“For me, the state is us – people who are interested or not interested in changes,” Sergey Milman, founder and CEO of YouControl
Sergey Milman is the founder and CEO of YouControl, which develops services based on open data. The company has existed since 2014 and is growing by 40-50% per year.
On the air of the Big Fish Youtube channel, Sergey talked about why open data is beneficial to society, how his company simplifies the search for honest partners, and what is needed for the IT direction to continue to develop in Ukraine.
ABOUT THE UNIQUENESS OF THE PRODUCT
I wanted to solve a problem that I encountered on my own experience. It was associated with unscrupulous partners. Then I began to get acquainted with people who are engaged in data analysis, including providing consulting services.
Today YouControl replaces a complaints officer. If the company has increased the number of court cases over the past year, the express analysis instantly signals that there is a problem. No need to independently verify the information collected from 180 registries.
We have created a module that updates the most important aspects and explains to the user what risks may arise in cooperation with this counterparty. Open data allows us to understand: are we going one way or not?
The decision “part ways” is also cool. By analyzing partner data, you will reduce the chances of an unsuccessful partnership and thereby develop your business, save time, energy and nerves. This affects the speed of decision making.
YouControl’s business model is cross-financing. Anti-corruption organizations, universities, students, journalists use YouControl for free. Paid services are used by businesses, complaints officers, directors, security personnel, lawyers, accountants.
We have not only a monthly subscription, but also an annual one, you can also purchase access for one day. There are about 5 thousand paid users. Last year, the turnover was approximately 80 million hryvnia.
ABOUT SOCIETY BENEFITS
It is beneficial for the state to open data. If in some areas the data is closed, then it is very likely that there is a corruption scheme or a political interest in hiding some information. Existing examples of data discovery, in particular Prozorro, have helped to cleanse society of corruption.
Public awareness of open data is growing, but slowly. For me, the state is us – people who are interested or not interested in changes. If we initiate the opening of data, then we need it. When a year ago there were problems with the unified register, we raised a resonance. It was surprising to me that most people react passively.
At least once a month, lawyers from various organizations threaten us with lawsuits. Why? We have instilled a culture of verification: 95% of banks use YouControl. If they see risks, they refuse service. Plus, these companies are disqualified from tenders. People get upset and see us as a problem. We are not doing anything criminal. The information is publicly available and we will not delete it.
ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN UKRAINE
In recent years, I have not seen a decision by the authorities that would have a critical impact on business. Well, except for the lockdown. I did not notice other serious cataclysms. I do not see any obstacles that would prevent business from developing, except that I do not share some of the initiatives related to Diia.City.
DiIa.City is not our competitor, although the service itself is convenient. Some organizations were able to access this data, for example Privatbank. By the way, YouControl could not – we were refused. By limiting access to this data, the state deprives itself of income: direct from fines and indirect. If YouControl had information about a person and his fines, this would weigh on the person, and he would settle down faster.
ABOUT SMUGGLING PROBLEM
For some reason, it never occurs to anyone to open customs declarations and post them on data.gov.ua and solve this problem together with society. To combat smuggling, it is enough to see countries, turnover and activities. Next, compare the data with that country: X left Ukraine, and U arrived there. They compared and made conclusions.
ABOUT IT DEVELOPMENT IN UKRAINE
You should think less about how to get more milk yield from IT specialists. If quick reforms are not carried out, it is necessary to prohibit some services from meddling in business affairs. For example, the SBU is very fond of dealing with the economy. They see crime everywhere, but few spies are found. It makes sense to take away their uncharacteristic powers.
ABOUT THE GLOBAL DREAM
I would like Ukraine to develop not in the China-Russia vector, but in the vector of Western countries, adopting their cultural values. This is happening now, but it can only be viewed with restrained optimism. I hope we will be able to ensure that more and more Ukrainian businesses are integrated into the processes with Western partners.
Then the evolution of views will be inevitable. And an entrepreneur who makes money supplying goods and services to the West will be more interested in modernizing production and maintaining competitiveness.