On winning the Best Open Data Business Award



Last night OpenCorporates was the proud recipient of the Open Data Business award in the ODI’s Open Data Awards – this is a great honour, and I’m rather humbled by it, and proud of the team that got us this far.

Of course, awards are great to get, but they don’t in themselves change the world. Nor pay wages. And so I’d like to focus a little not on the award, but just take a moment to reflect back on the journey and the work for which the award is recognition.

Where we are now seems a long way from when we launched OpenCorporates 3 years ago, and just 3 million companies in 3 jurisdictions. With now over 85 million companies in 105 jurisdictions, that’s a pretty significant growth… and we’re hopeful that we may just make the 100 million figure by the end of this year.

More than that, OpenCorporates has become an essential part of the corporate data landscape, used every day by journalists, anti-corruption investigators, law enforcement, even banks. We’re also building a significant community around opening up corporate data, both with our #FlashHacks events, and projects such as MapTheBanks. And we’ve also shown that open data need not be a poor cousin to proprietary data, but can actually win on quality, transparency, granularity and provenance.

That’s not just us talking but is evidenced by the clients that we’ve won over the past couple of years, that use OpenCorporates data not because we are nice people doing the right thing, but have data they can use and rely upon. Clients such as:

  • The World Bank
  • LinkedIn
  • Creditsafe
  • The US Government
  • Bureau van Dijk
  • Stripe
  • Avention
  • …and many more

And we’ve done this while at the same time making sure we always work towards the public benefit and actually do help make the world a little better (see our impact report for more details).

Finally it’s customary at awards to thank people. While we’re proud of what we’ve done, we think we should really be thanking:

  • The Open Data community for their support and help from collecting data to talking about our work
  • The Alfred P Sloan Foundation, who generously gave us grants to do groundbreaking work on corporate structures and on our data pipeline that is starting to bring millions of regulatory filings and records into OpenCorporates
  • The Open Data Institute, who helped sharpen up our business model and focus
  • Level39, for being a fantastic place to work and helping us grow our business
  • The wonderful supporters who nominated us for the award and the judges who thought we deserved the recognition
  • The colleagues that are now on different paths but believed in our mission and worked to bring it to life
  • Our volunteers who use their spare time to write bots for us, do research, write stories and investigate corporate networks
  • …and many more

Now of course, this is where the real work begins. Winning awards is easy… at least compared with changing the world of information about all the corporations in the world for the public good. The question is, how will you help us get there?

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