Virtual Data Room Blog

A Data Room Can Help Your Startup Grow Quickly: Learn How OakNorth Raised $440M Using Our VDR

06-Mar-2019 14:43:03 / by Francisco Lorca

Early mornings. Late nights. Lots of running around in between... The life of running a startup!

dataroom for startupsHaving founded myself EthosData back in 2007 and supported high-growth startups driving Startupbootcamp FinTech in London, I can confidently say I know about the different stages of growing a startup. I’ve been going through them for the past 12 years! 

I can also tell you what you probably already know: building a scalable startup is hard. You need to validate your product or service, build a great team, and get the right funding in place. All this at breakneck speed and with an ever growing number of opportunities to capture and fires to set out!

While you concentrate on these key areas you need to have relentless focus, execute with best in class organisation and administration, and share information with numerous people in a fast and secure way.

All of this is where I believe data rooms become so useful for startups.



We work with a range of startups at EthosData and, despite their shape, size, or stage, they all go through similar key life events and activities. It’s just their success which determines how frequently they go through them.

Some of those events include:

  • Fundraising
  • Launching new partnerships
  • Making acquisitions
  • Communicating with Board members, advisors and investors
  • Working on special projects

These all require a startup to share documents and information between multiple parties, both internally and externally.  This documentation is typically very sensitive and contains information that should not ever be accessed by competitors or the general public. This is where a data room comes in.  

A good data room will become the long-term central store for all your startup’s information. It allows you to easily share information, control who can access and do what with a document, and see when and how people are interacting with your files. 

Some startups might use basic file sharing sites for this. However, these are not fit for purpose and will leave you both exposed and unorganised - ultimately costing you time, money and even leaks of information down the line. Things you simply can’t afford.

It may be fine using Dropbox to share 3 documents but, as you add more files and need to have different permissions for different parties, things will get messy. Meanwhile, during a due diligence process if you share highly sensitive information with investors via Dropbox or Google Drive you’ll look at best naive, at worst dumb.

In contrast, a data room allows you to control what anyone does with a document. You can keep all files protected with passwords, personalised watermarks and customisable NDAs, restrict printing, and even revoke access to, or remotely delete, a file after someone has accessed it. These are all things that are impossible with file sharing sites.


Speaking from experience

Much of the above is why the British digital bank OakNorth has used EthosData since their founders Rishi Khosla and Joel Perlman started the company in 2015.

OakNorth is a startup leading the way in financial services. At the start of February, they secured $440 million in an investment round led by SoftBank. It was a raise that valued the startup at $2.8 billion and made it Europe’s most valuable private fintech group.

To date they’ve raised more than $1 billion from the likes of Softbank, Clermont Group, EDBI (one of Singapore's leading banks), Indiabulls and Toscafund Asset Management, using an EthosData data room for every one of their rounds.

It’s not just at fundraising events that the OakNorth team have turned to our data room service though. They use our data rooms when they have to share confidential updates to their Board and shareholders, or work on IP and special projects.

Knowing when (and how) potential investors have viewed their documents has let OakNorth gauge interest quickly and therefore work smarter. Meanwhile, having a central data room they can share detailed updates to existing investors from has allowed for quicker and more effective communication.

All in all, our data rooms have made their lives simpler, and their documents safer.


Looking ahead

Data rooms are now more affordable and better value than ever before. They can streamline work and communication and bring structure to your company. Which startup doesn’t want those things?

If you want to find out more about how we’ve supported OakNorth, or how EthosData could help your startup, please contact me or anyone from the EthosData team!


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Topics: virtual data room, VDR, fileshare, startups