haysmacintyre’s hot seat: 30 minutes with Damian Kimmelman, co-founder of DueDil
An occasional series featuring haysmacintyre’s clients who are leading developments within the creative, media and technology sectors
This time around we feature Damian Kimmelman, co-founder of DueDil, the private company information platform that is enabling businesses across Europe to be agile and optimistic during a time of uncertainty.
DueDil is on a mission to become the world’s largest source of private company information. Here, Damian shares his vision for increased business prosperity achieved through the confident use of company data.
What led to DueDil being founded - and how was it received?
The key insight that private company information would not remain ‘private’ and to aggregate and contextualise data would offer great value to companies.
To start, those we talked to thought what we intended was somehow illegal; they couldn’t fathom the billing structure when comparing it to the Companies House ‘£1 per download’ approach and thought we might fall foul of some sort of copyright infringement rules. Others thought the business couldn't scale. The onset of PSD2 and Open banking, which makes real-time financial data on private businesses available goes to show that there is now beginning to be a fundamental shift in attitude towards the value that opening up company information can bring.
Has your initial vision for the business altered?
The focus was and remains automating and creating competitor advantage through due diligence. Initially SMEs were our focus core market, but we’ve realised SMEs are not early adopters of our technology, while the mid-tier are more receptive and that’s where we made our first sales inroads. A key component of our success in this segment has been through growing our company coverage (we've grown from an initial 12m to 131m by the end of the year).
We aggregate data on private companies and this responds directly to the inefficiencies of larger companies that silo their information. By doing so, we’ve made compliance a strategic opportunity, enabling businesses to frontload and reduce their prequalifying processes, so onboarding of new clients is less costly and more efficient.
Swift access to dependable information on private companies influences the funding of SMEs. Now, lenders can make positive decisions on supporting these businesses, which has a wider impact on society. There was a lack of trust associated with business lending. The requirement for personal guarantees strangles business growth. New banking customers are expensive to acquire and process. Access to data enables trust by quantifying risk and avoids the requirement for personal guarantees.
SMEs benefit also from deploying DueDil sourced information achieving more certainty in their own business decisions. By identifying and understanding their competitive landscape, prospects and other counterparties through data, bad business decisions can be avoided. We’re supporting businesses in their own self-realisation; access to data can deliver a simple solution fix or a change a business’s strategy.
We can enable businesses to be opportunistic and agile, for example, by mapping their current clients’ specification with other businesses in their territories to allow efficient and effective market segmentation.
Have you experienced any setbacks?
Yes, but those are to be expected. It took three years to establish the data architecture. This was a period of brand building and with no revenues. Now, sales are growing 100 percent year on year.
The business is countercyclical; in times of uncertainty businesses can defer to data to achieve greater assurance. These businesses can be agile and respond to opportunities when they are presented recognising them for what they are, when competitors procrastinate.
Do you have a mentor?
I don’t rely on only one mentor, but am fortunate enough to have dozens of networks I can tap into. The key is to identify the problem you need help with and ensure you engage the appropriate audience to enable you to test your own assumptions. It’s helpful to divorce the issue from your own circumstances, to have a less emotional approach.
Do you have a business person you admire, your own business hero?
I admire many business builders and respect each for a different quality. I read about my contemporaries. Eric Schmidt is someone I admire - as is our chairman, Alan Millard.
What’s next for DueDil?
DueDil offers three value propositions to customers: 1) reduce risk in client portfolios, 2) create dramatic efficiencies and 3) free up staff time to think. We can solve problems for big businesses and small businesses - and businesses that can integrate our data into their own workflows and customise their usage will achieve the best efficiencies.
But the applications of data are more fundamental and can be applied on a macro scale to decisions that affect all our lives. Right now, governments base decisions on out-of-date surveys of non representative samples of businesses. The world of business is fluid, with business types and solutions evolving continuously. In the face of Brexit uncertainties, governments are flying blind by failing to use current and dynamic data. Use of good data can change that.
Why did you start working with haysmacintyre?
David Cox has been my accountant and an adviser for over 12 years and I have always been entirely happy with the service I receive, both on an individual and company basis.
For further information on haysmacintyre services for Creative, Media and Technology businesses please contact David Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
T: +44 20 7969 5564