DueDil KYC for Business

UK business information vendor DueDil partnered with CallCredit Information Group for an enhanced KYC (Know Your Customer) service.  The new API service provides real-time access to company, director, and beneficial ownership data to expedite onboarding and financial compliance.

“This service provides a one-stop-shop for a business’s identification and verification needs,” said Alan Golob, CallCredit Data Solutions Director.  “By combining Callcredit’s data, industry knowledge and first line support capabilities with DueDil’s data and development expertise, we’ve created a service that will fully integrate into a client’s system or work as a standalone tool.  Advancements in regulatory requirements have caused many businesses to reassess their processes and checks, and this solution answers this need.”

DueDil covers forty million European companies across nine countries with plans to expand across all of Europe.

“Compliance is not only a regulatory requirement, it is the heart of every resilient business,” said DueDil CEO Damian Kimmelman.  “This can only be achieved by having a true and comprehensive profile of the customers that you are dealing with. Customers of our new service will have the comfort of knowing that they can make KYC checks in a simple, automated way through a platform which is underpinned by one of Europe’s largest company information sources.  Enhanced due diligence checks should form part of a balanced risk-based approach and can help organisations assess customers and meet regulatory requirements.”

DueDil: New Chairman, Expanded Coverage

DueDil Group Graph for Spotify
DueDil Group Graph for Spotify

DueDil, which provides financial research and sales intelligence services for the UK and Europe, named Alan Millard as its Chairman.  Millard is a consultant for the Table Group and has worked with CEOs and executives at IBM, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, SABmiller, and GSK.  Previously, Millard was the COO at Hiscox UK and CEO of its subsidiary Hiscox Underwriting.

“Alan is helping us transition from a founder led team to an executive led organization,” said DueDil founder and CEO Damian Kimmelman.  “He brings with him the eye of the customer which is so critical as we scale. I am honoured to have him on board guiding our global ambitions.”

DueDil recently expanded its database beyond the UK and Ireland to provide company coverage of France, Germany, Benelux, and the Nordics.  However, they are already talking about a true global dataset to rival Dun & Bradstreet and Bureau van Dijk.  By the end of the year, they expect to offer pan-European coverage and begin to extend their reach to additional global markets.  Thus, their database will grow from 11 million companies at the beginning of the year to 40 million companies in March and 100 million by the end of the year.  Their goal is to be the “largest source of private company information in the world,” said COO Justin Fitzpatrick.

“A more open business world is essential to global growth and prosperity. DueDil is already the largest and richest source of private company information in the U.K., and one of the largest in Europe. We are on an incredible journey to cover over 200 million companies globally by the end of 2018. I am excited to be part of a company that genuinely improves the business landscape and encourages growth and trade,” said Millard.

“Our mission at DueDil is to create the largest source of private company information to help businesses to find opportunity and mitigate risk,” stated DueDil CRO Pierre Berlin at DueDil’s recent Spotlight user conference.  “We help businesses in the digital transformation.  Leveraging it by transforming the business relationship with the key stakeholder in the organization.  Our value proposition at DueDil is to make your business more agile [and] resilient, by providing access to the richest information on the company that matters to you.”

According to Fitzpatrick, DueDil will accomplish their mission via superior data, new insight, and automation.

Along with expanded geographic coverage, DueDil is extending its Know Your Customer (KYC) checks to include beneficial ownership, UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) registration data, and adverse media coverage.  According to the FCA, it “regulates and supervises the conduct of more than 50,000 firms in the UK that provide financial products and services to both UK and international customers.”

In March, DueDil also announced an upgraded API that supports a host of functions including opportunity identification, risk mitigation, auto-populating sign up forms, data enrichment, and verifying credentials during customer onboarding.

The API also supports a new partnership with consumer information vendor CallCredit.  The partners “will offer an integrated solution for verifying a business and the people who run it,” said DueDil Product Marketing Manager Sam Hockley.  Initially the consumer information will only be available via the DueDil API.

Coincidentally, Dun & Bradstreet announced a Beneficial Ownership product a few weeks ago.

