CEO Address: 2019 at Data Republic
by Danny Gilligan
There’s no denying 2019 has been a year filled with highs, lows and immense change for the team and I at Data Republic.
From the outside, it might be difficult to clock some of the milestones Data Republic has achieved as a company this year. So, in the name of transparency (and with a certain amount of pride for my team), I wanted to share this post on our company learning and growth across 2019.
After founding the company back in 2015 and supporting its growth under my co-founder Paul’s leadership over the years, in February of this year Paul passed the Data Republic CEO baton on to me.
I’ve always believed we have so much scope to positively impact the way the world governs data flows across business and society. That’s exciting – but also daunting, because as a startup, we’re dealing with some of the most sticky, complicated technology problems out there. I couldn’t wait to get closer to some of those sticky problems and support the team at a truly exciting time in Data Republic’s growth and product maturity.
I see the job of a CEO as strategy, capital and people. With capital in the bank and strategic objectives becoming clearer, I spent 2019 intentionally focusing on building a world class team and growing our leadership to support further scale and intentional expansion in 2020.
Unsurprisingly, each of our 2019 highlights happened at the hands of our brilliant Senators.
We welcomed 23 new faces across our offices in Australia, the US and Singapore. Five of those hires were leadership roles, with executive talent arriving from everywhere in the world to take the reigns of our startup-cum-scale-up. Our eNPS also improved by 25 points across the year, as our existing Senators found their rhythm through this clarity of strategy.
A People Council system was formed to evoke democracy across the business, where a small team of Senators meet to discuss culture issues and ideas. This year, People Council brought on a new mental health and wellbeing initiative called Mindstar, tracked culture metrics on OfficeVibe to uncover weak points for us to work on, introduced a new parental leave policy and instigated monthly ‘values champion’ nominations.
The people and culture at Data Republic are extremely important to me as a leader. We’re constantly looking for people with the right smarts and grit to join a startup dedicated to changing how the world uses data.
A brand new Sydney HQ
With these new recruits came another kind of expansion. Our Sydney offices had grown to over fifty people, and it was time to move from our shared space at Stone & Chalk into our own slice of the business district on O’Connell Street.
Thought leadership opportunities
But what really excites me is our impact on the world…
We put our weight behind 31 different events around the world, whether coordinating or speaking, and cross-functionally serviced datathons in two different regions connected to social good impact outcomes.
This year we published 2 whitepapers, 44 articles, appeared in 60+ news articles and spoke at 31 events around the world. The most exciting thing for me? This content represents an opportunity to share our learnings facilitating B2B data collaboration with government.
The big rebrand
The launch of our official rebrand was an enormous hallmark for us, with a refreshed logo and brand identity that better reflects our purpose, values and direction. The new iconography and colours clearly bring to life Data Republic’s role as the network connector and enabling infrastructure for the global data economy.
Pushing our product forward
Our Engineering and Product teams executed 33 new releases, leading to improved experiences for customers, new workspace collaboration functionality, and better integration between our Senate Platform and Senate Matching product suites.
An expanding customer ecosystem
In 2019, we became a truly global company, attracting enterprise customers across Australia, Singapore and the United States and achieving an ecosystem CAGR of 152%.
A series of customer successes
Data Republic saw organizations of different sizes and sectors collaborate with data on our Senate platform, to solve all kinds of business challenges. Our common legal framework and private, secure architecture enabled successes such as affinity marketing projects, data accelerator programs, AI/ML testing and more.
Changes in the market this year
The wake of high-profile breaches such as the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Marriott, and Capital One scandals, have left the world of a state of anxiety around data sharing. This has hamstrung the prospect of a healthy, prosperous global data economy. But as we briefed multiple governments around the globe on our vision and solution over the last year, we noticed the conversation evolving on a macro level.
2019 has seen the world’s understanding of data begin to mature, resulting in the fragmentation of policies and, more importantly, the fragmentation of fear around data exchange.
What 2020 will bring for global data economy?
This formative year has set us up for tangible changes to come. Australia has a rapidly evolving and sophisticated approach to policy development with regard to data. The Consumer Data Right (CDR) passed – a fundamental and foundational principle that underpins the increased liquidity of data and forms a key enabler of a data economy, and Open Banking took flight – the first practical implementation of CDR to an industry vertical.
Singapore already lead the way. Their statutory board IMDA seeks to deepen regulatory capabilities for a converged info-communications media sector (i.e. data) while safeguarding the interests of consumers and fostering pro-enterprise regulations.
Meanwhile, the US is one of the few developed nations left without a comprehensive consumer data protection law and an independent agency to enforce – as the New York Times succinctly put it. With the California Consumer Privacy Act kicking off from January 1, 2020, joining the existing laws and bills in Nevada, Washington and New York, change is still happening on a state level.
Data Republic is dedicated to partnering with industry leaders and governments all over the world on growing the data economy through privacy laws, next generation consumer consent management, and cross-border data trade.
Thank you to my team, our customers and our partners, for a strong year. Here’s to another year of growth, development and global collaboration as we forge a Data Republic of secure, governed access to the world’s data.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,