Warren Buffett Uses Open Government Data

Nati Harnik/AP

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Other large open government data consumers include Google, Yahoo and Deloitte.

The White House’s Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nick Sinai profiled a handful of small and large Web and mobile startups that were built off open government data during a presentation on Thursday hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

One of the most interesting parts of Sinai’s presentation at ITIF’s Data Innovation Day, however, was a shout out to this list compiled by New York University’s GovLab. The list is a preview of a comprehensive study GovLab plans to conduct on companies that are powered in part or in whole by open government data.

The 500 companies on the list include some government data-focused startups, such as PopVox, which encourages users to support or oppose congressional legislation, and Procure.io, focused on simplifying government contracting.

The list also includes many behemoths, though, that digest government data for only a fraction of their operations. These include Web giants, such as Amazon, Google and Yahoo, as well as more traditional business such as IBM, Warren Buffett’s investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, Mitt Romney’s former employer Bain, the consulting and research firm Deloitte and Consumer Reports.

The list should add fuel to the White House’s argument that opening up federal agencies’ data could inject billions into the economy. It’s also a reminder, though, that a good portion of those new profits will go to existing, large companies that use government data to improve or expand their operations. As with the raw material for other startups, open data will aid entrepreneurs largely where there’s a market gap that isn’t yet being exploited.

ITIF's Data Innovation Day was sponsored by the Center for Data Innovation, an affiliate center of ITIF.

This post has been updated to note that ITIF's Data Innovation Day was sponsored by the Center for Data Innovation.