Known for its startup data, Crunchbase’s software business is quietly earning millions

For many in the venture capital industry, Crunchbase is the mothership of free startup and venture capital data. The platform is packed with information on funding rounds, internally reported startup stories, and diversity tracking metrics and trends. It’s also a tool for checking ratings and funding totals without the paywalls that come with industry competitors, including PitchBook and CB Insights. Although this side of the business is the best known – and is expected to attract 80 million visitors to Crunchbase next year – the platform has evolved into a multi-product business intelligence platform for private and public companies.

Crunchbase has built and scaled proprietary sales software – largely behind the scenes – that uses its database to make it easier for B2B companies to find potential customers. The more successful companies are with the software, the more effective it becomes in recommending prospects. The concept came from CEO Jager McConnell who had been thinking about it for over a decade and had previously tried to build it while on a sabbatical from Salesforce. Instead of building the database from scratch, Crunchbase offered the perfect launching point.

When he took the helm in 2015, he imagined it could become a Spotify or a LinkedIn for businesses to connect and find each other. “Spotify is next-gen consumer software in my mind,” McConnell said. Forbes. “They put you in a bucket of users like you. I learn other types of music that the band listens to and apply them to find good music. This doesn’t really happen in the corporate world and it should. Now, his creation has tens of thousands of paying customers and rakes in double-digit ARR millions, as originally reported in Midas key newsletter. A far cry from what the company looked like six years ago.

When McConnell took over as CEO in 2015, the platform felt forgotten. TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington started the startup database in 2007 as part of the tech news website to track companies covered, but that wasn’t anyone’s primary focus. “It was still a side project, the data was all community driven, it was outdated,” McConnell says. Crunchbase spun off from TechCrunch and its later owners, AOL/Verizon, and McConnell was all for it. He joined a year and a half of trail to hire a full team to build and begin selling the software, funded by an $8.5 million Series A round. led by Emergence listener Midas Santi Subotovsky. For now, it pays off.

Crunchbase’s subscription software now has over 60,000 paying users, putting the company on track to hit $38 million in ARR by the end of the year. The platform launched the latest version of the three-tier prospecting software in July, which drove 87% of net new ARR creation. The company has also seen its data licensing business generate more than 6 billion API calls since its inception. “If we build amazing prospecting software on top of the best companies in the world that matter, the companies that grow, we can build a next-generation software company,” McConnell says. “And that’s today’s thesis.” The company declined to share its current valuation and whether or not it is profitable.

While creating sales prospecting software isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, this offering is different, according to McConnell, because of the depth of Crunchbase’s data. The platform not only tracks company information, it also tracks metrics that show which companies are growing and which aren’t being funded through funding rounds – the bread and butter of the platform. form – but also the number of employees and, on the other hand, layoffs. “In our world, what’s a good company you should sell to based on who you’ve successfully sold to in the past,” McConnell says. “As we grow, we will do better and better at determining who is right for you as a business.”

Chat Metrics, a business customer of Crunchbase, a Melbourne, Australia-based B2B chat software that helps businesses convert customers using existing web traffic, has seen a 400% increase in sales meetings since starting started using sales prospecting software. Chat Metrics CEO Terry Wilson says Forbes that the software offers a combination of tools — including email templates, verified company contact information, and integration with Salesforce — that the startup would have to pay 10 times the amount to use separately.

For Kyle Rasmussen, chief revenue officer for Chat Metrics and the company’s sole sales representative, Crunchbase is mission critical. “It probably saves a day or two a week figuring out who we should talk to, you can do that in minutes,” he says. “Since we started using Crunchbase, even meetings feel different because when people get along, they get the first impression that these guys have done their research.”

From there, McConnell says Crunchbase will strive to continue to improve its underlying data and add more features and filters to help its customers, including allowing users to see a breakdown of the types of roles that companies hire, as opposed to just the number of jobs. displays, in addition to other creative ways to show business growth. Crunchbase is looking to ramp up its Series D round next year — to add to its $56.6 million in funding so far — and hopes to continue to build momentum. “Look, it works,” McConnell said. “We built this machine and we are selling it. We really focus on the target user. We’ll probably have 80 million people using Crunchbase next year.

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