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Cover image for OCS 2020 Breakout: Javier de la Torre, Founder Carto
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OCS 2020 Breakout: Javier de la Torre, Founder Carto

Joseph (JJ) Jacks
COSS missionary
・2 min read

Javier de la Torre co-founded CARTO in 2012. Frustrated by existing GIS solutions, he wanted to make it simpler to perform spatial analysis. Javier de la Torre is now Chief Strategy Officer of CARTO, and is considered as one of the pioneers in the Location Intelligence field. Under his leadership, CARTO has grown from a groundbreaking idea into one of the fastest growing geospatial companies in the world. He started his career as a conservation scientist, applying data sharing technologies to analyze and visualize endangered species. In 2007, he founded Vizzuality, a renowned geospatial company dedicated to bridging the gap between science and policy making by the better use of data. He has been widely recognized for his visionary leadership and is a frequent keynote speaker on spatial analysis, open source, geospatial technology, and biodiversity informatics. Javier holds a degree in Agriculture Engineering and Environmental Science from the Universidad Politéncia de Madrid and Freie Universität Berlin. He is an advisory member at multiple organizations, like the European Biodiversity Observation Network. As CSO of CARTO, Javier is responsible for supporting the execution of the core strategies to achieve the company’s mission, the democratization of location intelligence.

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JJ interviews Javier de la Torre, co-founder of Carto, covering a range of topics: GIS industry origins, OSS evolutions and modern business model challenges.

You founded Carto less than a decade ago, and you’ve now built the company to 150 people, you’re venture funded, raised Series A and Series B. You’re operating in a very interesting market with mapping technology, GIS, spatial analytics. - 0:15

It looks like CartoDB is at the heart of the company. What is the relationship between the commercial entity Carto and the open-source CartoDB? (see: https://github.com/CartoDB/cartodb, https://github.com/postgis/postgis) - 2:37

Talk about the marketplace and the ecosystem. There’s ESRI and a few providers that’s been around for decades. Why is open source so powerful here? - 6:50

You mentioned Mapbox. There was some recent reaction from the community on Mapbox changing some of the licensing around their open-source. I understand CartoDB is BSD3 licensed. On that topic, what is your perspective on the licensing evolution? (See: https://github.com/maplibre/maplibre-gl-js) - 13:03

What advice would you give founders building open-source companies, getting started on this journey, pursuing this open core model? What reflections can you provide from the last 8 years building Carto? - 19:03


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