Qantas to extract all it can from data exchange investment

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Qantas to extract all it can from data exchange investment

New projects driven over Data Republic.

Qantas is hoping to extract more value from its multi-million dollar investment into start-up Data Republic, unveiling plans to hire a new senior manager to develop data products on the technology platform.

The airline’s loyalty division joined NAB Ventures and Westpac’s Reinventure Fund in contributing to a $10.5 million round of series A funding for the Sydney-based start-up in May last year.

Data Republic operates a collaborative platform that enables companies and governments to securely exchange data.

Platform users can list and exchange – with permission – proprietary data sets via an “open data marketplace”. They can also cooperate on common data science projects, should they wish to do so.

Qantas Loyalty has contributed “anonymous, segment-level insights data” to the platform as part of its investment, and its CIO Sam Charmand is a non-executive director of the start-up.

However, the airline is now looking at what it can do to maximise its return from this investment and participation in Data Republic.

“While the ‘open network’ design of Data Republic is a key driver of its potential to scale, this also implies the need for Qantas to effectively manage its participation to ensure full potential is achieved,” the airline said.

Qantas said it wants to find someone to “lead the development of innovative data products over the Data Republic platform, driving internal value for the Qantas Group and value for other participants on the platform”.

The successful recruit will be expected to use their “data industry expertise to generate business for the platform" by "seeking out internal and external leads and developing and proposing value optimising data use cases to help solve various business issues,” the airline said.

Qantas added that its overarching governance framework would ensure “responsible and appropriate data sharing” in the context of Data Republic,  and will always "uphold strict privacy considerations”.

Though Qantas did not reveal the nature of data science projects it was hoping to pursue using the exchange, use cases from other participants point to what is possible.

For example, broadcaster Nine Entertainment struck an agreement with Data Republic late last year to access “offline-grocery segment data” to “strengthen campaign targeting and personalisation” of FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) advertising.

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