[foundation-board] Open Knowledge Foundation board meeting 12/3/14

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Mon Mar 10 12:56:12 UTC 2014

Hi All,

I have an additional late paper I'd like to present for brief discussion at
Wednesday's board meeting:

 CKAN Commercial Services - Future

I emphasize this is for early-stage discussion rather than any kind of

In addition to the GDocs version (which is commentable) I've also inlined
below for quick readability.


CKAN Commercial Services

Future Options

This document examines options for the CKAN Commercial Services work going
forward and, in particular, examines a new legal entity ("spin-out") option.

Over the last 4 years we have developed a well-defined "Commercial
Services" unit within the Open Knowledge Foundation providing technology
services on a commercial (consultancy-style) basis.

Almost all work has been around our CKAN software - providing support,
doing custom development, providing managed hosting etc. As such we focus
here on our CKAN Commercial Services.

This analysis therefore focuses, from the business and technical side, on

Average revenues for the this area of our work over the last 2-3 years are
in the region of £500-800k. Averaged over its lifetime the team has been
approximately P&L positive (though not by a large amount) but this average
smoothes out some very significant variation: as with much product-oriented
open-source consultancy the team have tended to have a "feast and famine"
cycle with their work driven by particular contracts.

Lastly, it is worth emphasizing that market in which CKAN exists - the
"open data portal" market is maturing. This is both positive and negative.
On the positive side: CKAN is increasingly seen as an established and
leading option, with an increasingly significant "head-start". In addition
it is increasingly clear there is a well-defined (and growing) market for
this type of product. On the negative side there is increasing competition
to provide solutions, and especially CKAN-based ones (there are now
multiple other vendors who have successfully done work using CKAN).

(The "data" market generally is growing with very large numbers of
start-ups getting funded and growing number of established players. Whilst
CKAN exists in a specific niche they are strong overlaps - again, this is
both positive and negative: there is an opportunity for CKAN to sell into
other market areas, but there is also likely to be increasing competition
from other tools and products).
Option Outlines

The two basic options being considered are:


   Continue as is with a single legal entity. CKAN Commercial Services
   remain legally within Open Knowledge Foundation (continuing to operate as a
   fairly distinct unit).
   2. New (for-profit) legal entity. We create a new, for-profit, entity.
   Some or all of CKAN Commercial Services are likely part of this new legal
   entity. This new entity is able to take investment and operate in a more
   standard for-profit manner. The new entity would either be wholly or partly
   owned by the Open Knowledge Foundation (or have a specific profit-sharing

On 5 March 2014 19:51, Laura James <laura.james at okfn.org> wrote:

> All,
> A meeting of the board of directors of the Open Knowledge Foundation will
> be held at Mozilla, 3rd Floor, 101 St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London
>  and online in a Google Hangout (link to be supplied on the day), 18:30 -
> 20:30 GMT, on Wednesday March 12th 2014.
> *Note Wednesday not Tuesday! *
> You will find the board pack attached - there will be a late paper to
> follow.
> Please let me know directly before next Wednesday whether you will be
> attending online, in person or sending apologies.
> Best regards,
> Laura
> --
> * Dr Laura James CEO  | skype: laura.james  |  @LaurieJ
> <https://twitter.com/LaurieJ> The Open Knowledge Foundation
> <http://okfn.org/> Empowering through Open Knowledge http://okfn.org/
> <http://okfn.org/>  |  @okfn <http://twitter.com/OKFN>  |  OKF on Facebook
> <https://www.facebook.com/OKFNetwork>  |  Blog <http://blog.okfn.org/>  |
>  Newsletter <http://okfn.org/about/newsletter> *
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-board mailing list
> foundation-board at lists.okfn.org
> https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-board
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/foundation-board


*Rufus PollockFounder and CEO | skype: rufuspollock | @rufuspollock
<https://twitter.com/rufuspollock>The Open Knowledge Foundation
<http://okfn.org/>Empowering through Open Knowledgehttp://okfn.org/
<http://okfn.org/> | @okfn <http://twitter.com/OKFN> | OKF on Facebook
<https://www.facebook.com/OKFNetwork> |  Blog <http://blog.okfn.org/>  |
 Newsletter <http://okfn.org/about/newsletter>*
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/private/foundation-board/attachments/20140310/6be4db59/attachment-0002.html>

More information about the foundation-board mailing list