Sparklane €4m Funding Round

Sparklane Lead Scoring
Sparklane Lead Scoring

Sparklane, which describes itself as “a publisher of sales intelligence SAAS solutions,” announced that it received a €4m funding round from XAnge and Entrepreneur Venture Investment Fund.  The round raised its total funding to €7m.  XAnge also participated in Sparklane’s previous funding round.

“We were won over by Sparklane’s disruptive positioning and the impressive performance of its management team, prompting us to offer them our renewed support as we participate in this fundraising initiative alongside Entrepreneur Venture,” stated Guilhem de Vregille, Deputy Director of XAnge.

The round allows Sparklane to continue its European expansion.  The French company established itself in the UK in 2016 and is currently eyeing the German market.  The funding will also be directed towards expanding its artificial intelligence capabilities, and growth in their sales and R&D teams.

According to Chairman Frédéric Pichard, the funding round is a “real vote of confidence,” in the company.  “Our goal remains the same: to help marketing and sales people identify their future customers more quickly using Artificial Intelligence.”

Sparklane offers predictive lead scoring and prospecting tools for sales and marketing teams in the UK and France.  Their Predict platform processes client CRM data to define an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), apply predictive lead scores, and identify look-a-like prospects.

Sparklane supports nearly 350 clients across banking, insurance, technology and business services.  The firm was listed in Deloitte’s 2016 EMEA Fast 500 list of technology companies with 265% revenue growth between 2012 and 2015 (three-year CAGR of 54%).

LeadGnome: EU-US Privacy Shield Certification

LeadGnome -- Mining Email for LeadsAccount Based Intelligence vendor LeadGnome completed the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield certification process with the U.S. Department of Commerce.  The new process ensures that privacy is protected when personal data is transferred from the EU to the US.  The Privacy Shield process was implemented last summer after the previous Safe Harbour regime was invalidated by the European Court of Justice.

LeadGnome’s email reply service mines emails for intelligence such as left the company, out of office, change of position, change of name/email, and unsubscribe requests.  “LeadGnome is unique in its ability to mine the unstructured body of reply emails for account based intelligence.  It was, therefore, important to acquire EU-U.S. Privacy Shield certification to assure our customers of our commitment to the privacy of their data,” said Matt Benati, CEO of LeadGnome.

Because the firm collects emails, titles, and business phones, they did not have to go through the more stringent approval level for firms that store credit, payment, or personal data.  This helped expedite the approval process with the Department of Commerce.  As LeadGnome was already Safe Harbour compliant, the approval process was focused on conforming to changes between the Safe Harbour and Privacy Shield.  LeadGnome worked with the Better Business Bureau as a compliance partner and completed the process in about two months.  Benati believes the process will speed up as the certification backlog clears, but noted that his firm benefited from having Safe Harbour certification.

The LeadGnome platform is integrated with major CRMs and MAPs including Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo and Oracle Cloud.

“LeadGnome is committed to data privacy and business transparency. We had already employed many of the required best practices, so the certification process was completed significantly ahead of schedule,” said Benati.

Other vendors that are Privacy Shield compliant include Dun & Bradstreet, Avention, Zoominfo, Infogroup, Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, SalesLoft, ReachForce, and Outreach.  The US International Trade Administration publishes a list of Privacy Shield compliant firms.

Sales Intelligence: US vs. UK

UK private company financials (source: Artesian Solutions)
UK private company financials (source: Artesian Solutions)

The UK is the second largest market for sales intelligence services.  For US firms, the UK is usually either the second or third market (after Canada) which they support.  Thus, the UK market is served by both British (e.g. DueDil, Artesian Solutions, Bureau van Dijk) and American companies (e.g. Avention, Dun & Bradstreet, Factiva).

A key difference between the US and UK markets is the availability of UK private company data.  Approximately three million active UK firms are required to register with Companies House (the major exceptions are small businesses, partnerships, and public sector entities).  Large firms are required to provide full financials while mid-size firms may only be required to file a Balance Sheet or summary financials.  The smallest firms may simply be required to file a basic Annual Return with Director and Shareholder information and abbreviated accounts.

