I have been active in the Linked Data community for a good numbers of years now, since back when it was still called the “Semantic Web Community”. I started toying with a flavour of semantic technologies called Topic Maps in 2003, when I was writing my master thesis at the University of Cologne and then started to really dive into the field when I started a PhD at DERI in early 2004. When I joined DERI was still a very small institute with just about 10 people working and researching away in the little town of Galway on the West coast of Ireland. When I left in 2011, it had turned into the world’s largest Semantic Web research institute with currently about 130 members.
In October 2011 I left academia behind and joined Linked Data pioneers Talis Systems as a technical consultant, eager to put my research background to practical use. After about a year’s worth of data modelling, development and training for a number of clients, Talis unfortunately decided to focus all their efforts on their Talis Aspire education platform and wind down their generic Linked Data consulting, hosting and development services.
So, as of September 2012, I am running Datalysator, my own freelance consulting business around Open, Linked Data and Web Data in general, with a good measure of semantic technologies in the mix. Open Data (and I’m convinced Linked Data is a key ingredient here) is really taking off at the moment, so now is the perfect time for a venture like this. Also, Berlin, where I am now based, seems to be a perfect location: the city is at the forefront of the Open Government Data movement in Germany (Berlin was the first city to have its own Open Data portal), a lot of the community around open, linked and semantic data is gathered here (in different mixes and with different emphasis: OKFN, Wikidata, DBpedia, Fraunhofer Fokus, etc.), and the city is full of exiting startups in the space (just look at uberblic or lokaler).