PayPal is working with the US Department of Commerce to tap into a treasure trove of economic data on consumer and business purchasing patterns worldwide.
Organised as a working group under the Commerce Data Advisory Council, the initial aim of the project is to provide small and large businesses with easier access to smarter data sets to help improve decision-making when setting up international trade routes.
The group is is co-Chaired by Vadim Kutsyy, head of data strategy and stewardship, PayPal, and the Department of Commerce's chief data officer Ian Kalin.
Early experiments with available data indicate that some of the best opportunities may be in providing business owners with targeted benchmarks and opportunity assessments from sources such as the US Census Bureau country and product trade data.
"Data sets like these enable the US Bureau of Economic Analysis to publish international transactions reports, which themselves also fuel data products like international investment statistics and reports on the digital economy and cross-border trade," says Kalin. "Mashing up information resources like these with PayPal's own data networks could lead to customisable and highly valuable new insights."
Given the early stage of the data science experiments, it is not clear what the final product will look like, he says.
"Whatever the path of the collaboration," says Kalin "the guiding mission of this Working Group is to create a public and freely accessible platform that can help small and medium sized businesses increase their overseas exports."