There's a lot of buzz right now around London-based start-up Duedil, which was described by the New York Times as "Lexis Nexis-meets Google-meets Linkedin"!
On Duedil you'll find profile pages for all companies registered in the UK and Ireland, including financial data going back 20 years , background info on company directors and tools to cross-compare firms with their competitors.
Duedil's founder Damian Kimmelman describes it as a "Facebook for companies". Damian was born and raised in the US but started his first business buying and selling student property while he was an undergrad at St. Andrew's University.
He went on to start an online gaming company and a digital marketing agency before he hit on the idea for Duedil. Here he shares some of his start-up war stories, his plans for Duedil, and how he hires people into the VC-backed firm.
One last tip... Duedil is free to use so it's potentially a great resource for MBAs doing research, writing business plans or finding contacts at companies!
What is Duedil and why did you set it up?
Duedil began life last year as a reputation system for colleagues and connections before I realised that online reputation systems are flawed. I saw that an underlying problem in the business world was a lack of transparency, which meant there was a lack of trust. With this in mind I created Duedil as you see it now.
When I founded Duedil there were many services that provided business information on the internet. However all of the information was kept hidden away behind paywalls and websites that were extremely difficult to navigate. By aggregating previously disconnected data, Duedil provides context and clarity in a way that hasn’t been done before, combining that with unparalleled ease of use. Duedil enables anyone to understand a business and the people behind it, creating transparency and trust.
What were you doing prior to Duedil?
I ran an online gaming site after university, before I started a digital agency in London called We Are VI. After a couple years of really great projects, we came to a crossroads where we had become too big for the little clients, and too small for the big ones. I made the difficult decision to close the company and move onto a new project, Duedil.
How did you build your current team?
I’ve hired many people over the last several years and this experience has taught me a lot about what qualities to look for in an employee, and how to go about finding them. As a basic principle I always aim to hire people smarter than myself.
Would you ever hire an MBA intern/ employee?
Rarely, though it definitely depends on the type of business you're in. Ours is entirely development and data driven, so we would definitely go for PhDs over MBA. That said, we just hired an MBA as our COO.
Your flatmate's currently applying to Stanford - have you considered doing an MBA?
I would never get in! I was lucky, while at uni I made a lot of money and lost a large amount of this in my last business. This was my real world MBA.
How do you think business students might use Duedil?
Duedil can be used for market research, competitor analysis, writing a business plan, finding contacts at companies, the uses are virtually endless. We give you the tools to get the information you need.
For instance: you can map extended corporate networks with our group structure feature, and find competitors using our refine search tools to pinpoint companies by exact size and location.
We've heard you use the buzz word 'disruption' - how are you intending to disrupt the world of company information?
No other company has been able to provide this level of information for free, combined with the quality of user experience. We spend a lot of energy making sure Duedil is as easy and intuitive to use as possible.
The next evolution of financial information is linking the data and exposing relationships, and we’re doing this in a way that hasn’t been done before by any of the players in the market. This, along with tapping into the social aspect, making this information addictive, really sets us apart.
Do you have plans to expand internationally?
Absolutely, there are many markets perfectly suited for Duedil, however we want to ensure we build the best product we can for the UK before expanding our horizons.
What advice do you have for MBAs who are thinking of setting up their own businesses?
Nothing beats real world experience. Don’t be afraid of failure, the sooner you fail, the sooner you are ready to succeed.