Want to see how open data translates into new business models? Look to the London-based fintech firm Duedil, which has just completed a $5 million Series A round of funding.
Duedil is an aggregator and data visualization outfit that provides due diligence services through a freemium model. It focuses on private companies and it gets its information about them largely thanks to the U.K.’s open data policies, although it also buys data from sources such as Companies House and the Ministry of Justice (for county court judgement debt information). Quite neatly, users can also sync the service with their LinkedIn accounts, so they can perform due diligence on their contacts.
The firm focuses on making this range of complex data — asset value, intellectual property records, turnover, litigation and health-and-safety violation records, director information — easier to intepret, and its customers range from corporate lawyers and venture capitalists to small businesses checking up on their suppliers. Seventy-five of the FTSE 100 companies are clients. Duedil has also notably been used in some of The Guardian‘s (see disclosure) data journalism efforts, such as its recent exposé on companies (and individuals) that ferret their money away in tax havens.
The service is generally free to use, although company document downloads and credit reports need to be purchased through a pay-as-you-go system. In a couple of weeks, though, Duedil will launch subscription packages that come with varying quotas of these each month.
The funding round was led by Notion Capital and Oak Investment Partners, with others such as Passion Capital and Spotify investor Shakil Khan also taking part. According to Duedil CEO Damian Kimmelman, the investment will be used to expand into new regions and hire more engineers and data scientists.
Powered by open data
It seems a happy coincidence that Duedil is planning to move into other European countries just as the governments of those countries have agreed to adopt open data policies.
“The value lies in linking datasets from data providers, governments and businesses themselves into one place,” Duedil commercial officer Andrew Connolly told me. “There is quite a progressive culture here [in the UK] in terms of open data. European data is quite exciting for us – we’ll take data from wherever we can get it.”
Duedil isn’t the only British company working in this field. Another interesting example is OpenCorporates, which is pulling in data from all over the world, but the difference there is that OpenCorporates is entirely focused on open data, whereas Duedil works with a mix of open/free and closed/paid-for, both in terms of the data coming in and the services going out.
“They’ve been a great team in terms of making data easily accessible, but they have slightly different source feed,” Connolly said. “They want to give everything away for free. For us, we believe in open data but not all data should be open. A director might not be comfortable with his home address being open to the public.”
As for expansion outside Europe, Connolly certainly sounded wary of the U.S. market, which he described as a “quagmire” due to the wide variety of jurisdictional regulations around private company data.
Disclosure: The Guardian is an investor in Giga Omni Media, which publishes GigaOM.