One year on: 10 times bigger, masses more data… and a new API

Was it just a year ago that we launched OpenCorporates, after just a couple months’ coding? When we opened up over 3 million companies and allowed searching across multiple jurisdictions (admittedly there were just three of them to start off with)?

Who would have thought that 12 months later we would have become 10 times bigger, with over 30 million companies and over 35 jurisdictions, and lots of other data too. So we could use this as an example to talk about some of the many milestones in that period, about all the extra data we’ve added, about our commitment to open data, and the principles behind it.

We’re not going to do that however, instead we’d rather talk about the new API we’ve just launched, allowing full access to all the info, and importantly allowing searches via the API too. In fact, we’ve now got a full website devoted to the api,, and on it you’ll find all the documentation, example API calls, versioning information, error messages, etc.

Here are the brief highlights:

  • A versioned API, which means that you don’t have to immediately change your code when the API changes, as you can specify a version number to work against.
  • Lightweight JSON responses (XML will be coming soon), perfect for widgets, smartphones and modern web applications.
  • No registration is required, but an optional free API token allows higher usage limits.
  • No additional licence restrictions – same open data terms as the rest of OpenCorporates, even for heavy users.
  • All search parameters supported, allowing complex filtering by company type, status, data held, etc. Search data is paginated, with ability to increase results size. Search data can be sorted alphabetically or by match score.
  • Full provenance with data, including source url and when it was retrieved.
  • Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the API service will be shortly using different servers to the main website, ensuring that heavy usage of one won’t affect the service of the other

The API is not just for heavyweight users of corporate data. The JSON format is supported by a huge number of non-techie applications too, including visualisation tools, widget makers, and increasingly Google applications too, and ver the next month or so, we’ll give some examples of how to use it… unless you beat us too it.

Merry Christmas

The OpenCorporates Team

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