17 March 2022 774 words, 4 min. read

Opendatasoft: the all-in-one platform for open data

By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
In today’s podcast, we are pleased to welcome Jean-Marc Lazard, co-founder of Opendatasoft. Opendatasoft is an all-in-one data platform that aims to democratize access to and use of data. Today, the solution is used in 25 countries, underpins more than 2000 […]

In today’s podcast, we are pleased to welcome Jean-Marc Lazard, co-founder of Opendatasoft.
Opendatasoft is an all-in-one data platform that aims to democratize access to and use of data.
Today, the solution is used in 25 countries, underpins more than 2000 data platforms, and is marketed to nearly 300 customers.
The challenge facing Opendatasoft is a big one. Indeed, the world of data leads to regularly evolving its solution to serve many users.


The marketing idea to be retained absolutely

Adopting a natural referencing strategy pays off. This strategy allowed Opendatasoft to cultivate its awareness and find its first customers. This is what we call inbound marketing.

icône expérience entrepreneuriale et chiffres-clés

Chapter 1: Opendatasoft in 1 key figure


This is the number of products Opendatasoft has proposed since its creation in November 2011.

genèse de l'idée entrepreneuriale

Chapter 2: the genesis of the business idea

The origin of this intuition goes back to the time when Jean-Marc Lazard, Franck Carassus, and David Thoumas were working for Exalead, a company developing software solutions and later acquired by Dassault Systèmes.
At that time, the three founders of Opendatasoft had the intuition to access the data. They thought that other people and the database manager should also be able to access it.
At the same time, a movement was taking shape that would give them a big boost: open data. Local or national administrations made their data public to generate innovative applications that would benefit them. Some European cities, pioneers, seized on this trend in a drive for transparency towards citizens.

validation de l'idée entrepreneuriale

Chapter 3: confirmation of the business idea

Public and private actors confirmed the business idea.
The three founders were aware of a few actors who started to engage in open data. They, therefore, went to these committed actors to find out if their intuition could be translated into a need on the part of these actors.
These actors unanimously accepted this intuition and decided to test Opendatasoft’s solution.
Thus, given the significant opportunity presented, the three friends created Opendatasoft in 2011.

démarrage de la startup

Chapter 4: getting started

In February 2012, a few months after the company’s creation, the first contracts were landed. The first customers were the City of Paris, departments in the tourism industry, and water network management players, including Veolia. Opendatasoft then won its first contracts abroad with the City of Brussels and then with the Portuguese Ministry of Health. The company also sought customers in the United States…

If such contracts could be won abroad, thanks to inbound marketing. Indeed, Opendatasoft used natural referencing with the publication of white papers. To a lesser extent, the founders also used event marketing.

This start-up allowed the founders to discover and adapt to the company culture, which varies from one country to another.

phase de décollage de l'entreprise

Chapter 5: take off

Opendatasoft took off after 4-5 years when companies experimented with open data as consumers. They saw it as a new way of consuming data and wanted to propose the same type of experience to their ecosystem.

A new market opened up naturally. With it, new demands were born. Jean-Marc Lazard testifies to the tension between the product vision on the one hand and the specific needs of customers on the other. Customers, especially private ones, can sometimes be pressing to develop functionalities linked to particular uses. It is then necessary to know how to sort out the proposals that fit the vision and those that do not while managing customer expectations and satisfaction.

le futur de la startup

Chapter 6: the future

The recent fundraising of 21 million euros will be used to achieve several objectives:

  • Expand into business sectors where Opendatasoft is not yet present.
  • Initiate a geographical expansion, especially in the United States.
  • Upgrade and extend the solution.
  • Invest heavily in marketing and sales.
  • Recruit to increase the current staff from 70 to 100 employees within 12 months.
  • Work more with significant data storage and processing players to integrate natively with these solutions.

A podcast to help you develop your start-up

The “Entrepreneurship and Marketing” podcast traces the different stages in the life of a promising start-up. By identifying the critical elements of success at each phase of the start-up’s development, we help you find solutions for your company.

The podcast is divided into chapters of 4 to 6 minutes. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific theme or development phase. You can listen to the entire podcast or choose to listen to only a part of it by directly selecting the one that interests you the most. You can also find the video version of the interview on our YouTube channel.

Illustration images: shutterstock

Posted in Entrepreneurship.

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