Along with annual financials, the UK filing regime requires statements concerning Directors and Shareholders (DASH); Mortgages, Charges, and County Court Judgments (MCCJ); and Gazette filings concerning receiverships and the winding down of businesses.  The net effect is a richer set of financial figures, superior intelligence concerning corporate families and ownership, a broad list directors, and intelligence concerning cross-company director linkages.

There are some drawbacks to this system.  First, the filings for private companies are not filed until three quarters after the end of the financial year so one is generally looking at data that is three to seven quarters in arrears.  A company’s financial position can shift significantly during this time.  Of course, few companies in the US are required to make any kind of financial filings.

Second, statements may be filed from the offices of corporate secretaries, accountants, or corporate owners.  Thus, the registered address often differs from the actual “trading address”.  When evaluating UK sales intelligence tools, look for vendors that provide both registered and trading addresses.  You should also ask about the population of URLs and phone numbers.

In the UK, sales reps should be calling into the Trading Address (physical) location, not the Registered Address (legal). Make sure your Sales Intelligence service provides both.
In the UK, sales reps should be calling into the Trading Address (physical) location, not the Registered Address (legal). Make sure your Sales Intelligence service provides both.  (Source: Avention)

Third, while there is very good data concerning corporate linkages, including minority shareholdings, the data only goes to the subsidiary level.  But companies may have hundreds of operating locations not listed.  In the US, vendors capture all of these branch locations, but this intelligence is more limited in the UK.

Another problem with this regime is there is little focus on who is managing the organization.  While a few directors are listed, they may not be the people the sales rep will be calling into.  Thus, the sales intelligence vendors have been working to tie in marketing datasets which provide additional color (British translation: colour) including mid-level managers with emails, URLs, and phone numbers.

Finally, one is more likely to have turnover figures (US translation: revenue) in the UK than in the US.  Conversely, US vendors are more likely to have employee figures and modeled revenue figures.  As a result, the employee count is a better sizing metric when prospecting in the US and turnover is the superior prospecting metric in the UK.

I am currently working on the next edition of my Field Guide for Sales Intelligence Vendors.  One of the key additions to this year’s edition is the inclusion of three UK vendors: Artesian Solutions, Bureau van Dijk, and DueDilAvention, which also offers a strong UK product, was previously included.  The new edition will be available before the end of this year.  I am now taking pre-orders for the expanded guide with purchasers receiving the 2015 edition at no charge.

Sparklane: Sales Triggers and Hidden Opportunities

The Sparklane Watchlist
The Sparklane Watchlist

I posted a blog yesterday on the Sparklane website discussing sales triggers as a tool for identifying new opportunities.  Triggers provide a mechanism for warming up cold calls with of-the-moment talking points.  Current triggers signal to prospects that you have conducted some research on the company and aren’t calling blindly into the firm.  They also help account reps stay abreast of what is happening at their key customers and prospects.  Sales Triggers are a key component of social selling and Account Based Marketing strategies.

Sparklane is a French Sales Intelligence solution which provides elements of predictive lead scoring around target companies.  They are readying to enter the UK market with an English language service in the coming weeks.  Their goal is to revisit the Battle of Hastings (1066) and “conquer the UK” (OK, I’m overstating their marketing claim, but there is nothing wrong with bold objectives).

Sparklane has had significant success in the French market with fifty percent annual growth since launching seven years ago.  Last year they posted five million euros  in revenue with a goal of eight million euros this year ($9 million).  Clients include Samsung, Oracle, Jaguar, Capgemini, and SAS.

We have entered into a new era. The era of smart data. Basic data has less and less value. Sparklane is the first player on this market to propose a true predictive lead scoring solution. Sparklane’s main benefit is to improve quickly the sales performance of its clients.

  • Sparklane CEO Frédéric PICHARD

Just last week, I blogged about Contify, an Indian social selling vendor, which is focusing on news + social awareness.  I have also recently written about Artesian Solutions which opened a Boston office and is rolling out a North American social selling offering.  Their Artesian Ready app is the most advanced sales intelligence mobile offering I’ve seen on the market.

