Open data firm Okredo has finalized a €1 million seed round that was led by Lithuania’s Business Angels Fund and Presto Ventures, along with contributions from Startup Wise Guys and several angel investors.
Okredo’s software-as-a-service or SaaS platform assists SMEs with assessing the credibility, financial strength and sales potential of business partners and other clients. As mentioned in the announcement, the proceeds from this latest investment round will be channeled towards expanding into new European markets, amidst an environment of increasing regulatory support for open data.
Small businesses that have to deal with delayed payments from their clients – usually other businesses – tend to face economic risks that are made worse due to a lack of financial literacy as well as a lack of affordable tools for handling this type of risk.
Research studies reveal that in the United Kingdom alone, for instance, late payments made to SMBs total around £61 billion. Smaller firms are really exposed to these kinds of risks as they do not have the appropriate budgets for costly credit bureau reporting, human resources for in-house analysis, or financial training to carefully vet partners and clients.
With the European Union’s Open Data Directive becoming effective, companies and businesses, as well as other enterprises in member states, are being required to report on data points that include debt loads to changes in the c-suite.
Although this data is currently “open” (a work that is in relatively slow progress), it is being hosted in different agencies, some of them being private, and these agencies are currently under no requirements to package the datasets in a way that’s manageable for SMEs.
With AI-powered analysis, Okredo enhances raw, open data and packages as part of modules and reports via a customizable web-based GUI. These modules and reports offer credit scores and insights which get updated during the lifecycle of a partnership, from identification of potential leads to monitoring of changes that may impact the business relationship – giving alerts, for instance, when an account may be upsold.
In the cases of customer non-payment, Okredo is able to assist firms with determining whether negotiating, going to court, or publishing the debt on the platform will be an appropriate course of action. Additionally, the platform includes a special eco score, which lets firms assess the overall environmental impact of a firm’s vehicle fleet.
Gerda Jurkoniene, Co-founder at Okredo, stated:
“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. Our vision is bold: we want to become a leading open data platform in Europe within the next five years. We are confident in our abilities and the capabilities of our platform to be able to scale quickly to new markets while at the same time provide best-in-class service to our customers.”
Arvydas Strumskis, Managing Partner at the Lithuanian Business Angels Fund remarked:
“Okredo combines in-depth industry knowledge with exceptional technical expertise, which has resulted in an extremely robust and innovative open data platform that is able to drive services beyond current market needs and will be highly adaptable to future customer requirements. We are confident our investment will enable Okredo to successfully scale and succeed in its business goals.”
Roman Nováček, Partner of Presto Ventures, added:
“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. Okredo represents one of those rare breeds and we are very pleased we will accompany them on their journey to become a leading European open data platform. 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.”