Tech company co-founder Brett Hurt sees potential to change the world with platform

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Entrepreneur Brett Hurt gives “Tex Talks”a lecture at the AT&T Conference Center on his experiences with software development and starting businesses throughout his life.
Photo Credit: Chase Karacostas | Daily Texan Staff

Austin entrepreneur and UT alum Brett Hurt has started five different tech companies but said his latest company, data.world, has the greatest potential to change the world.

Tuesday evening in the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, the co-founder and CEO discussed how his company will utilize millions of untapped data sets during an Entrepreneurship Live! speaker series.

Most data is stored in what Hurt describes as “silos,” vast information deposits in sometimes unreadable formats. Hurt’s vision is to make fragmented sets of data more widely available on a shared platform, by compiling the data into a single website.   

“This company has the potential to accelerate the cure for cancer, accelerate the cure for climate change, accelerate the cure for poverty,” Hurt said. “Any problem you can imagine usually has a solution that lies in the data. If we do this right it will become the world’s resource for the world’s most important data.”

In July, Hurt launched his startup, which Fast Company magazine described as “the social network for data nerds.” The company gives tools to its users to collaborate and comment on each other’s research and analyze their own data.    

The speaker series Hurt was invited to is hosted by the Herb-Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, Growth, and Renewal and broadcasted by the TEXTalks podcast and focuses on entrepreneurship in the Austin community. 

“Being an entrepreneur, you have to have a tremendous amount of energy,” Hurt said. “There’s a romance at the beginning of entrepreneurship where you can really fall in love with the idea, you can fall in love with your co-founders. That romance is always there to some extent if you truly fell in love with the mission.”

Before the talk, Kurtis White, a software development manager at one of Hurt’s startups Bazaarvoice, said he was excited about what Hurt will do with big data.

“He’s a dynamic leader,” White said. “They’re trying to make it a lot easier to access and to store and for other people to build on top of the data they’ve collected.”

Caleb Rudow, a graduate student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs said a tool like this has the potential to help students. 

“I didn’t get as much of the nitty-gritty open data stuff, but I loved the talk,” Rudow said. “It’s really exciting to find a repository for data because it would have made my life a lot easier.”