The Publication of the Controversial List of Hidden Company Directors Links Under “Right to be Forgotten” Hits International Media
Fortune magazine published an article about the consequences of the Right to be Forgotten directive applied to company directors information after a business information company released the list of removed director profiles in the UK & Spain, causing immediate reactions.
As the company is expanding to more countries, the number of people in the list is probably going to grow in the next months. The article had a wide impact, making the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales agree with Dato Capital and ask for the “right to remember”: https://twitter.com/jimmy_wales/status/524625445858582529
But, what is Dato Capital and why is it attracting international media attention? This Spanish startup company with headquarters in Madrid was founded in 2007. They provide company and director reports to customers in 85 countries worldwide, using Big Data and AI technologies. The dataset currently includes companies of the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Spain and recently, Panama. There are hundreds of data sources for these reports, mostly public records. The information included ranges from contact information to financial data including company accounts and default checks. The typical customer profile goes from individuals to governments and large multinational corporations researching information for marketing, fraud prevention, and money laundering investigations, among other uses.
Expansion to Panama makes a big hit in the company’s aims, not only for being the first country outside Europe, but with the addition of trade data from Panama companies in order to compete with Piers, Zepol and Panjiva. Export and import information fit seamlessly in the scalable big data infrastructure of Dato Capital, which contains nearly 10 million companies and 7 million directors at the time of writing this article. Current competitors are other information giants such as Experian, Equifax and Dun & Bradstreet. Information about suppliers worldwide will lead Dato Capital to enter the US market in the medium term, becoming a strong rival for established trade data providers.
With such a large amount of director data, personal information treatment is a challenge for the company, which has to deal with different data protection laws for each country. Although the names and positions of the directors are shown, only business related data is present at the website, excluding other personal information besides the name. In the words of its founder, Eduardo Amo, the final objective for the company is to become a global information provider, easing access to information and favouring business transparency.
Despite the technological complexity of Dato Capital big data systems, it’s interesting to note that the company never had funding rounds or VC involved. The company’s seed capital was provided by the founders, and its auto-financing nature makes it a rare case among tech startups. A possible explanation for this is the scalable nature of the development. From its beginnings in 2007, the company aimed worldwide despite the business information market size in Spain, which is 1 billion euro.