Want To Follow The Money? OpenCorporates Uses Open Data To Expose Corporate Structures

David Meyer | GigaOM | July 12, 2013

Summary: Financial regulators and company registration indexes are increasingly opening up their data. OpenCorporates is gluing that data together and visualizing it in a way that should not only help fight corruption, but clean up the data too.

As any tax fairness campaigner will tell you, there is no better shield against scrutiny than a careful blend of complexity and obscurity. Public filings should in theory take care of the obscurity element, but that leaves complexity – those labyrinthine networks of corporate subsidiaries and holding companies spread around multiple jurisdictions.

So, how do we shine a light on these structures and figure out who really controls what? How do we follow that money? That’s where OpenCorporates, a UK startup that blends publicly available data from around the world and presents it in an understandable format, comes in. The company is being incubated in the UK Open Data Institute, and has also received a grant from the Alfred P Sloan Foundation.