Startup Q&A: Damian Kimmelman – CEO, DueDil
Founder and CEO of acclaimed London-based fintech startup, DueDil, Damian Kimmelman, agreed to sit in the AGENT Startup Hotseat to answer 5 questions about the early years of his business.
IF SUCCESSFUL business must be built on trust, DueDil, headed by CEO & founder Damian Kimmelman, aims to be the cornerstone for that trust.
DueDil is a London-based fintech (financial technology) ‘due diligence’ business that collects private company data and makes it discoverable and searchable online.
One of those fiendishly simple “why didn’t I think of that?” ideas, DueDil was established by US entrepreneur Damian Kimmelman in March 2011, and over the past six years has amassed business, accounting and director information on companies registered in the UK, Ireland and 18 other European States.
Both Damian Kimmelman and DueDil have received a host of industry awards, and the company has been cited in a report to the UK government’s Cabinet Office Transparency Team as a business that uses open data to provide innovative services.
Writer George Kaye was particularly ‘on the nail’ with his summary of the significance of DueDil to modern business: “[DueDil] are in the business of telling you when a business is safe, and when you better flee. Not sexy? Maybe you’re right. But it’s the difference between make and break.”
Damian Kimmelman recently agreed to climb into the AGENT Startup Hotseat to answer questions about his career to date.
1. Very simply, what does your company do?
DueDil provides companies with better information about other businesses—helping them find new customers and avoid risks.
2. What was the ‘Eureka!’ moment?
At a previous company, I went into business with someone whose past I didn’t know, and it hurt that company. He had falsified his accounts and used them to obtain a loan.
When I found out, I realised I hadn’t done my due diligence. I looked to see if I could have avoided my mistake, and eventually found information on the web about my business partner that revealed similar activity in his past. If I’d had that before, I wouldn’t have partnered with him—but the data was difficult to find.
I started DueDil because I hoped that if I could expose information like this on all businesses and individuals connected to them, then others would not find themselves in my predicament.
People now use DueDil to find out more information about people who run companies. However, we very quickly found that our customers were also using us to find new customers—often private companies that they didn’t previously know.
DueDil brings information about this world to the surface. This allows our users to uncover business opportunities, manage the risks of working with suppliers, and find new customers.
3. What were you doing before you started DueDil?
My previous company was a web agency. Before that, I studied at the University of St Andrews, where I noticed the high inflow of American students (like myself), and was able to take advantage by flipping properties.
4. How are you funded?
We have raised nearly $30m from respected investors in the US and UK, including Oak Investment Partners, Passion Capital and Notion Capital.
5. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs starting their own company?
Don’t pursue something unless you love doing it. It’s very unlikely that your start-up will quickly realise your dreams. It’s much more likely that you’ll be working very hard at your goals for a long time. So it’s important that you enjoy it.