Biog – Gavin Starks




Gavin explores the impact of the web on society and culture. Hehas co-created over a dozen organisations covering diverse areas such as data (including the Open Data Institute with Sir Tim Berners-Lee), climate change, music, finance, blockchain, the internet of things, machine learning, media, and historic ships.

He has worked at the cross-section of science, media and art for over 20 years, from leading projects that combine astrophysics and music, to commissioning data-driven sculptures.

He is currently helping constellations of people to come together to create impact@web-scale.


Gavin was the Open Data Institute’s founding CEO,working with Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Under his leadership, it unlocked over $100M of direct economic impact, incubated over 50 companies, launched franchises across 20 countries, trained 6,000 people, recruited a world-class board and team, and grew its turnover to $7M/y in under three years.

He serves on the Data, Science and Evidence advisory board of the Ministry of Justice. In 2015, at the request of HM Treasury, he co-chaired the development of the Open Banking Standard, laying the foundations for regulation.

He has been creating businesses for over 20 years, leading projects with organisations such as ArupCap Gemini and the World Bank. He has been recognised as one of the most influential people in data: winning awards for his innovation and expertise, and providing Parliamentary Select Committee evidence. He is a regular international speaker on the topic of the web of data and its impact on society.

His previous ventures include: organising the world’s environmental data and standards into an open web-service, AMEE, raising over $10M from leading VCs; building the world’s leading digital music distributor, CI, the first company to deliver digital products to iTunes, and sent Amazon 25% of its download store at launch; creating an award-winning streaming media company, Tornado, selling it in 2003; joining Branson’s Virgin Net as employee #5 in 1995 to deliver Virgin Net (now Virgin Media).

At Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory, Gavin developed systems designed to map and interpret the Universe. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, created courses and lectured in Engineering and Music at Glasgow University, and has degrees in both Astronomy and in Electronic Music (including releasing his own album\). He converted a century-old ship to live aboard and built a cooperative historic harbour on the Thames to put it on.

You can follow Gavin @agentGav or




Commercial – active

  • founder — d::gen network, a federated network of experts creating impact@web-scale
  • advisory board member — Ministry of Justice Data, Evidence and Science Advisory Board
  • chairman and non-executive board member —, blockchain-based product tracking
  • chairman — Rinse Group, at the centre of a vast musical community for over a decade
  • non-executive board member — CupClub, circular-economy IoT packaging
  • regular invited speaker at innovation, data, startup, web, and cleantech/environmental events and conferences
  • regular invited mentor for startups and incubation programmes (both paid and informally)

Non-commercial – active

  • non-executive director — anti-slavery registry, TISC reports
  • non-executive director — anti-corruption registry, (to be announced)
  • trustee — Longplayer Trust, helping to sustain a 1,000-year music performance
  • co-founder and chairman — Hermitage Community Moorings, the first official residential harbour development on the Thames in the last century
  • regular speaker at arts, science, music and geek events

Speaking at TEDxEast in New York, 2010

Commercial – previous

  • recognised as one of the “UK’s top data leaders and influencers” in 2016
  • founding CEO – Open Data Institute, a world-first created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Prof. Nigel Shadbolt, unlocking over £60M ($100M at the time) for the data-driven economy
  • advisory board member – Greater London Authority (GLA) ‘Smart London’ programme
  • co-chairman – Open Banking Working Group, creating the Open Banking Standard that led to new UK regulation
  • founder – CEO and Chairman – multi-award-winning AMEE, raising over $10m from leading international venture capital funds (O’Reilly, USV, and Amadeus)
  • two companies I created were part of the first ten ‘Silicon Roundabout’ companies (Wired)
  • advisory board member – UK Government’s Midata – “Energy Sector Board”, shaping policy with utilities and consumer-rights groups
  • founding CEO – Consolidated Independent to create the digital supply-chain for music, and become the market-leader in digital distribution in 3-years
  • founder-team member/CTO – Asset TV, a secure video network where investment professionals share information
  • founder / CEO – award-winning cross-media company, Tornado Productions (sold to a larger media group in 2003)
  • founder-team member and pioneer of streaming media in the UK and Europe from 1995 helping to set up Richard Branson’s “Virgin Net“, and the International Webcasting Association (IWA) in Europe
  • mentor to innovative UK startups in “Tech City” in both web and space/satellite industries
  • have led projects with UK Govt, BBC, Channel Four, Rolls Royce, Tate Modern, Shell, Radiohead, and UNICEF

Non-commercial – previous

  • founder-team member of Global Cool, a charity tackling public communication and mitigation of climate change
  • founder of exequo, a non-profit streaming media company for the 3rd sector

Academic / Research