Looking to expand into Latvia, Poland, and the UK, Vilnius-based open data platform Okredo has closed a €1 million seed funding round. The startup takes advantage of the EU's open data directive and helps SME’s assess the credibility, financial strength, and sales potential of new and existing business partners and customers. Perhaps better said, Okredo points out those that are most likely to not pay their invoices on time.
The numbers don’t lie. Within the UK SME market alone, there are £61 billion owed in late payments, a figure that’s up 20% from just last year. And the smaller the SME, the bigger the risk is that these late payments are going to be the proverbial straw that breaks the camels’ back. The European Commission found that in the UK, 30% of businesses indicated that late payment had links to subsequent redundancies, compared to 35% of businesses in Germany; 28% in Spain and 25% in France.
However, with the EU’s open data directive being fully enforced as of July of this year, member state businesses are required to report a number of data points, including debt loads. Now while this is all fine and dandy, and technically, open and available, once a search is sought, let the headaches begin. One piece of data might be held at any one of a thousand different agencies, some of them private, with absolutely no requirements for any of them to present this ‘open’ data in any discernable, or better yet, SME-friendly way.
If you’re starting to pick up what Okredo is laying down, you’re on the right track. Using an AI-based analysis process, the startup gathers, formats, and presents raw open data in a manner human beings can not only understand, but make use of.
Going a step further, if an established relationship does go south, Okredo’s services can automatically advise the SME on where the most gains could be made, i.e. negotiating, going to court, or publishing the debt on the platform.
“Open data provides an immense economic opportunity for organizations, and we want to give even the smallest of businesses the means to effectively evaluate risks and explore new sales opportunities in order to thrive and prosper,” explains co-founder and Lector at Vilnius University Gerda Jurkoniene.
“It’s unusual to come across startup founders that are not only very experienced in the field, but at the same time offer a very fresh perspective on a market problem,” said Presto Ventures’ Roman Nováček. “We estimate this to be, at minimum, a €175 million opportunity, although open data is only recently truly ‘open,’ so the real number is likely much higher.”