Last month, San Francisco unveiled a new cloud-based open data site as part of its move to adopt cloud services and, in turn, to encourage open government, transparency and accountability by improving access to data and information. San Francisco is hardly alone — both public and private sectors in the U.S. and around the world are pulling back the curtain on their data. Of course, opening the doors is one thing, but unlocking and making sense of that data? Not quite as easy.
That’s why Palo Alto-based Junar has developed a platform that allows businesses, governments, and NGOs not only to unleash their data in order to drive collaboration and enhance transparency, but to remove the headache of having to develop their own proprietary software. And to fuel its initiative, the startup announced today that it has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Aurus, Austral Capital, and a host of national and Latin American angel investors.
Many governments and businesses want to open their data so that others can help build, innovate, and interpret it, often it’s not so easy to access or organize into, say, simple reporting. Instead, often only a subset of that data is accessible and most of it isn’t formatted in a way that can be programmatically used.
So Junar developed a web-based data publishing system to make it easy for organizations to open and maintain, which is today launching as Junar Open Data Platform, a SaaS data management system, that promises to do just that.
Using the platform, organizations can collect, enhance, publish, enable commenting and annotation, and report on their open data no matter in what format it’s formatted. It does this through a simple workflow that enables organizations to streamline projects, whether it be in extracting datasets, building graphical views, or just managing data publishing, all while being able to keep tabs on which pieces of the dataset are getting the most use.
Of course, some data is best left unshared, so Junar allows users to control which datasets are made public and which are assigned for internal-use only. Meanwhile, the Open Data Platform Junar, CEO Diego May says, only takes a few minutes to deploy without having to install software or pay for new servers, along with the ability to customize the platform for their particular brand — integrating data into their websites or letting Junar host it.
While competitors are most certainly out there, May says that services like Socrata and Tableau (and others) are more concentrated on data visualization and presentation, rather than providing a broader cloud-based publishing and management solution that offers end-to-end support — discovery, analytics, reporting, and visualization.
For the past few months, Junar has had more than 200 organizations testing its new platform, and today it’s opening its doors officially, offering a free trial account for a limited time to those who sign up on its website here. From there, a “Pro” Junar account runs $290/month, increasing to $830/month based on the number of datasets, publishers and features.