A round-up of key resources to empower your start-up research.
A number of tools, free and fee-based, are available to professionals and researchers within the venture capital / start-up industry. Common reasons for using these tools include needing to search competitors of a given start-up, obtaining names of founders, analyzing previous funding and finding the most recent news on a given start-up. Some popular research tools are reviewed in this “round-up” list, examining their content offerings and search features.
Start-up Directories and General Business Directories
This free resource is particularly comprehensive regarding data about angel funding of start-ups. This tool allows keyword searching and sorting and limiting by such parameters as company type, location, market platform, investors and investment stage.
This free business database includes data on thousands of businesses, even beyond start-ups and venture capital firms. Particularly for start-ups, this tool provides contact information, estimated revenue, estimated employee count, funding rounds and dates (with colorful bar graphs), acquisitions, social media reach and names of competitors. Free registration may be needed to access this tool.
This free resource offers an advanced search feature whereby such fields as company name, keyword, location, category, funding and founding year can be searched. People involved in the start-ups industry can even register for the site and add their own content.
This freemium service allows limited free use after registration. The paid access gains full access to the data. The resource provides the searchable fields of keyword (industry), company name and geography. The sort and limit features of this tool are quite powerful and may be one of its strengths against its competitors.
The records of one million companies are noted to be within this subscription resource. The search features include company name, industry vertical, location, investors and investment stage. Detailed venture capital firm and angel investor portfolios are also provided.
This paid subscription database provides a more sophisticated way to search for start-ups and venture capital deals compared to its free competitors. The resource allows sophisticated searching by stage of funding, by geography and by deal size. Data includes basic firm contact details, total funding, exits and even momentum. Additionally, the company also provides custom on-demand research services.
This free database provides a way for a researcher to find the software technology that a given start-up is using. This information may be useful when seeking benchmarks regarding what a new start-up in a given industry should be using. The data can also be used for lead generation. Free registration is needed.
A freemium tool, this resource provides a lot of free data about a given website address. Statistics on monthly Web visitors, usual time spent on the website, category rank, traffic by countries and similar websites (potentially competitor websites) are all included in each record.
The online version of this resource provides an array of news about established and upstart companies. Interesting industrywide coverage of articles can also be found within this publication. The articles are quite often in-depth and comprehensive.
News about technology-oriented start-ups, including founder quotes and latest funding rounds, can be found at this resource.
Choosing the Right Venture Capital Research Tool
Depending on the granularity of start-ups/VC research that needs to be performed, different databases and tactics may need to be used. For instance, finding a list of random agricultural start-ups would probably be quite easy to do by using CrunchBase or CB Insights’ database. A researcher needs to thoroughly review multiple resources in order to become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses in order to determine which tool is best to use in a given research scenario.
The more granular and multifaceted a research question is, the more likely that multiple resources and search tactics may need to be used. For example, for the research question, “I need a list of Austin, Texas agricultural internet-of-things start-ups that had Series A funding within the last five years,” the search strategy may entail using multiple sources and the task may be time consuming.
In fact, a researcher may even have to perform advanced Boolean Google search strings, depending on if the other databases are yielding quality results. By using Google in concert with the start-ups databases, more comprehensive results may be found. As no resource can claim 100% coverage of this ever-evolving start-ups/venture capital ecosystem, the most successful researchers will likely be the ones that utilize the largest collection of research tools and tactics.
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