YC-backed Our World in Data wants you to know that the planet is doing okay

TechCrunch | 1/23/2019 | Staff
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News is exhausting. Mexican murders are sky-high. Ebola is ravaging the eastern Congo. China is erasing an entire culture of Islam from its Western hinterlands. That news — negative and intense though it is — can easily occlude the many positive, longer term stories that are fundamental drivers of the world. Africa is reaching new levels of prosperity. Violence around the world is in retreat. Famine is down, a lot.

These trends are present, but getting high-quality data around them and correctly interpreting them can be challenging. How do you piece all these disparate threads together and start to make sense of the whole?

Enter - World - Data - Startup - Research

Enter Our World in Data. The non-profit startup, which started as a research project at Oxford University, builds datasets on human progress around the world and then uses visualizations and deep, clear explanations to allow people to grok exactly what’s happening as well as how to think about it.

Our World in Data is backed by YC in its current batch, and is one of three non-profits this cycle (we profiled another one of them, Upsolve, which is helping consumers file for bankruptcy). The portal has been receiving about a million users per month and two citations a day in major newspapers, and the team is hoping to scale those metrics up as part of the YC program.

Max - Roser - Founder - Program - Director

Max Roser, the founder and program director, officially organized the firm as a non-profit a few weeks ago, but has been working on it with a team of researchers over many years. “It began kind of slowly as a research project in around 2012,” he said. It was “a fairly small-scale project in the evenings and weekends in the beginning and got bigger and bigger over time.”

He points out that the progress we have seen in human society has happened at a...
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