CrunchBase, a service that surfaces information about startup funding, venture capital investments and people in the startup ecosystem, was spun out of TechCrunch and its parent company AOL/Verizon late last year. At the time, the new company raised a funding round led by Emergence Capital, with AOL/Verizon still holding on to a significant stake in the company.
(Disclaimer: TechCrunch is owned by AOL/Verizon and CrunchBase was incubated inside of TechCrunch. I have no stake in the success of CrunchBase and am covering this just like any other startup funding story).
Investors in the new round include Salesforce Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, SV Angel, and 8 Partners, as well as a number of undisclosed private investors.
CrunchBase CEO Jager McConnell tells me the company plans to use the new funding to accelerate growth. “That translates into investing heavily in our engineering team to build the next generation of CrunchBase,” he said. “We have a huge opportunity in front of us as we solidify and build on our position as the go-to source for private company information.”
The launch of paid plans for data access doesn’t necessarily come as a major surprise. For a long time, CrunchBase offered an API that allowed access to its data under the Creative Commons license. The original license allowed for commercial use, but CrunchBase later switched to a non-commercial license. The company currently offers a commercial use license, as well as a non-commercial use license for academic research and class projects, for example. Until now, though, it never specified pricing for the commercial license.
The new licensing options now puts a concrete price on access to CrunchBase’s data. Under the new plan, you can still get free access to historical data and developers can link their dataset to CrunchBase. This historical data is basically a snapshot of the company’s data from 2013 in the form of a MySQL export, though.
Under this free plan, developers won’t get any access to the service’s full REST API. What they do get, however, is access to CrunchBase’s ‘Open Data Map API,’ but that only includes some of the most basic info about the companies in the database. For the most part then, the free plan doesn’t offer a lot of functionality for developers who want to experiment with CrunchBase’s data.
“By offering three tiers we essentially have ‘something for everyone,’ McConnell said. “The Basic tier is available to anyone for any use case – keeping true to our roots and keeping a set of our data open for the community. The Commercial tier is used for companies looking to build externally facing applications on top of the CrunchBase data set. Finally the new Advanced tier is more for internal use cases – for sales and business development teams who realize that extremely strong buying signals are hiding in the data.”
He believes that the free plan still gives developers “a taste of what it’s like to build against our API,” and he noted that some CrunchBase customers already use the $999/month plan to develop their applications and then switch to the commercial license when they go live.
At these prices, though, CrunchBase is charging significantly more than upstart competitors like Mattermark, so it remains to be seen how well developers will react to these price plans.