Womply, a software and API company serving small businesses and app developers, today announced it has partnered with Opportunity Insights, a team of researchers and policy analysts based at Harvard University, to launch the first real-time tracker of COVID-19 economic impact.
Launched with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Brown University, the OI Economic Tracker brings together the power of data held by the private sector with the rigor of independent academic analysis. Womply’s data is being used to power insights into the health of small businesses and broader consumer spending trends. The public-private partnership’s goal is to assist policymakers in understanding all dimensions of the current economic downturn and facilitate targeted and effective recovery efforts.
“The OI Economic Tracker will provide government leaders, policymakers, non-profits, and the public with the tools they need to tackle an economic crisis,” says economist Raj Chetty, Director of Opportunity Insights. “Rather than waiting weeks to see where the economy is falling and playing catch-up, the new data assembled in this tool offer the capacity to spot economic problems as they emerge and to consider a more targeted policy response.”
Womply’s software and API solutions are powered by billions of data points, including transaction data for millions of U.S. small businesses. For years, Womply has been tracking economic activity on Main Street and sharing analysis of consumer spending patterns as a public service. Amid the pandemic, Womply’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard has become one of the most widely cited sources of information about the outbreak’s economic impact on American small businesses.
“The past few months have rocked the American public health and economic infrastructures in unimaginable ways. Amid unprecedented uncertainty, it’s vital that policy makers and the public have accurate data to make decisions,” says Womply Founder and CEO Toby Scammell. “We’ve been tracking this information for years. In this time of crisis we believe companies like ours have a civic duty to make our insights freely available to government, non-profits, and academic institutions.”
The OI Economic Tracker is designed to meet the immediate needs of federal, state, and local policymakers and other community leaders. Until now, elected officials have relied on survey-based data and government statistics with a lag time of up to several weeks. Although very valuable, these traditional metrics have shortcomings in assessing immediate economic shocks, like that resulting from COVID-19, when live information at a granular level is critical for shaping appropriate responses.
The OI Economic Tracker is a unified platform that aggregates data from multiple sources to present a daily picture of economic activity. The interactive dashboard focuses on key economic indicators — including small business activity, employment, and consumer spending — alongside key contextual factors on education, public health, and policy milestones. Moreover, the data is provided at granular geographic levels and by industry and income level.
To maintain the strictest privacy controls, the data reflected in the OI Economic Tracker are aggregated, de-identified, and do not reveal information about specific individuals, transactions, or businesses. Opportunity Insights is a leader in developing privacy protection tools and methods, and all data releases follow rigorous protocols to protect individual privacy and business activity.
Each external organization that has contributed data to the Economic Tracker has done so with the explicit understanding that Opportunity Insights will use the contributed data in the Economic Tracker without precondition, subject to the data privacy standards set by data providers and any associated regulatory protections. In addition, Womply is PCI-DSS Level One Compliant, the most stringent standard for transaction data security. Opportunity Insights will never sell or monetize data and will not share the underlying data from the Economic Tracker with any third party.
The Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker is available at tracktherecovery.org. Additional resources and analysis can be found at opportunityinsight.org/tracker-resources, and a complete list of Womply’s COVID-19 economic analysis is available at womply.com/covid-19/.
Womply’s mission is to help small businesses thrive in a digital world. Founded in 2011, Womply is the leading provider of data and software to local businesses and the top software partner to the payments industry. Our AI-powered data platform powers our CRM and marketing software, which serves more than 450,000 small businesses in every corner of America. In addition, Womply’s data platform helps innovative developers create more powerful software for businesses and consumers alike. To learn more, visit www.womply.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Opportunity Insights
Opportunity Insights is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization based at Harvard University that seeks to translate rigorous scientific research to policy change by harnessing the power of “big data” using an interdisciplinary approach.
Founded by economists Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Nathaniel Hendren, Opportunity Insights’ mission is to identify barriers to economic opportunity and develop scalable solutions that will empower people throughout the United States to rise out of poverty and achieve better life outcomes.
For more information, please visit www.opportunityinsights.org.