I’m getting regularly the same kind of question: how can I know more about a webrtc company. Of course, everybody knows that founders and marketing/sales guys lie, it’s almost part of the job, so how I can be sure about the info I have?
This problem is as old as business itself. How can I trust the other party when I do business? To avoid fraud, scams, and to increase business, governments came with different ways. First, there are contracts, and all the laws around them. The government will help you enforce them. However, the system can be costly, and some individual would not refrain from signing contracts, winding up companies, and setting up new companies, with no tracking record of past problems. Some countries put into place other solutions to get informations about the “Health” of a company, or the track record of individuals, without having to go to court.
In France, since 1919, the Register of Commerce and Companies (RCS) plays this role. Each companies has a unique ID (like TIN in USA), called SIREN number. Individual are also listed if they are part of the registration or execution of a company. One RCS is kept by a given Commerce Court, and all the information is aggregated at the national level by the National Register of Commerce and Companies (RNCS).
Note that it differs from the american Securities and Exchange Commission, which would list only info once a company is listed. In France, everything is listed from day 1, including all the board decisions. infogreffe is the free official front-end to this.
Society.com, created in 1999, act as a web front-end on top of many sources. From it you can get Annual Reports, Acts and Status, Debt Situation, R&D tax rebate amount, Shareholders, …..
Let’s be practical now.
Let’s say you want to know more about sightcall. You can now see for free the last three years of revenues and results. Sight call was making money in 2013, but saw its revenue shrink in 2014, resulting in more than a Million Euros loss that year. More informations, as the funding rounds, cap tables and others informations can be bought for a few euros.
Bistri apparently made almost no money to date (83 Euros in 2013, 11k in 2014), resulting in losses (from 200k+ in 2012, to 600k in 2014, with a maximum at 700k in 2013).
The younger (2012) ApiZee was almost breaking even in 2013.
Voxeet has been profitable from the start with nice results.
Doubango Telecom, requested that its results remain confidential, which means that two of the following three statements are true:
- Results are less than 350 000 euros
- Gross Income was less than 700 000 euros
- Average Number of employés during the period was less than or equal to 10
and so on, and so forth …..
Don’t tell me you never wanted to know for how much requested or Crocodile RCS were bought ….. Well UK gov an help through their beta service of the companies house:
Singapore has an outstanding accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) that leverages great laws and efficient system to enforce good business practice, making it one of the best place to start a business in the world (#1 according to World Bank, #4 for inc.com, #8 for forbes, …).
This authority maintains the equivalent of the websites cited above, called bizFiles. You can have a look at some of the players in Singapore, and check everything, included audited accounts, cap table, and board decisions. Apart from the status (wether the company audited its account and filed them in time) information, everything is behind a paywall, but here again, the amounts are small. If you click on the compliance status icon, you can get more info on what kind of non-compliance the company is guilty off.
You could check the status of WaveCell (<== @tsahi) that way.
Happy Due Diligence.
This work by Dr. Alexandre Gouaillard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This blog is not about any commercial product or company, even if some might be mentioned or be the object of a post in the context of their usage of the technology. Most of the opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not of any corporate or organizational affiliation.