Last Spring we quietly launched a new website in our network called CrunchBase. It’s a front end for our database of company information (address, executives/founders, funding info, etc.). We accumulate all this data about startups, but much of it doesn’t make it into actual posts on TechCrunch or the other blogs. And even when it does, it isn’t structured properly. So we thought we’d just put it up in a structured format for people to use when researching these startups.
We started linking to CrunchBase often in our posts. This tends to drive some readers absolutely nuts because they want to go to the company, not CrunchBase, when they click a link. As of today that policy is being discontinued.
Instead, we’ve created a small widget that pulls in some of the important data points about a startup, and we’ll include that widget in posts about startups. To see an example, see this and this post. I’ve also put the widget in this post for the startup PoliticalBase, since I mention them in the next paragraph.
This is just the beginning. The next step is to turn the site into a wiki in exactly the same way that PoliticalBase has done (try clicking on “edit” on any of their pages). They maintain data structure but allow users to create and edit all content as well. We will also allow people to add other relevant links about the startup to the page. We’ll either build this ourselves or partner with someone. For fun, I’ve added Facebook and Digg, too.
We’ll also be allowing everyone to embed the widgets into their blogs, and anyone who does so will be automatically linked to from the CrunchBase page as well, if their content is non-spammy and relevant. We’ll create other tools (RSS in particular) that allow people to easily export the data and use it however they please.
Since all this data is structured, we’ll be able to do some interesting things with it. Like create a venture capital index showing how much money is going into startups each month. Or show a map that includes geographical info about startups. And so on.
There are a number of companies that gather this information and sell it to people for thousands of dollars per year. Our intention is to disrupt those businesses by giving all of this data away for free.
This is a work in progress, and will be for some time. Please bear with us as we make mistakes, and keep giving us your feedback. We’re listening. And if your startup isn’t yet included in CrunchBase, you can submit the data directly here.