Open data startup Okredo has closed a €1 million seed funding round led by the Lithuanian Business Angels Fund and Presto Ventures, with support from Startup Wise Guys as well as several angel investors. Okredo’s SaaS platform helps SMEs assess the credibility, financial strength and sales potential of new and existing business partners and customers. This round of funding will be used to expand into new European markets, amidst a backdrop of growing regulatory support for open data.
SMEs that deal with delayed payments from their customers – usually other businesses – face economic risks that are often exacerbated by a lack of financial literacy combined with a lack of affordable tools for managing this risk. Studies indicate that in the UK alone, for example, late payments to SMEs currently total £61 billion. Smaller companies are particularly exposed to such risks as they do not have the budgets for expensive credit bureau reporting, human resources for in-house analysis, or financial training to sufficiently vet new and existing partners and customers.
With the EU’s Open Data Directive going into effect this year, businesses and other enterprises in member states are now required to report on data points that range from debt loads to changes in the c-suite. While this data is technically now ‘open’ (a work that remains in slow progress), it is actually hosted in a myriad of different agencies, some of them private, and these agencies are under no requirements to package the datasets in any kind of SME-friendly way.
With AI-driven analysis, Okredo enhances raw, open data and packages it in the form of modules and reports through a user-friendly and customizable web GUI. These modules and reports provide credit scores and insights which are dynamically updated during the entire lifecycle of a partnership, from identification of potential leads to monitoring of overall changes that can affect the business relationship – giving alerts, for example, when an account might be upsold. In the event of customer non-payment, Okredo can help businesses determine whether negotiating, going to court, or publishing the debt on the platform will be the best course of action. The platform also includes a unique eco score, which allows businesses to assess the environmental impact of a company’s vehicle fleet.
Gerda Jurkoniene, co-founder of Okredo, said: “Open data provides an immense economic opportunity for organizations, and we want to give even the smallest of businesses the means to effectively evaluate risks and explore new sales opportunities in order to thrive and prosper. Our vision is bold: we want to become a leading open data platform in Europe within the next five years. We are confident in our abilities and the capabilities of our platform to be able to scale quickly to new markets while at the same time provide best-in-class service to our customers.”
Arvydas Strumskis, managing partner at the Lithuanian Business Angels Fund said: “Okredo combines in-depth industry knowledge with exceptional technical expertise, which has resulted in an extremely robust and innovative open data platform that is able to drive services beyond current market needs and will be highly adaptable to future customer requirements. We are confident our investment will enable Okredo to successfully scale and succeed in its business goals.”
Roman Nováček, Partner of Presto Ventures, said: “It’s unusual to come across startup founders that are not only very experienced in the field, but at the same time offer a very fresh perspective on a market problem. Okredo represents one of those rare breeds and we are very pleased we will accompany them on their journey to become a leading European open data platform. We estimate this to be, at minimum, a €175 million opportunity, although open data is only recently truly ‘open,’ so the real number is likely much higher.”