Crunchbase is well known right now as the place to get information about startups, including which have raised funding, from which firms and when. The company has spent the last decade or so building up its traffic and its brand, and now it is finally ready to use those two things to take things to the next level,
On Thursday, Crunchbase announced that it has raised a new funding around, coinciding with the launch of a new product aimed squarely at its enterprise clients. In addition, it also laid out some of the roadmap for where it wants to go next.
Crunchbase revealed that it has raised an $18 million round led by Mayfield. This is the third round the company has raised since spinning out of AOL in September 2015 with $6.5 million from Emergence Capital. It subsequently raised another $2 million in November 2015. This latest round brings its total funding to $26.5 million.
Crunchbase says it will use the funding to grow its team. It currently has 40 employees and plans to double that over the next year, Crunchbase CEO Jager McConnell told me.
He also made sure to explain that Crunchbase was going to be committed to diversity with this new round of hires.
"Diversity is a core tenant of how we’re hiring and how we're thinking about it. I think that's a bit different than most startups, who think about, 'How do we get the people that we need right away? Just get them in here, whoever it is.' We are taking a more measured approach to that," he said.
"That's leveraging my experience as Salesforce, where diversity is very important and I brought that with me when I joined Crunchbase."
The company is now at 43 percent women, and about 50 percent non-white employees. Diversity also represents the company's userbase, where 40 percent of traffic comes internationally.
The company also says it will use the new funding to "drive product development that will expand Crunchbase’s solutions as well as the breadth and depth of its data."
It has already announced the first of these new solutions with the launch of Crunchbase Enterprise, which is which provides teams with the ability to build prospect lists, create tailored contact information for prospects, and design a data-driven workflow.
In September, Crunchbase launched Crunchbase Pro, its premium service which offers the ability to do queries, and for its paying customer to find out more about things happening in specific industries or a specific location . Almost immediately, McConnell said, the company began hearing from its enterprise customers about wanting to take that data and move it into their own internal systems.
"So it became pretty clear we should have an enterprise offering. It gives all you all the power of Crunchbase Pro but for your team. That means that means you can not only use the full suite of Crunchbase tools itself, but we allow you to have a full API that lets you take the data and pull it into your own internal systems," he said.
Crunchbase Enterprise customers also get Salesforce integration, which allows them to map Salesforce with Crunchbase data. Crunchbase can then automatically push updates into Salesforce, on the companies that those users are following.
"As an example, maybe you have a list of prospects and, if you one of them gets funding, you want to go and mark that opportuny as hot, or you want to go and use workflow to assign that deal off to a sales rep to let them follow up with it, or to create a follow up task. All those things are possible with that Salesforce integration," McConnell said.
There are already over 5,000 companies using the Enterprise product, including Affinity, Datafox, Datanyze, Deloitte, Engagio, Everstring, Infer, Microsoft, Nestle, Samsung, Slack, Target, Volkswagen, and IBM Watson.
The future of Crunchbase
In a blog post, McConnell described two more initiatives he has planned for this year. First is "a completely new version of crunchbase.com."
"All the data is going to remain free and available and searchable. All of the core tenants of what Crunchbase is will remain true, but we are rebuilding it so it's in a modern architecture. It's going to be extremely, surprisingly fast. The interactions are going to be enjoyable. We're really focusing on the user experience," he told me.
The company is also beginning the framework of creating more emphasis around metrics and summary data, with things like trend scores and ratings more in the free version of Crunchbase, and not just in Pro.
The second iniative in the pipeline is Crunchbase Marketplace, which will allow users to customize their experience on the site. That means users can decide which sections of the page they do and don't want to see, and in what order.
"We'll let you choose whatever data source you care about. Whatever data is important to you, doing your business, have that show up in the Crunchbase profile page," McConnell said, which means forming partnerships with outside data sources.
The goal is to have 15 to 20 partnerships when Marketplace launches; the company already has 10, including with Glassdoor and SimilarWeb.
So, with Glassdoor, the profile could integrate CEO ratings, employee ratings, available jobs. With SimilarWeb, it could be website traffic for a specific company or industry.
"Over time, pretty much every data provider that has some slice of company information, we'd like our users to have the ability to go and add that data directly into their experience. Sometimes that will be free, like Glassdoor will be a free dataset, but other times it may even cost a little bit of money to go add in technology stack data, or patent data," said McConnell.
Ultimately, this all will lead to the company's ultimate goal: to be "the master record of all the companies on the Internet."
"Just like how you go to LinkedIn to find resume information or you go to Facebook to find your friends, w want Crunchbase to be the place that you go and look up company information and you don't have to think about any other place to go do that," said McConnell.
"The premise is: it would be impossible for a single company to find all these slivers of company information, and put it into one spot on their own. They cant be all those core competencies, so the idea is, let's go and form these partnerships with all these companies that have those core competencies, put it in one place and, if we do a good job here, the user will say, 'I know where to go, it's where all this data comes together, that’s at Crunchbase.'"
Only Crunchbase could pull this off, he told me, because it spent nearly a decade not worrying about making money or having a business model, but building up its traffic and its brand. And now Crunchbase is in the position to be that source for all that data.
"We don't see any direct competition in our space currently. Crunchbase is the primary destination for discovering private company information on the internet with more than 27 million users last year. The Crunchbase Marketplace partners only want to share their data with companies with large numbers of users. That makes it very difficult to compete with our channel and, by extension, to build a true company master record."
(Image source: about.crunchbase.com)