5 ways to use the OpenCorporates API to power your critical business processes

Workflow automation, data analytics and AI increasingly power all kinds of vital business tools. But these technologies can only scale and power critical business processes if the data fuelling them is reliable and fit-for-purpose. That’s why hundreds of enterprises rely on the OpenCorporates API every day, to enhance their solutions with programmatic access to transparent company data.

In this blog, we outline 5 of the many essential ways you can use our API to power tech and data solutions – to manage risk, uncover insights and add value for your users.

If you’re looking for the technical detail though, you’ll want to visit the OpenCorporates API Reference.

Benefits of an API for tech & data solutions

We outlined the benefits and characteristics of using an API to access company data in a previous blog. Calling on company data programmatically via an API is especially suited to powering automated workflow solutions such as collecting data during KYC and many more.

It’s simply not possible to query hundreds of jurisdictions’ registers via an API – as many simply don’t have them (let alone open data!). 

That’s where the OpenCorporates data platform comes in.

Each of the API query parameters below can search across all (or some, if you prefer) of the jurisdictions we cover. They can be layered on top of each other – allowing you to narrow down the companies or officers you are looking for.

Better yet, as our transparent company data comes only from official sources and contains clear provenance (to name just some of the benefits) it allows you to deploy it with greater confidence than with opaque data from legacy vendors.

1. Search by a company’s name

On the face of it, being able to search for a specific legal entity may not sound all that exciting. But it’s critical for so many companies and individuals who only have a vague reference to a company (such as on an invoice or legal document) and need to accurately identify the legal entity it corresponds to in the public record. That’s why many in-house onboarding teams integrate our API into their customer lifecycle management or other systems.

RegTech companies such as Exiger, Encompass and ethiXbase, who have built innovative automated due diligence solutions also aid this identification and verification (ID&V) step of onboarding by integrating our API. Their users start with a company name and match it to the corresponding legal entity as per the official public record through our API. Then once the client has found the right legal entity, the rest of their workflow follows on – informed by that first step.

2. Search by a company’s incorporation date

Knowing exactly when a company was registered may sound pedestrian, but this information recently powered an anti-fraud investigation which made front page news. The Miami Herald and Anti-Corruption Data Collective used this API query parameter to expose how millions of dollars in government loans had been given to companies who allegedly weren’t eligible for the US Paycheck Protection Program – as the companies were incorporated after the required data. 

3. Search by a company’s registered address

Searching to identify the companies registered at a particular address simply isn’t possible within the great majority of the existing architecture of publicly available company data. But our API lets you do it across more than 140 jurisdictions – unified into a single data schema. If thousands of companies are registered at the same address, this could be a red flag for investigative reporters or financial crime investigators. 

Research by The Times and investigator Graham Barrow, who presented a masterclass about how to use our data for investigations, found suspiciously large numbers of companies registered to prestigious London addresses, many of which didn’t appear legitimate. While the #29Leaks investigation by the Organised Crime & Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) found that company formation agents using a particular address are “regularly exploited by criminals”. 

4. Search by a company officer

Without OpenCorporates, anyone trying to identify all companies for which an individual is a director or officer would have to go to every country’s register and search their name – if indeed it’s possible to search by officer at all in that jurisdiction (hint: in many – it isn’t!). 

Instead, our API allows you to search by an officer and see all companies with which they are related in all the jurisdictions we cover. This is essential for due diligence, risk management and investigative reporting. Without it, you’re potentially missing companies, or company directors, that a person is connected to across jurisdictions.

5. Filter by the type of company or a company’s status

Companies need to rate the risk posed by third parties on an ongoing basis and a useful indicator of risk is the type and status of the company they are dealing with. For example, if a company’s status was inactive but they recently became active again, this should prompt further investigation to assess their risk profile. 

We hope this blog illustrates just some of the ways your organisation could benefit from using transparent company data at scale via the OpenCorporates API. 

Want to dig deeper?
Read our API Reference > 

Looking to get up and running with our API quickly?

Stay tuned because we plan to publish a collection of template calls you can make to the OpenCorporates API to help you get started as quickly as possible. 

Can’t wait until then?
Get access to the OpenCorporates API >

You may also be interested in…

  • Exposing Covid-19 relief fraud
    Find out more about the investigation into the Paycheck Protection Program which was powered by OpenCorporates’ data.
  • Case study: Exiger
    Learn how Exiger’s DDIQ automates due diligence verification using OpenCorporates’ data via our API.

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