Data-driven innovation

Leeds tech firm disrupting the market with PAPI support

Image: Masthead

The Data City is a Leeds-based Data-as-a-Service (DAAS) startup that uses a combination of open data, licensed data and artificial intelligence to create real-time, accurate insights into economic questions which inform investment and accelerate innovation in the UK.


The Data City’s platform collects the digital footprint of the organisations that make up the UK economy. Their innovative artificial intelligence platform looks for company websites, events, jobs and academic publications from around the world and stores a copy within the database. The technology then presents this as a website and raw data, providing customers with an understanding of themselves; their sector strengths/weaknesses, and the ability to compare themselves with other places.

Applying these techniques to economic data is starting to disrupt the traditional use of SIC (standard industrial classifications) code data, historically used by government and research bodies, and provides new data and insights. In 2019, the company identified a need for a software interface which would enable users to generate their own websites and datasets from anywhere in the world.

The Data City's website
Image: medium

New-to-market product

The company applied for a PAPI grant and were awarded £20,000 to procure a pivotal software solution. The new, PAPI-supported product enabled The Data City to build a user interface, which removes the need for developer involvement on a project-by-project basis, enabling customers to create their own logins and run reports. This makes the product easier to buy and for customers to use. It also allowed more customers to access data sets easily, introducing data driven decision making and transparency and helping to improve the UK economy.

The new-to-market product allowed the company to scale the business rapidly, move into overseas markets and provided developers with more time to focus on new, innovative products. The PAPI grant was instrumental in creating this new-to-market software product and five new, highly-skilled jobs

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The support has been invaluable, and this is a great example of how PAPI is supporting cutting edge businesses in the digital and creative sector.

Alex Craven, Founder