Case Study: ScraperWiki (UK)

The name of the publication and / or company

ScraperWiki

Established

2009

Web Address

scraperwiki.com

Form of the company

Limited company

Describe your site or business in few words.

Aine McGuire, CMO: “Scraperwiki is a place where a community of coders and data scientists congregate to sift data. it’s also a data hub, a place for collection of information into a database and turning it into a form that people can use. Our business is ‘software as a service’.

We have a web-based platform where programmers write scripts to get, clean and analyse data sets. They can simply schedule code to run automatically, and they can reuse the structured data with our flexible API. We also have a data request service, which enables businesses to work with our data scientists and extract value from data. They can see their data being created, control access to it, and download the resulting spreadsheets.

In addition to the free and open account we offer a private account for 9 USD a month, a business account for 29 USD and a corporate account for 299 USD.

A significant part of our work is to do with journalism. The media industry is under huge pressures and it is facing competition from companies like Google or LinkedIn who are looking to become bigger players in the media market. Traditional media is also facing a deluge of data coming from the Internet, and the only way they can deal with this is developing data science skills and sifting information in a way that drives data journalism. Data driven journalism allows an organization to have a longer lasting conversation with their audience. It makes stories live longer.”

Staff numbers

Who’s creating the content

Content creators, paid full-time

6 coders

Are some of the content creators citizen contributors or interns?

All are professional coders. We also have a worldwide community of data scientists, who contribute but do not get paid.

How is your time divided between doing business and content?

Aine McGuire: I am mostly working to define the business requirements, but I’m also involved in building the community.

Business, marketing & sales, paid full time

2

How they make money

Revenue models and sustainability

Would you say your business model is sustainable?

We are in the process of making it sustainable. The reason why ScraperWiki is a limited company and not a charity is that it’s just not feasible for us to rely on grants forever. We have to make it work commercially. We are not there yet, but we are currently working on that.

Our seed funding came from Channel 4 television channel in the UK. The second round of funding was a Knight Foundation grant (300 000 USD). Now we are in the third stage of funding, which is from a European-backed VC, that’s about 500 000. We’ve also got a private funder who has put in another 200 000. So we have about a million dollars of funding. “

How much is your yearly or monthly revenue?

We are pre-revenue. We have about six major clients.

Where does your revenue go?

We’re using our funding for technology development. Developing and marketing the platform are the most important things.

How much do you pay to your contributors?

Monthly salary.

What about profit?

We have a vision about where we want ScraperWiki to go. We want to build an international data hub, the de facto place for data in the world. So any money we make will be going towards making that happen.

Do you sell services?

Training, Consulting, Data sets

Do you sell virtual or physical products?

Private data vaults

Do you see your publication as your main product?

We are providing software as a service, so it’s not just a website, it’s a platform.

What would be the most important thing on your road to sustainability?

To insure that we’ve captured the players in our target market. And that we’ve helped define and put in place the features and capabilities of a data hub. It will probably take a couple of years.