Open Data Institute (ODI) Spurs Innovation in ASEAN – Now Accepting Entries for ADSA Accelerator Program for Startups

Image source: @MYADSA Facebook page

In an attempt to propagate innovation and solve socio-economic issues plaguing the ASEAN region, Open Data Institute (ODI) is organizing a comprehensive accelerator program for startups. ODI was co-founded by the inventor of World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and AI expert Sir Nigel Shadbolt to address today’s global challenges using the web of data. The organization is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan company that brings together commercial and non-commercial organizations and governments to help identify and address how the web of data will impact their businesses and sectors.

The ASEAN Data Startup Accelerator (ADSA) program was developed to inspire breakthrough thinking among startups, fully aimed at providing solutions to societal problems affecting developing nations in ASEAN. ADSA is now accepting entries from startups around the region for its second cohort.

“In this day and age of technology, it takes more than just putting all the data and information out there in the world. We strive to cultivate the culture of openness and transparency. One of the ways to demonstrate the importance and usefulness of open data when solving problems across various sectors is to create a platform to connect, equip and inspire startups, entrepreneurs and innovators around the world to innovate with data. Ultimately, what we want to achieve is to close societal gaps through innovation, with the help of open data,” commented Startup Manager of Open Data Institute, Divakar Subramaniam.

ODI strives to encourage entrepreneurship and spur innovation through its programs, in order to solve socio-economic challenges in the ASEAN region

ADSA, a six-month program, will be held in Kuala Lumpur and falls under the ASEAN Data Analytics Exchange (ADAX) which acts as an ecosystem for data-driven businesses to showcase the latest Big Data Analytics (BDA) technologies, pilot use cases for ASEAN region as well as provide a co-working location for BDA talent, startups and accelerators.

A collaborative effort between Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and ODI, ADSA was created to help data-driven startups develop their business skills, improve essential data skills and expand their network reach.

Divakar believes that ADSA will help startups to better understand the benefits of open data and how it helps to bridge information gaps across various industries such as agriculture, fintech and insurtech – which allows businesses to share best practices in helping to improve productivity.

“We need to make sure that open data is easily accessible and it is our responsibility to encourage startups to use readily-available data such as weather reports, traffic reports, hot spots for diseases and price of essential goods to come up with innovative solutions. Our end goal is to increase the innovative capacity within this region, spurred by the appropriate combination of knowledge, technological skills, collaborative mindset and conducive policies that support entrepreneurship and innovation,” he commented further.

ADSA’s first cohort saw eight startups from various ASEAN countries participate in it. The participating startups according to country of origin are as follows:

  • Malaysia (Wrzit, CropBASE, BTI and Katsana)
  • Philippines (Lorax AI)
  • Indonesia (CityPlan and Tune Map)
  • Singapore (Urbanetic)

One of the participating startups in the ADSA program: Tune Map from Indonesia, took centre stage when it won second place in the ‘United Nations Challenge: Big Ideas Competition for Sustainable Cities and Urban Communities’ competition – a testament to the effectiveness of ADSA.

The competition recognizes startups with innovative ideas and on a mission to help enhance living standards and address societal concerns, with the use of big, open or crowdsourced data. Tune Map is a startup that aims to get citizens to report sidewalks that are unsafe for the visually impaired – making lives easier for the blind and helping local authorities prioritize road and public safety works for the benefit of all. Data collected will be used to map accessible pedestrian routes for the visually impaired in Bandung, West Java – a noble pursuit indeed.

(L-R) Tune Map team – Malik, Ita and Gita

“The impact of open data culture in the ASEAN region is apparent, as it has led to groundbreaking innovation in various industries. At ODI, we are constantly finding new ways to encourage and assist business entrepreneurs and startups to make full use of all the available data in order to create world-class innovation that can solve many of the problems that are faced by the public in ASEAN region,” enthuses Divakar.

Interested start-ups are encouraged to apply for the next cohort program set to take place in October this year. For more information, visit and follow the MYADSA Facebook page.