While open data is usually provided by public or non-profit institutions, private companies also play an important role in the Open Data movement. For example, the free geographical database Geonames, founded by Marc Wick, is officially a project of Unxos GmbH based in Switzerland (see https://www.geonames.org/about.html).
However, the majority of companies are on the user side and use open data to develop innovative products and applications, business models and other forms of value creation. The promotion of start-ups and founders dedicated to such activities is, for example, a declared goal of the mFUND project of the BMVI (cf. https://www.bmvi.de/DE/Themen/Digitales/mFund/Foerderung/foerderung.html).
On the other hand, some companies work together with the public sector at the interface between data providers and users in order, for example, to prepare public data, develop attractive web portals and network the various Open Data actors (government, society, science, companies). In many collaborative projects, the boundaries between these actors and their roles are fluid. An example of such a company is Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH (Seibel, 2016), which is also involved in the development of the Berlin 3D city model.
The number of companies in German-speaking countries that publish their own data as Open Data is relatively small. These are mainly operators of public infrastructure, e.g. transport companies and public utilities. At the local level, Stromnetz Berlin GmbH operates its own pilot portal with open data (Seibel, 2016).
A prominent example of a private data provider is the data portal of Deutsche Bahn AG (DB). In connection with start-up support programmes, ideas competitions and Open Data hackatons, DB digital is also implementing the Open Innovation concept with the aim of making mobility and logistics more modern, flexible, innovative, environmentally friendly and efficient (https://www.deutschebahn.com/de/Digitalisierung/DB_Digital/chancen-1206198).
In everyday life we often use daily map applications, navigation apps and location-based services provided by large companies such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and ESRI (ArcGIS Online). Most of these services, however, are not open in the sense of the Open movement, as they can usually be used privately free of charge, but are otherwise subject to terms and conditions of use and restrictions.
Further data portals of companies can be viewed and supplemented on our Open Data search portall.