New York

Beating out tough competition, ‘Google for public data’ Enigma wins Disrupt NY

Exciting public-data-search startup Enigma has won TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s Startup Battlefield amid strong competition.

New York-based Enigma just launched yesterday. It likes to peg itself as “Google for public data.” It charges a subscription to let organizations search public data much easier than they ever could before. By ‘public data’, the company means any data that’s open to public record — anything from home purchase transactions to government spending contracts to patent and SEC filings — that hasn’t been easily accessible to date.

Enigma has used a combination of web crawling and outreach to government agencies to pull together a database of billions of public records across more than 100,000 datasets.

“Currently, the world of public data is much like the world that existed on the Internet before search engines became available in the 1990s,” Enigma co-founder Marc DaCosta told VentureBeat yesterday. “Because there is no infrastructure to search and discover public data, huge sources of real important insight and knowledge about how companies, people, and places interact in the world is hidden from view.”

Engima faced stiff competition in Startup Battlefield finals. Here were the other six finalists from it had to compete with:

Floored

Floored offers a surprisingly awesome service: 3D real-estate modeling.

Floored helps businesses map commercial spaces in 3D by piecing together photography and computer models. You can add furniture to uncompleted spaces to get a better feel for what the place would look like for your company.

One recent project the company tackled was modeling floors of 1 World Trade Center, which hasn’t been completed yet. So it’s a good way to get a  feel for a potential office space you want to move into or a home you might want to purchase.

Glide

Glide is a fun new service that lets you stream video of yourself from iOS and Android phones. It also lets you watch recorded video calls later that are stored in the cloud.

Video chats can be one-on-one or with groups.

Handle

Handle offers a “priority engine” that claims to raise the bar on productivity with tools that combat email inbox overload and help you organize your time wisely.

“This is not just about getting your email down to zero,” Handle CEO Shawn Carolan told VentureBeat. “This is about finding and keeping your priorities straight and spending time on the things that matter. We all have one life to live one day at a time. There is work and there is your personal life, and all of your priorities need to be considered in one place to make decisions.”

HealthyOut

HealthyOut has iPhone and Android apps that helps users eat better or lose weight.

First you choose your preferences for what kinds of food you like. Then HealthyOut combs through many food menus in New York City and makes healthy selections that can be delivered to you Monday through Friday, becoming a personal nutritionist of sorts.

SupplyShift

SupplyShift offers a service to companies that helps manage supplier communications and gives you a better understanding of your supply chain’s environmental impact.

“The market situation changed radically in the last three years, and sustainability is becoming a key part of corporate strategy, but corporations and the government do not have the tools to address that need,” SupplyShift CEO Alexander Gershenson told TechCrunch. “SupplyShift takes care of that.”

Zenefits

Zenefits is a free service that claims to help small businesses with employee benefits and payroll.

For example, when a small business hires a new employee, Zenefits says it will do the following things:

• Get the employee to sign their agreements online.
• Collect the employee’s personal, bank, and tax info.
• Add the employee to your payroll and benefits.
• Fill out, file, and store everything online.

Zenefits also helps with the paperwork of letting employees go and helps employees with life events like getting married or having children. The service makes money by taking commissions from insurance companies that it gets quotes from.

Top photo via Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat