How these real estate developers used open data to find new business

April 28, 2014| Technically Philly by Juliana Reyes

Streamline Solutions used to drive around neighborhoods to find run-down houses to rehab. But last July, the South Philly development company realized the city had released reams of data on property violations, like which homes had broken windows or rodent infestation or were in danger of collapse.

Why not use that data to find houses to rehab?

The company hired a software developer to build a tool for them that used the city’s Licenses and Inspections API, which offered a real-time feed of data about property violations.

Since then, Streamline has identified about 100 properties each month that it hopes to purchase and fix up, said Dhanraj “Danny” Phagoo, the Streamline staffer who led the project to use the city’s data. Identifying the properties is one thing, but finding the owners and purchasing the property is another. Streamine has been able to purchase between two to five properties that it found through L&I data per month, Phagoo said.

Still, the city’s open data has been important to Streamline’s business.

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Philly Tech Week Open Data Event: Bytes and Mortar

More than sixty people attended Bytes & Mortar: Using Open Data to Help Your Business, an event co-hosted by the Office of Innovation & Technology and the Department of Commerce during Philly Tech Week.

As more government data becomes open to the public, new and interesting uses are emerging. This event served as an overview and introductory discussion for the business and technology community to help get people thinking about what business opportunities there may be for utilizing open city data. Business people, technologists, and government employees all gathered together to learn about the vast array of data sets and resources available to the public through the following portals:

We’re posting the slides below for those who could not attend. For additional open data questions, reach out to data (at) phila.gov. Beyond questions, please share your successes with us!