It is wonderful to see the market continue to heat up with new competitors and approaches.  Competition catalyzes product development and helps goose innovation.  It focuses the mind of competitors and helps keep complacency at bay.  I look forward to seeing what ideas the French have around social selling when they launch their UK service in a few weeks.

Sparklane Lead Scoring
Sparklane Lead Scoring

US-EU Privacy Shield

EU LogoThe US and EU finalized a new Privacy Shield agreement to replace the recently invalidated Safe Harbour agreement concerning data privacy.  The new program allows firms to begin self-certifying their compliance as of August 1st.  As part of the agreement, the US Department of Commerce will begin conducting regular compliance reviews.

“We have worked hard with all our partners in Europe and in the US to get this deal right and to have it done as soon as possible,” Andrus Ansip, said vice president for the European Commission’s Digital Single Market initiative. “Data flows between our two continents are essential to our society and economy – we now have a robust framework ensuring these transfers take place in the best and safest conditions.”

The US government will also implement “clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms” concerning the handling of European data.  Furthermore, The European Commission has assurances that bulk data collection would only be conducted “under specific preconditions and needs to be as targeted and focused as possible.”

A complaint mechanism is in place for Europeans which would be handled by the US Department of Commerce or the US Federal Trade Commission.  Mechanisms also exist for an independent ombudsman where national security questions come into play.

While tech companies applauded the new agreement, European privacy advocates contend the deal still fails to protect European citizens.

Brexit and Sales Intelligence Vendors

BrexitBrexit happened.  Most of us didn’t think it would, but it did.  As an outsider, I’m not going to address the foolishness of the vote and the harm it is already doing to British financial and currency markets.  That would simply be piling on.

But as an analyst of the sales intelligence space, I can make some observations about how it is likely to impact my industry.  The short-term impact will mostly be financial as US firms find that H2 revenue will decline due to the fall in the Pound (and less so the Euro).  Sales Intelligence products are priced in Pounds and do not float so the impact will likely be felt by American vendors reporting lower revenue from their European operations.  I expect the term “currency headwinds” will again become popular on earnings calls.  This situation may be compounded by British firms being more conservative in H2 due to political and economic uncertainty.  They may choose to license fewer seats or hold off on licensing a service.

The British Pound is down ten percent vs. the US Dollar since the Brexit vote (Source: XE.com)
The British Pound is down ten percent vs. the US Dollar since the Brexit vote (Source: XE.com)

Should the pound remain weak going forward, vendors may raise sterling-denominated prices in 2017; but this decision is somewhat dependent upon the location of staff, denomination of licensing contracts, and degree of Brexit economic contraction.  As UK company content is mostly licensed from UK vendors, it is likely to be denominated in Pounds so content licensing expenses are also likely to drop for American vendors.  (US companies will often sign licensing deals in pounds as it provides a partial hedge against currency fluctuation).

Britain is the second most important market for sales intelligence services after the United States.  While other markets may be growing faster, Britain has long been either the home of sales intelligence products (Bureau van Dijk, DueDil, Artesian Solutions) or the logical second market for American firms.  US firms have long enjoyed access to the European market via offices in London and some even configure their products with regional UK and European editions.  Britain will remain a critical market for these companies and there is little reason to believe that American firms cannot continue to sell into the EU via these offices.

But a long-term problem may be staffing their British offices with multi-lingual sales, support, marketing, and editorial staff.  The status of EU citizens working in Britain is unclear and may not be resolved for two years.  A study by Wayra UK found that 34% of British start-up employees are not British citizens with 20.7% of employees carrying EU passports.  Whether EU citizens will continue to freely live and work in Britain is an open question subject to negotiation over the next two years.

