Here’s the rub. “Web 2.0″ was an idea which came about to describe the Web not just as a series of pages, but as a platform in its own right. And thus we have seen the rise of a new technology wave based entirely on that idea. But trapped inside the web is enormous amounts of data inside documents which has to some extent been forgotten about in our race to create new platforms.
Addressing this issue is a new startup out of London, Importio, which today announces a £600,000 ($900,000) seed round from Wellington Partners, Alta Vista founder Louis Monier, and long-time French technology investor Emmanuel Javal.
Essentially, Importio turns the web into a database, allowing companies and developers to extract and connect that data to create new data sets and apps.
“importio turns Web sites into data sources… into single real-time, virtual databases” says David White, CEO of Importio.
In theory, if you can use a spreadsheet you can use Importio to make the data inside documents on a website or several sites into an API. This has significant implications for business, obviously.
How does Importio work? With a point-and-click interface you can work out what data you want out of a site, no coding is involved. Then Importio creates a real-time connection to the data and creates real-time data sets from the underlying sources. You can then access the data in real-time via a single API call, through the Importio website or export the data into a spreadsheet, database, or search index.
So far it’s been used by Why Waste A Vote, where teenagers pulled data about MPs and bills awaiting passage in Parliament to create a web app in one weekend; Smartward, an app that combines NHS data; and PlanVine an events data company.