DueDil - Here, not there.
The UK is unquestionably a global leader in data provision. It has shown this in the way it has opened up data sources, especially by mandating the release of machine-readable formats for official data.
DueDil has been something of a catalyst in this field. When we launched in 2011, one of the things we did was to take Companies House data on private businesses and digitise it, making it easier for people to search and access.
Now, Companies House makes that data available for free, which is great news for everyone, including DueDil. We unlock value for our customers by providing information and insight about pre-existing data sets. What is great about the UK is that there is transparency and a level of access to data here that is a step up from other countries. And when this is combined with the UK being an important market in its own right, with London being the largest financial centre in the world, huge opportunities are created.
Why is the UK this way? Well, it has been at the heart of a lot of data revolutions, in part because of the work of people like Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the Open Data Institute. There have also been some very forward-thinking people in government, combined with a mandate to be transparent.
As a result, we’ve been very successful at developing DueDil in the UK - around 1 million people a month use our product, and we’ve attracted nearly $30m in funding from some of the UK and the US’s leading investors. But with us both hailing from America, we’d also love to see a product like DueDil in the US, as well as other countries.
One obstacle to this happening in the US is the large amount of bureaucracy at both the state and federal level. Attitudes are also different; in the US, there’s a huge amount of information on individuals - and it’s therefore possible to carry out background checks which are really quite invasive - but company data is seen as being quite private. So there will definitely be challenges to establishing such a product over the Atlantic. By developing our company in the UK first and solving problems we encounter here, we will prepare ourselves to better address those issues when the time comes.
With regard to Europe, there are of course differences in approach between EU member states on open data. However, we already do provide information on companies in eighteen other European countries, and the prospects for expansion on the continent look very bright.