Tech Pitch: Open Risk Exchange (ORX)

Claiming to be "one of the most accurate business risk models in the market", this start-up uses unique data sources to inform its business credit scoring

Company name: Open Risk Exchange (ORX)
Founders: Kanishk Walia (29), André Röhrig (28)
Background: Kanishk Walia, CEO, was previously an investment banker, while André Röhrig, CTO, is a computer scientist and worked as a research assistant.
Based in: London, United Kingdom
Launched: November 2015

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

  • Open Risk Exchange (ORX) is an online platform offering free credit scores for all registered businesses in the United Kingdom.
  • Businesses can check their own credit score and that of their customers and suppliers immediately and at no cost.
  • We also offer an API on request for users such as lenders and insurers requiring high volume programmatic access to the credit scores.
  • The platform works by using statistical modelling and machine learning algorithms on a combination of structured and unstructured data sources to deliver one of the most accurate business risk models in the market.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

The consumer credit scoring market has been disrupted over the last few years with advances in machine learning and the use of alternative data sources (eg. mobile phone data, social media etc.), but when it comes to business credit scores, the commercial credit bureau offerings offered by Experian, Equifax or Dun & Bradstreet have not really advanced that much.

Most lenders or insurers that we have met with have confessed that existing business scoring products from credit bureaus are quite poor in quality and content, but they still use them due to a lack of better alternatives.

By collating a variety of structured and unstructured data sources on UK businesses that are not currently being utilised, and employing complex statistical modelling and machine learning algorithms on this data, we deliver a risk model that outperforms the accuracy of some of the credit bureau offerings.

Is ORX funded?

Yes. We raised a round of seed funding in May 2016 from Passion Capital, one of the leading financial technology investors in the UK (it has also funded Monzo, Tide and GoCardless amongst others). Eileen Burbidge, partner at Passion Capital, represents Passion Capital on our board of directors.

We are also an alumni of Entrepreneur First, the world’s leading deep technology incubator, which is backed by Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn), Greylock Partners, Mosaic Ventures, Founders Fund, Lakestar and some of the world’s best entrepreneurs.

What were you doing before you started ORX?

We both have very different but very complementary backgrounds!

Prior to setting up ORX, Kanishk Walia spent several years working in investment banking, advising small and mid-sized companies in the UK on raising debt and equity capital and on M&A transactions. Walia graduated with a degree in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

André Röhrig was a researcher at the Corpus Linguistics lab at Humboldt University in Berlin, focused on analysing unstructured data. Röhrig graduated with a degree in computer science from Freie Universität Berlin.

What’s the best thing about being based in London?

We are very fortunate to be based in London and to benefit from its incredible infrastructure for start-ups. There is an incredible amount of engineering talent in London along with a robust ecosystem of early stage investors and advisors.

To learn more about launching in the capital, browse Startups’ free guides to running a business in London here.