New innovator: Search4less
Barry Darmody, managing director Search4less
Search4less is a new online information service offering users fast access to key company information at a fixed cost. The service was launched in Ireland last September and has just been launched in the UK.
“The aim is to provide high-quality company, director and shareholder information to those that need it faster and at a much lower cost than existing providers,” says company co-founder Barry Darmody.
“We don’t have transaction charges so users can search without worrying about the possibility of incurring large fees. This also means they can search more thoroughly and possibly turn up information that wouldn’t be immediately obvious from a small number of searches.”
The main users of the service will be solicitors, banks, accountants, financial advisers and tax consultants. However, Darmody is hoping that the unlimited access model, coupled with the fact the site is easy to navigate, will also encourage the wider business community to sign up.
The information available is gathered from a number of sources including the Companies Registration Office and the credit reporting service, Experian.
“Right now people really need to know what they’re looking for because numerous searches can end up costing them a lot of money,” he says.
“We wanted to develop a service that was as easy as possible to use and set about developing a solution that took the best from the sites we liked to use ourselves, such as Google and eBay. So we have a Google-like search bar that throws up a list of results that the user can scan and narrow down very quickly.”
Darmody came up with the idea for Search4less in early 2012 when working in the financial services industry.
“I needed to conduct fitness and probity checks to meet regulations and found it wasn’t at all easy to do,” he says. “I felt there had to be a niche for a service that took the hassle out of searching.”
He and previous business partner Derek Conniffe, with whom he had founded the LawLink information service as a joint venture with the Law Society in 1996, then put their heads together. Conniffe is Search4less’ technology director and his area of expertise is database and large data analytics.
It took about six months to develop the site, which is based on the Amazon Web Services platform. It costs €195 a year for an individual user with cheaper rates for multiple users.
The system is updated daily to provide the most recently filed documents and users can opt to stream information rather than download it.