10 Venture Capital Databases for Startup Data
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We do a lot of research on startup companies here at Nanalyze. (You should see the callouses on our click-and-drag index fingers.) Finding the latest and greatest startup data on private companies isn’t easy. As great and powerful as Google may be, getting 13 million results on a data search for “xyz startup” isn’t as helpful as it sounds. It’s like getting 72 virgins when you die: It’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth. But firms that build venture capital databases that specialize in startup data are invaluable to what we do—and should be part of your strategy as an investor.
If you’ve read Nanalyze for any length of time, you know we have a bit of a bromance going with CB Insights CEO and co-founder Anand Sanwal. His daily newsletter is insightful and funny as isht. If you don’t read it, you should join the nearly quarter-million subscribers and sign up.
Surprisingly, for a startup that churns out data about other startups, CB Insights got off the ground with government funding, from the state of New York and the National Science Foundation, to the tune of $1.65 million. The company added $10 million in a Series A round in 2015. That’s about the time it started to get serious name recognition, including an article in the New York Times on the next start-up unicorns. Today it’s hosting must-attend conferences like its upcoming Future of Fintech event in New York this summer.
In short, CB Insights has become the gold standard for research firms that track venture capital, startups, and emerging business trends. It uses artificial intelligence techniques like machine learning and natural language processing to predict trends and analyze the health of private companies through millions of data points. Of course, like any high-performance machine, it’s going to cost you: Monthly plans to access all that delicious data start at $3,550 per month and go up to $12,450 per month. And, oh, you’ll be billed annually.
Investing that kind of coin in startup data is certainly worth it if you’re already competing in such rarefied heights. But for investors with a limited budget, there should be more affordable resources for startup data. Turns out there are more than you might think. Our crack research department pulled up nine additional companies churning out data on the vast startup landscape, focusing on everything from university incubators to using AI to predict market changes.
Cost: Free; CrunchBase Pro is $49 per month, with $29 per month introductory price
Our go-to website to pull basic information about almost any company in existence, CrunchBase was founded in 2007 and has raised $8.5 million in funding, all coming during two Series A rounds in 2015. The San Francisco-based spinoff from AOL/Verizon is basically a database of startups, providing detailed information about things like VC funding, leadership teams and investors. All for free! One of our favorite features is the timeline for each company, which can provide some of the latest news and insights, though it can also be laden with PR news releases and articles from cousin site TechCrunch. CrunchBase also now offers a paid, ad-free Pro version of its site, which includes features like creating personalized lists and alerts for tracking companies.
Cost: Call for pricing
Startup.Directory has carved out a niche for itself by tracking high-tech startups from more than 350 universities. They claim that many of their 3,700 early-stage startups don’t appear on traditional VC databases. We probably don’t need to remind you that billion-dollar companies like Facebook, Groupon, Dropbox, and Snapchat started in a college dorm and not a garage. And much of the startup data in Startup.Directory’s database include companies with intellectual property in technologies that we love to cover here like biotech.
Update 12/09/2019: Startup.Directory no longer appears to have a functioning website so we can only assume they’re now in startup heaven.
Cost: By quote; has free trial
Founded in 2007, PitchBook was backed by $13.8 million, almost all from Morningstar Inc., with the latest round coming in January 2016. Apparently, Morningstar thought it had made a good investment: It acquired PitchBook about nine months later after sinking $10 million in a Series B round. The centerpiece of the company is the PitchBook platform, an all-in-one dashboard for analyzing private equity wheeling and dealing. Not unlike CB Insights, PitchBook uses artificial intelligence to crawl the web and extract the most useful information from unstructured data, including sources such as filings, press releases, and websites. At some point, a real person checks and validates the startup data. No price is listed, but we’re guessing by the pedigree of the new owners, this sort of data doesn’t come cheap. Features of the PitchBook platform include:
Cost: Individual plans start at $200 per month. Plans are billed monthly.
Coming out of San Francisco in 2012, Mattermark bills itself as a data platform for VC companies. It’s picked up $17.2 million in venture capital of its own, with the most recent a B Series round for $7.3 million in March 2016. For those who like to play with numbers, Mattermark calculates a “growth score” to measure how quickly a company is gaining traction at a given point in time. The scores are based on things like employee numbers over time, funding announcements, etc., and what it calls the Mindshare Score (based on less traditional data, such as mobile app downloads and social media followers). The data are weighted and scored on a rolling average over a four-week period. Mattermark’s data can be integrated into software like Salesforce or accessed on an iPhone app. We should note that Mattermark’s own growth score is minus 12. So you can’t really accuse it of startup data bias.
Cost: Individual monthly plans for $699; contract for quotes on enterprise access
PrivCo claims to possess financial intelligence on more than 900,000 privately held companies and data on more than 100,000 mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs. However, there’s not much out there on the New York City-based company’s own financials. Its data process involves aggregating information from regulatory findings, news, and industry resources. It then uses algorithms to extract data that are refined by analysts (see the visualization below). It counts among its clients Andreessen Horowitz, NASA, Google, Bain Capital, and GE.
There had to be at least another one among the crowd. Similar to CrunchBase, Owler crowdsources its data on millions of companies. Based in San Mateo, California, Owler has raised $19.3 million since its founding in 2011. The most recent was a 2012 Series B round for $17.3 million, led by Norwest Venture Partners – NVP. It’s free to use, but you will be required to sign up with a business email and name. The crowdsourcing begins right away, as you’re asked to provide three competitors to your company. In exchange, Owler sends you a weekly report, Weekly Showdowns, which highlights what the competition is up to through various channels, such as news, blogs and social media. You can also set up alerts similar to Google Alerts on companies, investments, etc. We have to say that Owler’s website has a much cleaner-looking interface compared to CrunchBase, and provides additional details like estimated revenue, social media stats and employee history trends. Of course, the problem with crowdsourced material is that it comes from, well, a mob crowd, so use it as a starting point.
Cost: Request a demo
This Silicon Valley research firm of startup data has raised $13.5 million in funding through two rounds in 2015. Tracxn also got undisclosed amounts in additional funding activity early last year. The company says its goal is to build the largest team of analysts—real-life-people, no less—to track startups around the globe. Its competitor, Owler, pegs the number at 307 employees, well above most of the competition. (PitchBook has nearly 600 employees, however, according to Owler.) Tracxn was founded by in 2007 by Neha Singh and Abhishek Goyal, ex-investors from Sequoia and Accel. It claims to track more than 230 sectors, everything from 3D printing to mobile gaming. It provides curated startup profiles of more than 3,000 companies each week, and you can order custom reports with a turnaround time of four to five days.
Gust isn’t purely a database of startup companies but a platform matching entrepreneurs and investors. The New York-based startup claims it has helped funnel nearly $2 billion to startup companies, though we’re not able to locate any details on its specific financials. While intended as a Match.com between startups and investors, you can freely access Gust’s website for early-stage startups, though some features are restricted to registered investors.
Cost: Free three-month limited trial, with plans starting as low as €50 per month (about $52)
A French version of PitchBook or CB Insights, but with a modest monthly subscription cost based depending on your needs, Paris-based SourcInno has startup data on more than 400,000 companies worldwide and more than 100,000 deals. It comes with some of the usual bells and whistles, such as automatic alerts on your favorite startups and customizable lists of companies you want to follow. It’s a pretty young company, founded in 2015, and provides limited market analysis at the moment.
This list of venture capital databases should provide you plenty of homework in researching startups. Or you can just leave all that to us. After all, you’ve got more important things to do, like Googling the number of virgins in heaven.