With $1M In Funding, VC Database CB Insights Launches A Data Tool For Salespeople

Many of you probably know CB Insights as the venture capital database that puts out reports about trends like the on-demand economy and compiles lists of unicorn startups. Today, the company is expanding far beyond the venture world with the launch of CB Insights For Sales, a product that puts its private and public company knowledge to work on the sales floor.

CB Insights was launched by former VC Anand Sanwal in 2009 under the name ChubbyBrain, which didn’t go over so well, as you can imagine. The company quickly rebranded to CB Insights, avoiding a lot of jokes but further confusing much of the startup community due to the similarity between “CB” and CrunchBase (which shares a founder and parent company with TechCrunch).

Identity crisis aside, CB Insights has grown to millions in annual revenue over the past five years and signed up more than 300 customers that use its analytics platform to source deals, analyze competition, and build reports.

Now, powered by $1.15 million in equity-free investment from the National Science Foundation, CB Insights is launching a lead gen tool built on top of its existing database and analytics tools.

“The way that B2B salespeople do their job today is often pretty archaic, it’s totally undifferentiated and just sort of spray and pray,” says Sanwal. “So you give us a list of your existing customers, and we’ll identity programmatically all the companies that are similar that you should be talking to.”

With CB Insights For Sales, an iteration on the business intelligence tools that CB Insights provides, sales groups input a list of their current customers, and the platform spits out a list of new leads, ranked by relevancy.

CB Insights is already crawling millions of news articles to pick up on funding and acquisition news. So the CB Sales algorithm looks to see which companies are frequently referenced together in the press, along with a handful of more obvious factors, like company size, funding, and industry, to determine similarity. These results are scored, ranked, and integrated into Salesforce, so salespeople see a list of prioritized leads and a complete profile for each one.

If a company on this list raises a big round of funding or posts a bunch of jobs on LinkedIn, the platform will notify the sales team and re-score that company accordingly.

CB Insights has been working with existing customers like Marketo and Gartner to build out CB Sales, but starting today the service available to the public. And it’s only the first application of the company’s existing dataset and analytics tech.

“For salespeople, it’s who is my next potential lead; for corporate strategy, it’s what is the next hot industry; for people in competitive intelligence, it’s what’s Google’s next big move,” Sanwal says. “We want to use data to provide insight into all of these things.”