YC-Funded Data Marketplace Is An Amazon For Structured Information

There has always been a vibrant ecosystem around financial data. Financial institutions, such as hedge funds and investment banks, pay thousands of dollars for quantitative tabular data (financial data in spreadsheets). But now, the web has provided a mechanism to distribute and publish large amounts of data, but much of this data is raw (meaning, it’s not built into a spreadsheet format) and hard to find in a Google search. An finding the data, and then putting the data into a format that is easy to digest can be a laborious task. Y Combinator’s Data Marketplace is hoping to change this by providing a platform where financial professionals can request data sets and then data aggregators/consultants can then find and format the appropriate data.

Founded by two former analysts at investment banks, Data Marketplace is essentially the middleman in helping financial organizations find quality data on the web. Users can submit requests to Data Marketplace, and the site will send those requests to its database of 200,000 data aggregators, programmers, and consultants who specialize in finding financial data and essentially transferring it into a readable format.

Providers then post data resources to Data Marketplace, provide descriptive metadata, and also set a price. The stored metadata is used to help consumers find relevant data through traditional search engines and when browsing Data Marketplace. Data can also be posted on the site without a request, that users can search for. For example, here’s a data set of a complete list of Wal-Mart Store Locations, which is priced at $30.

Prices range for data, and can be anywhere from $5 to several thousand dollars. Data Marketplace co-founder Matt Hodan tells me he spent $10,000 in on year on data at one of the financial organizations he worked for. Data Marketplace takes a 14% cut of each transaction on the site, from the provider. Data Marketplace handles all of the payment processing and allows users to directly purchase and download resources in an accessible format online.

Hodan says that current models for selling and distributing data online are inefficient and expensive for financial organizations. Users only pay for what they need as opposed to plans or buying bundles of information. And providers don’t have many platforms where they can sell their data in a marketplace.

Data Marketplace is similar in some ways to Factual, which is a Wikipedia-like site for open data, and InfoChimps, which takes a more collaborative approach to open data.