The Open Data Institute (ODI), which opens this week, has received its first investment of $750,000.
Philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network will provide the investment over two years to help develop UK open data businesses.
ODI chairman and artificial intelligence professor Nigel Shadbolt told Computer Weekly earlier this year that the body is also in discussions with around 40 businesses to match the £10m of funding which the government has committed to the project.
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Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who is also co-chair of the ODI, said other countries were looking to the UK as being a leader in open data.
“A lot of people have come to me since they heard of plans to launch the ODI with questions about how they can launch one in their own country," said Berners-Lee. "I think it’s great to have somewhere to centralise a lot of experience, a lot of the brilliant work that people have been doing in this area both within the UK in the international community.
"This is just the start of amazing things that are going to happen in this space,” he said.
The news comes as analysis from Deloitte found that the UK is leading the world in open data, with data.gov.uk having received more hits than counterpart sites abroad.
Between January 2010 and September 2012, demand for open data on data.gov.uk, measured by the average number of page views for each dataset, grew 285%.