Gavin Starks


We design for the long term.

Data is now a foundational part of our economy, society and environment: we live in a data-enabled world. We also face vast societal challenges where, together, data and humans can work harder to help us make better decisions. This requires the coordination of multidisciplinary teams across private, public and third sectors.

I’ve spent over 20 years helping to make our data infrastructure useful to everyone: creating and leading for- and non-profit businesses, bringing together the web, finance, policy, data, science, the environment, art and media.

This has led to the creation of dozens of companies, the employment of 100’s of people, and £100Ms in measurable impact (including $137M in four years at the ODI), and helping to stimulate $multi-billion markets* through the development of regulated instruments such as the Open Banking Standard.

Working together, we have tackled complex challenges ranging from climate change to government transparency; digital supply chains to open banking; open energy to data art. We’ve worked with large, multinational corporations, and microscopic charities, bringing the same skills and passion to each.

Harnessing the power of people and machines (our ‘collective intelligence’), our current Dgen Constellation projects include the internationalisation of Open Finance and making data work harder to deliver net-zero via (which launched at Davos in 2020 and delivered over $5M in innovation funding in its first year of operation).

My personal ambition is to create positive impact@web-scale on the pressing challenges we face.

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*Open Banking Market Size to Reach $43.51 Billion by 2026 at 24.4% CAGR, and $123.7B by 2031

For speaking events, please see

Socials: Mastodon: @agentGav | Twitter: @agentGav | LinkedIn: GavinStarks


Short conference biog

Gavin has created over a dozen companies, employing 100’s of people, and delivering $100M’s in measurable impact. He co-chaired the development of the Open Banking Standard and was founding CEO of the Open Data Institute. He has mentored, chaired, or been a non-exec of over 40 organisations across diverse sectors. He currently runs to help accelerate our Net Zero Future.

click for large version
image: CC-BY-SA Tiana Lea 

Longer summary

Gavin helps solve complex, multidisciplinary, collective-action challenges.  He has co-created over a dozen organisations: building multidisciplinary teams fit for a digital age to explore the impact of data on business, society and culture. He founded and now runs, making data work harder to deliver a Net Zero Future.

His work spans data infrastructure, policy, science, art, media, communications and innovation, including as co-Chair of the Open Banking Standard; founding-CEO of the Open Data Institute; advisor to the Financial Conduct Authority (Open Finance); advisor to the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence; Guardian Council member at Yoti (digital identity); Trustee at Blue Ventures (marine conservation); Chairman at Demand Logic; Trustee at;  Chairman at (blockchain); Non-exec at CupClub (circular-economy); Chairman at Rinse Media Group. He regularly provides strategic advice to governments, regulators and intergovernmental organisations around the world.  He converted a century-old cargo ship to live aboard and built a cooperative historic harbour on the Thames to put it on.

As part of the Long Conversation at the British Library, introduced by Sophie Fiennes and Michael Morris, and with Jem Finer, founder of

At TEDxNewYork


Gavin leads Icebreaker One, convening across the financial and industrial sectors to help catalyse the development of climate-ready solutions. He sits on charity, non-profit and for-profit boards, and the UK’s Smart Data Council.

He 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 10,000 people, recruited a world-class board and team, and delivered over $40M impact in under three years.

At the request of HM Treasury, he co-chaired the development of the Open Banking Standard, laying the foundations for regulation and catalysing international innovation. He served on the Data, Science and Evidence advisory board of the Ministry of Justice and the Smart London Board.

He has been creating businesses for over 25 years, leading projects with organisations such as ArupCap Gemini and the World Bank. This has led to recognition as one of the most influential people in data: winning awards for innovation, expertise, and providing Parliamentary Select Committee evidence. He is a regular international speaker on the topic of data, the web and their impact on society.

Previous ventures include: organising the world’s environmental data and standards into an open web-service, AMEE, raising over $10M from leading VCs (sold 2015); chairing development of the first Gold Standard Carbon Offset; 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 (still operating); creating award-winning streaming media company, Tornado, in 1999 (sold 2003); joining Branson’s Virgin Net as employee #5 in 1995 to deliver Virgin Net (now Virgin Media).

At Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory, Gavin helped develop 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 (on which he has published research & released an 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, CEO, Icebreaker One
  • guardian — Yoti Guardian Council
  • chairman — Demand Logic, automating energy efficiency in buildings
  • advisory board — Two Magnolias venture fund
  • founder — Dgen, a federated network of experts creating impact@web-scale
  • observer — global impact programme
  • mentor — private individual entrepreneurs
  • regularly invited speaker at innovation, data, startup, web, and cleantech/environmental events and conferences
  • regularly invited mentor for startups and incubation programmes

Non-commercial – active

  • trustee — Blue Ventures
  • trustee — Longplayer Trust, helping to sustain a 1,000-year music performance
  • trustee — Cenfri, an independent African economic impact agency
  • co-founder, chair, member — Hermitage Community Moorings, the first official licensed residential harbour development on the Thames in the last century
  • regular speaker at arts, science, music and tech events

Speaking at TEDxEast in New York, 2010

Commercial – previous

  • board member at Spherics, exited to Sage Plc 
  • 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
  • founder – CEO and Chairman – multi-award-winning AMEE, raising over $10m from leading international venture capital funds (O’Reilly, USV, and Amadeus)
  • chairman —, blockchain-based product tracking
  • non-exec board — CupClub, circular-economy IoT packaging
  • advisory board — market analytics company
  • chairman — Rinse Group, at the centre of a vast musical community for over a decade
  • two companies I created were part of the first ten ‘Silicon Roundabout’ companies (Wired)
  • 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 and onwards to Level3)
  • 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

Public & non-commercial roles – previous

  • co-chairman — Open Banking Working Group, creating the Open Banking Standard that led to new UK regulation
  • Innovation Working Group — UK Climate Financial Risk Forum
  • Open Finance advisory group — UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • non-executive director — anti-slavery registry, TISC reports
  • Business, Finance, Innovation, Investment Advisory Board for Longevity — UK All Party Parliamentary Group
  • Open Banking advisory group — Payments New Zealand
  • advisory group member — flagship project on data sovereignty across Europe, DECODE (Decentralised Citizens Owned Data Ecosystem)
  • advisory board member — Greater London Authority (GLA) ‘Smart London’ programme
  • advisory board member — Ministry of Justice Data, Evidence and Science Advisory Board
  • advisory board member — UK Government’s Midata – “Energy Sector Board”, shaping policy with utilities and consumer-rights groups
  • 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