Meet Laurence Reid, Head of Demand Generation

What is your role at OpenCorporates?

I joined in January as Head of Demand Generation. I’m OpenCorporates’ first dedicated marketing hire.

What drew you to work for OpenCorporates?

It was primarily OpenCorporates’ disruptive mission of making open company data available for public benefit. In the short time I’ve been here, it has been exciting to see all the different ways that journalists, investigators and due diligence professionals (amongst our many other users) have used our data to uncover illicit activity and to benefit society. If OpenCorporates didn’t exist, there would be no one else doing what we are doing. 

It is also a good opportunity for me to develop, having moved from looking after a regional marketing function in a bigger company to being the sole marketer for a ‘small’ company. When I say small, I mean in terms of headcount only, as OpenCorporates punches well above its weight in terms of impact.

A key focus in my role is to help convey the utility that open company data has not only to public benefit organisations, but also to commercial organisations. Commercial outfits use company data to solve important societal challenges such as verifying the identity of their customers for Know Your Customer purposes or for investigating illicit activity, amongst many other things, so it’s no less compelling.

Tell us a bit about your background before OpenCorporates?

I have worked in marketing for companies in the risk management, anti-financial crime and aviation sectors. Throughout my career, I have found myself attracted to companies which leverage data and technology to solve problems in novel ways. There are a lot of overlaps between these themes and what OpenCorporates does.

I have been lucky to work with and learn from some really interesting people, who have done everything from working for the FBI or the military to leading global financial crime compliance efforts. This helped me learn about the scale of the challenge in preventing financial crime, as well as about new ways of fighting it.

How is working for OpenCorporates different to your previous jobs?

Some of the companies I worked for previously have built powerful technology solutions to manage risk. Anyone who works in the AI or data space will tell you that these kinds of AI-based systems are only as good as the data you train them on – the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ problem. 

It has been interesting to transition from such companies to OpenCorporates, as our main role is to equip people with the foundational dataset which can power these kinds of tools.

After all, you can’t connect the dots and uncover risk if you don’t know what dots (i.e. companies and the people related to them) are out there.

What is the same at OpenCorporates however compared with my previous roles is the challenge of keeping up with people who are experts in their field. Whilst I’m still getting up to speed at OpenCorporates (and learning all about LLCs, LLPs and SLPs in the process), I’m enjoying the challenge.

What do you think people should know about OpenCorporates that they might not be able to glean from the outside yet?

To name just a few things:

  • Scale of the demand for White Box company data
    Our website regularly receives millions of visitors each month, many of whom are using our free open service to search for companies.

  • Range of commercial applications
    Companies ranging from major corporations to nimble start-ups already rely on our data to inform key risk management processes or to power innovative new tools.

  • Public benefit
    Our data has been used as part of investigations into illicit activity, such as the Panama Papers, the investigation into Danske Bank and more recently the OCCRP’s #29Leaks project.

What do you do in your spare time?

Most of my free time is usually spent dancing Argentine tango. I started ten years ago and now I’m hooked.

Finally, what was the last thing you listened to?

Apart from tango music?

I listened to an episode of The Dark Money Files. I’d recommend the podcast to anybody looking to stay up to date on the anti-financial crime world.

OpenCorporates is hiring

If you think you can help us on our mission to bring about global corporate transparency, please consider applying for one of our vacancies.

Apply here >

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