As many of you already know, CrunchBase is a big, free resource for anyone trying to get the latest information on hot new startups, or competitors to their own hot new startups, the investing focus of various investors, and much more.
The thing is, CrunchBase isn’t used all that much on TechCrunch itself beyond the widgets you see at the end of articles. So, I’m going to start testing out a variety of posts with the goal of surfacing new and interesting information for all of you. To kick things off, I’ll take a brief look at the largest seed and angel funding rounds that we recorded over the last 30 days — you’ll see just how big some of these rounds have been getting.
But before I get into that, though, here are a few thoughts on using CrunchBase on TechCrunch.
Why am I doing this? I am a big believer in trying to use data to help tell stories (in fact, that’s the direction good journalism is going, in my opinion). I’ve seen it how well it worked during my time at Inside Network, where founder Justin Smith and the team have done a great job of building up editorial sites that break news about what was happening on the Facebook platform via tracking application traffic on AppData. Weekly posts, on topics like which apps had gained the most daily active users in the past week, have become staples for developers, because they reveal exactly what is is or isn’t succeeding with users. CrunchBase is a different kind of service, but as with AppData I believe there are all sorts of ways that we can put it to use to help entrepreneurs make more informed decisions about their own companies.
How am I doing this? I’m working with CrunchBase engineers Anthony Nguyen and Vineet Thanedar, and program manager Gené McPherson, to come up with ideas and run custom reports for these articles. They’re also making corresponding tweaks to the CrunchBase product to help all of you better mine it for your own purposes.
What other articles should you expect? I’m looking for both regular posts — weekly or monthly — that’ll create an ongoing flow of trend coverage. These could include, beyond seed and angel activity, regular looks at top investments by venture round, top exits, top international (non-US) investments, and anything else we can think of. We’re also looking to come up with broader one-off looks at trends within CrunchBase.
On that point, please feel free to share your own ideas for what we should be covering. Either leave your suggestions on the comments below or email me at eldon(at)techcrunch(dot)com.
Okay, so, back to the actual data I had mentioned, on the largest seed and angel rounds from the last 30 days.
The overall trend is no surprise to anyone who has been following tech investing in the last several years — companies are now raising “seed” and “angel” rounds that are nearly as big as Series A rounds. And investors, including venture firms, are putting in smaller and smaller chunks of money to try to get in early on top deals.
The largest round that we tracked, for Slovenian entrepreneur Andrej Nabergoj’s new Iddiction mobile app discovery company, was for $3.5 million. It described the funding as “seed” to press, and the large number of investors suggests they all put in relatively small amounts in angel-round style. But the size still makes the round a category bender.
The second-largest funding is Flow, from another serial entrepreneur, Eric Alterman. As with Iddiction, it’s Series A size, but came in two parts, and features enough investors that it does appear to literally be a pre-Series A round.
Scrolling down, you can see that each of the five largest rounds of the past 30 days had five or more investors total. Most are going to entrepreneurs with one or more established companies under their belt. Nothing breeds “me-too” investor confidence like past success.
Once you scroll further to more traditionally-sized angel rounds, you can still see that many of them — where investor information is available — feature a combination of individuals, seed-focused outfits like Y Combinator, and venture firms. It’s a sign of the times. Expect these same trends to continue next month.
Some final notes about this data: private companies don’t always disclose their investors, or at least all of their investors, or the total amounts of funding, especially at the earliest stages of their existence. And CrunchBase data can be provided by any number of sources including press reports from around the web and companies themselves. So it’s imperfect and subject to correction — and still useful for revealing trends.