kebab either.

Dec 28, 6:05AM EST0

I know not much related to the AMA subject, but is there racism still in Germany that you see on the streets in the open? Just wondering.

Jan 10, 12:09PM EST0

What did you do before this project?

Dec 28, 4:42AM EST0

I have been a Web Developer since birth. Started coding at around 16 years old.

I have worked for big and small companies mainly working on data pipelines (how data move form one place to another with intermediate steps).but the problem was that I got bored really fast. Companies reach a point where progress is slow and if I dont learn anything it is boring.

Dec 28, 4:50AM EST0

When did you first realize that you wanted to start `DataCircle`?

Dec 28, 3:28AM EST0

Well.. I wanted to start a company from 19 but I had so little brains back then that I wasted my youth...

DataCircle came into concept after 2 pivots, starting from a Data Visualization platform, at around Spring of 2017.

But it is a constant itch... I am also running 2-3 more projects one on Crypto and one on Nomad life.

Dec 28, 4:52AM EST0

Can you explain a bit more how `DataCircle` works?

Dec 28, 3:06AM EST0

So DataCircle is a two-faced project.

B2B and B2C. However the main essence is the same, users regardless of type, can search, download and upload datasets.

The process to upload is always 3 steps.

- Identify your datasource (is it a file, is it a database)

- Upload the file or execute the query filling in the dataset details (title, desc etc).- Share it around 

The download process:

- Search / identify

- Acquire dataset (the dataset might be free, or require payment these steps are extra).

- Share

We take a specific approach in B2B that is we search for demand of information and then we identify which companies can provide such info.

In a similar approach I spent a considerable amount of time finding datasets to ever increase the poll of data.

Dec 28, 4:58AM EST0

What tips would you give to someone who wants to start their own startup?

Dec 27, 7:02PM EST0

ohh nice question.

Lower your hopes, it is highly unlikely that someone will help you without something to gain. Dont get me wrong there are people who will, but very few.

If you go with the mindset of going for VC Money... just forget it, most of them are horrible, honestly they dont know what they are doing and if you dont have revenue they dont care, so be careful.

Do some background work before you start.

- This is cliche, but check who you want your user to be and then find how easy it is to market them. For example a friend is doing a Crypto app, easy target group to market (not to acquire). I am doing data sharing not as easy.

- Have a failover plan, I always have a backup job with night shifts (might have to start using that plan ūüėē)

- Find someone to share your pattion with. I talk for DataCircle with 2 friends of mine and constantly bounce ideas.

Hope this helps! A ‚≠ź for you and also what do you have any plans on what you want to do? if you are interested hit me up on twitter

Dec 28, 4:48AM EST0

Great advice here, thanks. I like the other side of the coin, like "burn all your bridges". If you have no fail plan, you have to make it, or perish.

Jan 10, 11:29AM EST0

What is your mission?

Dec 27, 3:37PM EST0

The main focus is to improve the Data Sharing Economy. We are currently in a state where the Sharing Economy has boomed, Airbnb, blablacar and companies alike, provide a platform so that we can share our resources.But why are we not doing that with Datasets?Some sectors already work like that. In MachineLearning a lot of people are eager to share but the sources are very fragmented and in this case we want to provide an one stop place for discoverability.

In addition to brind an incentive for people to share, in important datasets of Reasearch, academia etc generating extra revenue through pricing those datasets can help them stay afloat and continue their work.

I tend to talk a lot about this.. but I hope it makes sense :) 

Dec 27, 3:41PM EST0

You might be interested in my talk here  (it is 10 mins but we have a 3 minute version on the website datacircle.io )

Dec 27, 3:43PM EST0

Is it data as in contact details or statistics or both one can buy/sell?

Dec 27, 3:06PM EST0

Contact details might be a bit more complicated after the new law in EU but also that yes.

We are quite flexible on different types of data and through a better search the user will still be able to find what he wants.

Dec 27, 3:08PM EST0

What is your target market? Do you divide the data into categories that complement each other or just let people choose?

Dec 27, 2:02PM EST1

Hey, so currently we let users decide the category and also provide up to five hashtags. We do not invade in this selection.Also the search uses both the title and the description and all these work together.

The idea is to have the page as close to an ecommerce shop as possible for people to have an easy way to find what they want.

As for the target market, currently on the B2C we have DataScientists, Machine Learning, AI, Statisticians and similar groups.

On the B2B we work differently and do not limit on verticals but on size.

Hope I answered your question! ‚≠ź

Dec 27, 2:07PM EST0

How did your last attempt to do an AMA on Reddit go?

Dec 27, 11:47AM EST1

ūüėÖ It was bad. The problem was that people did not like that the datasets were available to registered users (or users who just give an email address) and they called me a scammer due to that.

To be honest, in one way it is annoying but it is also very selfish to not want to support the platform.

I took that lesson though and now I am letting all datasets that link to other places or airtable emded datasets to be free regardless.

There is an indication to support us by sharing in social media and I am tracking *free* grabs vs social media engagement and up until now 100% of grabs were without giving anything back. (social media share) ūüėě.So ye.. thats how it went.

Dec 27, 12:23PM EST0
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