Case study: 6 Degree Intelligence cuts investigation time down to a fraction using OpenCorporates data

Investigators from commercial and public-benefit organisations regularly use OpenCorporates data as part of investigations into illicit activity.

Below is an exciting case study illustrating how 6 Degree Intelligence have combined our data with other datasets to reduce investigation time, and to provide cross-jurisdictional insight in financial crime and modern slavery investigations.

“With OpenCorporates data and our network analytics solution, it took us minutes to replicate an investigation that would previously have taken months. OpenCorporates data enables this by making connections between entities, officers and addresses across many jurisdictions that would otherwise be totally disparate”.
Steve Overton, Founder, 6 Degree Intelligence


Uncovering risk hidden within disparate unconnected datasets is fundamental to successful investigations. 

6 Degree Intelligence approached OpenCorporates when they were building a cloud-based intelligence platform designed to enable investigators to identify connections between individuals, companies and places. The aim was to accelerate investigations into money laundering and other illicit activity by identifying the operational framework utilised by potential bad actors – especially the use of legal entities as vehicles to hide or facilitate criminal activity.

Their challenge was to find a trusted source of company data they could combine with other datasets, allowing investigators to go far deeper than the “first degree” relationships that manual searches usually reveal.


6 Degree Intelligence incorporated OpenCorporates’ bulk data on North American legal entities, company officers and their addresses into its platform.

The data provided was:

  • Easily combined with other datasets – helping investigators connect the dots
    OpenCorporates’ data was easy to combine with a range of other datasets, allowing investigators to gain insights and find leads. These datasets included: 
    • Sanctions lists
    • Regulated entity lists, such as lists of money service bureaus or companies in the marijuana industry
    • High-profile leak data, including the Panama Papers
    • Potential human trafficking risk data
    • Sector-specific risk indicators, for example: individuals and businesses banned from dispensing drugs in the healthcare sector

  • Provenanced – providing line of sight for investigators
    This allowed users of 6 Degree Intelligence’s platform to see at all times from which official company register data points originate.

  • Easily consumed – so data is quickly leveraged for investigations
    OpenCorporates standardises data from across North America, which allowed 6 Degree Intelligence to rapidly and easily ingest the data. Since US company data is siloed off in a separate registry for each state, OpenCorporates’ approach of collecting and standardising the available data greatly accelerated its consumption.

  • High quality & fresh – a foundational layer that 6 Degree Intelligence built on top of
    6 Degree Intelligence relies on OpenCorporates data to act as a spine of trusted information. Approximately half of the 450m datapoints in their platform come from OpenCorporates.


  • Reduced investigation time
    With OpenCorporates data, the 6 Degree Intelligence platform was able to dramatically reduce the time it took investigators to uncover illicit networks – down from what would have previously taken traditional investigators months, to mere minutes.

  • Cross-jurisdictional insight
    6 Degree Intelligence was able to draw greater investigative insights by making connections between legal entities and people across many different jurisdictions.

  • Uncovered illicit activity
    OpenCorporates data helped identify leads and actual instances of illicit activity, as part of financial crime and modern slavery investigations.

Redacted network diagram linking corporate entities & people, powered by OpenCorporates data

Client: 6 Degree Intelligence

North Carolina-based 6 Degree Intelligence develops advanced data research and analytics tools that allow investigators and analysts to identify connections of individuals and organizations far deeper than the known “first degree” relationships manual searches reveal. 

“6 Degree Intelligence”, which was built on a cloud-based platform, is the company’s first commercially available software product designed for small to mid-size financial institutions, businesses and investigative bodies.

About OpenCorporates

OpenCorporates is the largest open database of company information in the world, containing information on over 180 million companies in 130+ jurisdictions, all from primary public sources. Founded 10 years ago, it is a public-benefit company, whose primary public-benefit mission is to make company information more accessible, more useful and more usable. 

Public-benefit and private organisations rely on OpenCorporates data to power investigations into illicit activity, KYC solutions and business intelligence.

OpenCorporates has a unique structure with a set of world-renowned trustees to guarantee its independence and its public-benefit mission. This governance, data and expertise is allowing it to become the world’s underlying supplier of foundational company data for the good of business and for society.

Start Using OpenCorporates Data Today

OpenCorporates provides trusted legal entity data for major commercial and public-benefit organisations. 

Find out more about our data >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s