2021: A landmark year for OpenCorporates

By Sarah Arana-Morton, CEO of OpenCorporates

2021 has highlighted just how important it is that company data is transparent and open to all. Now more than ever, it is crucial to understand precisely who you are in business with and how the company landscape is changing.

We see this clearly with many more compa​​nies and individuals using our transparent company data everyday – from the most high-profile journalistic investigations to large enterprises using it across their business operations to manage risk and more.

It has been a year of transformational change for OpenCorporates. 

Our achievements include:

Expanded our global coverage to 200 million companies
This global view of companies is unified from 140 jurisdictions, along with data on the more than 276 million officers associated with them. The pace of this growth has quickened since we started collecting fresher data from company registries all around the world.

Fresher data than ever
Improving the freshness of our data was among my top priorities for 2021. I’m pleased to say we’ve recently made enormous strides in this area – especially in the US. We’re proud that for most US states, information about new company incorporations now appears in our database within a week of it appearing in the respective company registry – and for many states it’s even quicker than that.

Our data was used to investigate millions of dollars of Covid-related fraud and more
I am proud of the continued impact of our open data to help expose illicit activity. This impact was literally front-page news when The Times’ featured an investigation powered by OpenCorporates data into the alleged defrauding of the UK government’s furlough scheme. Similarly, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists used our data to support their high profile Pandora Papers investigation. Our open company data is relied upon by journalists, NGOs and academics, including: the OECD’s knowledge graph, shining a light on compliance with modern slavery law and illustrating who finances the commodities that drive deforestation.  

Client base grew significantly
The market for transparent company data is thriving. Yet again, we have seen a significant increase in our client base, thanks to an increase in demand. Our diverse users include government agencies and multinational companies from many sectors, which shows how fundamental company data is to business operations. Find out how organisations such as the US Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and Encompass choose to receive our data at scale. 

Newly formed leadership team with experience building successful data platforms
Having been appointed as CEO this year, I created an ambitious new leadership team who have the skills and experience to lead the transparent data market the world needs today. We were fortunate to hire experts including Andrew Dunn, as our new CTO, and Tim Goodman, as our Head of Data Acquisition, who bring invaluable new experience in the data and tech worlds. As we continue to grow, I am delighted to have appointed Chloe Trenchard as our Chief Human Resources Officer.

As an executive team we work closely with our Operating Board, which guarantees our accountability, transparency and good governance. Our Chair Oliver Ratzesberger is now joined by our Non-Executive Director (NED) Julia Apostle, who has worked as a lawyer for Twitter and the Financial Times – as well as our other NED Alessia Falsarone, who is a leader in sustainable investment. 

Team growth – including setting up our US team operation
Over the course of 2021 our team grew significantly and I am proud to have firmly planted the OpenCorporates flag in the US, having set up an operation and team there. In addition, we created a new customer success function led by Eric Lau, to ensure our clients generate maximum value from our transparent company data. We recruit carefully to ensure we bring in people who share our values and also have the passion and ambition to reach our goals. 

Inclusion & diversity  
Inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging are among my core values. I am happy that we are evenly balanced by gender overall and that I am part of an Operating Board with a majority of women. At the past year’s meetings, I saw first-hand that diversity leads to openness to challenge, innovation and ultimately better business outcomes. 

Wins for corporate transparency through open company data
We continued to publicly make the case for open data last year, particularly through expert involvement around the EU Public Sector and Open Data Directive and UK Companies House reform – although movement still seems to be slow. We did see some breakthroughs, for example, in Illinois we achieved a significant win in March when a corporate transparency bill was passed. We will continue to lobby and to make our voices heard.

Looking ahead

Overall, 2021 was a great year for OpenCorporates and this is only the start of our journey. We have set ourselves ambitious goals for 2022 to make available even more high-quality data, to accelerate our growth and to scale up as a best-in-class data platform that is open to all. In doing so, we will fundamentally disrupt the business information market for the benefit of all.

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