Wayra UK found that British startups have a built in competitive advantage from this diversity.  They found that 79% believe that cultural diversity helped them compete while 75% said it helped them overcome challenges and 72% argued that it assisted with new market entry.  However, if EU work visas become an issue, the British will lose this competitive edge.  There is also the negative impact of reduced work and study opportunities for British citizens which will erode British understanding of individual country markets.  In the context of information services, the cost and difficulty of maintaining a multi-lingual research and support staff in Britain may increase.

“Without access to Europe the pool of applicants shrinks dramatically,” DueDil founder Damian Kimmelman told Forbes. “We are a venture-backed business, and a venture-backed business means we are invested in to create super growth. But you can’t create super growth if it’s so difficult to hire the people that can create that super growth. People in tech are the number one commodity.”

DueDil is in the middle of building out its sales intelligence coverage of Europe so multi-lingual staff is critical.  Kimmelman is already looking at expanding operations outside of Britain and will be spending the next few weeks researching options with DueDil executives.  “We’re going to be opening up new offices.  We have to. We’re scaling far too quickly to jeopardize our ability to scale because we have to hire people in the U.K.”

One area of benefit for UK information services may be around Safe Harbour.  The EU is moving towards greater restrictions around personal information and it has always been difficult to gather and market emails.  However, the British have been an exception to this rule with vendors including UK business emails in their products.  A Brexit suggests that the EU Safe Harbour negotiations may become more difficult as continental sensitivities will no longer be balanced by British openness.  The net is emails and executive profiles are likely to remain available in the UK but that complying with EU Safe Harbour restrictions could greatly limit access to executive information and create issues for American multinationals and cloud vendors.

As a shorthand, I’ve color (or should I write colour for the Brits?) coded my analysis to highlight the benefits and drawbacks to Sales Intelligence vendors.  The net is rather negative.  Unless you are marketing British contact files for email campaigns and teleprospecting, it is unlikely that you would welcome the vote’s outcome.  For vendors providing global information services, Brexit provides additional financial and planning challenges in the number two sales intelligence market.

IKO System: French Predictive Analytics Firm Closes on Series A


French based predictive analytics company IKO System recently closed on a Series A funding round of 2.5 million euros to help speed up its European development.  Investors include Naxicap Partners, 3T Capital and Bpifrance.

The firm addresses two problems: generating qualified leads and automating meeting planning.  The Predictive Prospecting service begins at 12,000€ per year ($13,200) and provides unlimited lead scoring, lead engagement insights, and CRM/MAP integrations (Hubspot, Marketo, Salesforce, Pardot, and Oracle).  IKO System describes lead engagement insights as “Buying signals and context for each lead: competitors or complementary vendors in place, references to quote, key signals, email / tel / social.”

IKO System claims that its predictive analytics increase conversion rates by a factor of four to eight.

The Revenue Automation service bundles Predictive Prospecting with programmatic email campaigns, multi-user support, and engagement messaging consultations to “optimize lead response rates.”  Revenue Automation pricing was not disclosed.

The IKO database covers 9 million European companies and 30 million professional contacts.  Contacts, however, are focused on a few countries: the UK (8 million), France (7 million), Germany (3 million), and Benelux (3 million).

The firm gathers insights from 60,000 data sources including Bloomberg, Reuters, Zoominfo, LexisNexis, Experian, and DataMonitor.  Licensed content is married with monitored company websites.  IKO data is then matched against corporate datasets housed in CRM, marketing automation platforms, and other corporate assets.  IKO System constructs a lead scoring model for each company that includes firmographics, job position, data quality (e.g. fill rates on contact information), and buying signals.  IKO looks both at corporate level signals such as technology and product launches and “The lead’s buying signals for an offer similar to yours (public discussions, interviews, preliminary talks with your competitors).”

“Marketing teams contribute up to 40% of the leads needed by their sales force,” said IKO Systems CEO Marc Rouvier.  “At the same time, salespeople need to organize themselves to prospect and generate 60% of leads to hit their targets.  By putting IKO System in place, our clients give their sales teams a way of structuring and automating their prospection in order to generate 5 times more meetings.”

IKO has over 200 clients including Oracle, Adobe, Citrix, McAfee, HP, and TIBCO.