Foresight Blog

Public Records Data: The Entrepreneurs Best Friend

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are able to create value from seemingly disparate data. Google set out to make sense out of the World Wide Web, by making thousands of random websites discoverable through their search engine. With a market cap of $250 billion, they have been able to scale this simple concept to an international phenomenon.

In an age where apps are an overnight success, and web businesses accelerate their user growth in record time, public records databases are being used as a launching pad.

The art of taking something that already exists and re-presenting it in a way that adds value to an end user, is often referred to as “curation”. Entrepreneurs (usually in the technology space) work with database providers like Foresight in order to leverage multiple data sources for their software or web app. In a sense, they “curate” existing public records data for the purpose of delivering something fresh that solves a problem.

For example, this iOS app allows users to search for registered sex offenders based on their current location, or near an address that they search for specifically. Essentially, the makers of this app have leveraged the existing records from a national sex offender database, and repurposed it with new search parameters and an intuitive user interface. What was once a boring list of names, has come alive with a new application.

Another modern example of this type of curation can be seen with real estate websites. When prospective home buyers are sizing up a new neighborhood for their family, they may look for a “crime index” score. This score grades the neighborhood crime level based on the total amount of arrests, and other reported incidents over a given period of time. This data comes from a national database and is “curated’ for a specific purpose – making an informed real estate purchase.

While every data provider is different, some (like Foresight) will offer their data over a secure API. There are a number of ways to structure pricing. Some buyers may pay a flat fee for unlimited usage of data. Other’s might just pay-per-use. The beauty of building a new venture off of public records or property data, is that the flexibility in pricing can fit nearly any business model.

If you have ever considered making the jump into a new business venture, you might be able to find your start using public records data. If you already have a web-based app or software, using this type of data might be able to add value to your current users and take your business to the next level.

Have any questions about how public data might fit into your plan? Just ask us!