startups And Financing
Bianca Iulia Simion
Introducing Gerda Jurkoniene
Bianca Iulia Simion
In the dynamic world of fintech and data-driven innovation, few individuals stand out as prominently as Gerda Jurkoniene. With an impressive track record spanning over 18 years, Gerda is not just a CEO; she's a professional manager with an unparalleled blend of experience in credit bureau business development, sales, finances, credit risk, and people management.
In this exclusive interview, we delve into Gerda's journey and get insights from her wealth of experience. Join us as we uncover the visionary leader behind Okredo, and explore her perspectives on entrepreneurship, technology, and the ever-evolving landscape of data and finance.
Can you share the story behind the founding of Okredo? What personal experiences or insights led you to embark on this entrepreneurial journey?
Having 18 years of experience in the data business and a PhD in finances, I believe that open data should serve as the driving force behind sustainable risk management, empowering businesses to operate more efficiently and achieve faster growth. We have spotted this opportunity, felt the growing business demand for more comprehensive tools based on open data, and started developing an open data platform. Now Okredo platform unites data from all three Baltic countries, Poland, and the UK.
Open data platforms are a critical part of the modern business landscape. What do you think sets Okredo apart from other players in this space, and what unique perspective do you bring to the table?
We believe that the positive evolution of open data presents a unique opportunity to employ AI for credit doctorship solutions for business. This tool will seamlessly adapt to diverse data sets and provide companies with tailored recommendations on how to mitigate risks and enhance sales. This groundbreaking solution uniquely combines open data and open finance to optimize internal business processes. Furthermore, we recognize the increasing demand from businesses for ESG impact measurement and assessment. As a result, we are continuously developing solutions to empower companies to effectively assess this critical aspect of their operations.
What's the most exciting project or initiative Okredo has been involved in recently, and what impact do you anticipate it will have?
Together with SME Finance, we've launched the Baltic region's first-ever risk-based embedded credit limit project. Businesses can now effortlessly check their potential to get credit directly on the Okredo platform and secure financing with just a few clicks. Streamlining the process, SME Finance seamlessly receives financial and other important data from Okredo, enabling them to approve financing just within minutes.
Currently, we are developing an AI-powered credit doctorship service. This adaptive scoring system will analyze financial and other available datasets across Europe, and provide SMEs insights, scores, and credibility assessments, and will also identify areas of financial strength and weakness. The system will also provide feedback and recommendations to help SMEs improve their overall financial health.
Who are your existing investors up until now and how have they supported you beyond capital?
We are extremely grateful for the unwavering support of our investors, who not only provide financial resources but also contribute their expertise and network to our success. Their guidance and counsel have been instrumental in developing our business strategy, planning our scaling, and overcoming challenges. Moreover, their extensive network across Europe has helped us to set valuable partnerships and pursue additional funding opportunities.
The tech industry is always evolving. What emerging technologies or trends do you find most fascinating, and how do you see Okredo adapting to stay at the forefront of these changes?
In addition to AI's impact on risk management, users of data platforms are becoming valuable alternative data sources. Their voluntary input through open finances and their actions on the platform have enabled us to create a behavioral score that complements other risk management methods. This trend highlights the growing importance of user-generated data in risk assessment.
On a day-to-day basis, what motivates and inspires you as the CEO of Okredo? Do you have any rituals or habits that help you stay focused and innovative in your role?
I believe that open data and solutions based on open data can revolutionize the way businesses operate. I am committed to providing companies with enhanced access to data, empowering them to improve their performance, grow their operations, and engage in more effective business practices. This mission fuels my passion and drives me forward. I am constantly seeking opportunities to leverage open data to benefit SMEs, and the potential impact of these solutions serves as my greatest motivation.
To maintain focus and effectively manage daily tasks, I recharge myself with deep sleep, fishing, and camping.
Mentorship and learning from others can be invaluable. Is there someone in your career who has been a significant influence or mentor, and what's the most important lesson you've taken from them?
I have met exceptional leaders during my career and learned a lot from their wisdom and experiences. I adopted their mindset - challenges present opportunities, weaknesses can transform into strengths, and complications offer the potential for change and growth. I am also deeply inspired by the stories and achievements of women leaders, it fuels my motivation to follow my own path, embrace simplicity, and avoid unnecessary complexities. These lessons have shaped my approach to leadership and continue to guide me in my endeavors.
While technology is crucial, it's ultimately people who drive change. How does Okredo engage and motivate its team to share the passion for your mission, and what role does company culture play in achieving sustainability goals?
Our team is the cornerstone of our success, and we prioritize fostering a motivating and supportive work environment. We regularly conduct value sessions to ensure that our team's values align with the company's overall direction, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose. Additionally, we incorporate gamification elements into our work processes to encourage engagement and incentivize the achievement of desired outcomes. Our team actively participates in these initiatives, demonstrating their enthusiasm and commitment to our company's goals.
We also strive to highlight the broader impact of our daily work on society, so we invite our social partners to share their experiences with the team. By providing general media and investigative journalism outlets with access to our data, we help them uncover fraud, expose unethical business practices, and identify violations of local and international laws. The positive feedback, that our partners share during these meetings and their experience about the role our platform plays in their work of promoting transparency, integrity, and accountability within society, serves as a powerful motivator for our team.
As you embarked on this journey, what were the most significant challenges you encountered, and what valuable lessons have you learned as a CEO and visionary leader in the data sector?
Every day I face numerous challenges, one of the most significant being the uncertainty of the business environment. I believe this is on of the built-in elements of startup life, and I have learned valuable lessons from navigating it. First and foremost, agility has proven to be essential. Adapting to the ever-changing market landscape, accommodating evolving customer needs, and pivoting from one plan to another as circumstances dictate are crucial skills for success. In the face of uncertainty, I have adopted the mindset of "doing my best." Regardless of the circumstances or outcomes, I strive to put forth my utmost effort, ensuring that at the end of each day, I can confidently say that I have given it my all. This unwavering commitment to excellence has been instrumental in guiding me through the challenges of startup life.
What exit scenarios do you have in mind for Okredo?
Our current focus is on building the value of our company. As we aggregate data from various countries and increase our user portfolio, we recognize that this data set could potentially become a game-changer for global credit bureaus and media industry players in the future.
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