About the Organization

  • Dark data is data which isn't readily available, for any number of reasons.

    Data which isn't collected is clearly dark -- this includes data which impacts marginalized populations and/or relies on underfunded government agencies. Many developing nations are havens of this sort of dark data, making decision-making difficult. Data which is collected but isn't properly aggregated, parsed or disseminated is also dark -- for instance, research which is performed for the public good but then locked behind a paywall or distributed in unstructured format is clearly dark data. A final category of dark data is data which is deliberately obfuscated or misrepresented.
  • Every day, people, companies and governments make decisions that impact the health, security and livelihood of those around you, and insorfar as these decisions may or may not be “data-driven,” it's not uncommon for that data to be biased, spartan, missing altogether or even deliberately obfuscated. It's therefore important that everyone develop a critical eye toward data which informs policy.
  • The Dark Data Project is an organization which helps other organizations uncover, deobfuscate, semantify and analyze problematic datasets. Our team has a breadth of expertise in data science, public and private governance, and humanitarian technology.
  • No. The Dark Data Project is a humanitarian NGO (Non Governmental Organization), not an NPO (Non Profit Organization). There are several disadvantages to becoming an NPO, including onerous financial and tax obligations, that make NPO status a better fit for larger, bureaucratic, policy-focused organizations than for smaller, hands-on organizations which simply adhere to humanitarian principles.

    An additional key differentiator between NPOs and NGOs is funding. NPOs rely on government grants, private endowments and charitable donations (which is one reason for the increased financial reporting requirements of an NPO), whereas an NGO operates like a business and uses earned revenue to implement humanitarian impact. A reliance on earned revenue ensures that an NGO is financially sustainable rather than overly dependent on donor largesse.

    Both NPOs and NGOs have a role to play in the global humanitarian economy. As an NGO, The Dark Data Project believes it is best positioned to serve its mandate of empowering organizations to better use their data and improve the lives of impacted populations.


  • The Dark Data Project generally doesn't make financial investments like a traditional venture capital firm; we invest time and expertise rather than cash, which ensures that all parties are in alignment on the fundamentals of the business. Traditional VCs which make cash contributions often take a back seat because their primary interest is financial return, whereas the Dark Data Project is primarily interested in a business' social impact, which requires more involvment at the strategic level.
  • There is no one formula which the Dark Data Project applies to organizations it incubates. During the discovery period, we work with business owners to define the role the Dark Data Project will play in the organization's growth, and negotiate an appropatiate equity representation based on that role.

Pro Bono

  • Every year, a small number of projects are undertaken by the Dark Data Project pro bono, receiving the same investment and priority as regularly budgeted projects. Most pro bono recipients are nonprofit humanitarian organizations or government agencies, although any unfunded or underfunded entity is welcome to apply. Recipients are selected based on need and impact. Further application criteria can be found on our Pro Bono page.