CrunchBase Is All Grown Up

In the early days of TechCrunch I realized we could really use a data repository to help keep track of all the financing, M&A and people news around startups.

We’d cover all of these things as they happened but it was a huge pain to go back and research historical information. I thought about creating a basic wiki for startups but the lack of structured data was an issue. If I created a profile for a person I wanted there to be links to the companies that person worked for automatically created. Adding them in by hand wasn’t going to work, and anyway the links would quickly become stale.

So we built CrunchBase in 2007, a wiki with structured data, and started dumping data into it. We quickly abandoned the first iteration and by late 2007 we had a pretty good application that served the community well for years.

When AOL acquired TechCrunch in 2010 I kept telling them that CrunchBase was probably the most valuable thing they were buying. It took a while but they finally got it and started putting real resources towards improving it.

Today there are an astounding 23 people working on CrunchBase, led by Matt Kaufman. I’ve known and sometimes worked with Matt for some 15 years now, and he’s a very good product guy. It’s in the right hands.

Yesterday CrunchBase relaunched and has some really nice new design and data organization features. You can read all about it on TechCrunch.

I really like where CrunchBase is heading. I do urge them to keep the data open to all, something we built in from the beginning. This is community data, edited by people in the community, and it’s important that the community continues to feel free to use and repurpose the data.

Some rules around the API are needed, and there have been some bad actors that have taken advantage of the openness of CrunchBase in the past. But the benefit to everyone in having this data available and open far outweighs the damage done by those very few bad actors.

Congratulations to the team on a great relaunch. I continue to use CrunchBase daily and am so proud to see it continue to grow.

5 thoughts on “CrunchBase Is All Grown Up

  1. It’s sure come a long way! Kudos to Henry and Mark for building the first versions.

  2. Chris says:

    The new design is pretty, but infinitely worse to use.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      explain?

      • Before I was able to open up a page and quickly scan for information. Now I have to click to expand things and it may not be in a grid.

        I use it to find portfolio companies of interesting investors and find connections between different companies. It’s still possible, but it will take a little bit more time/effort.

        Thankfully the API didn’t change and I can still use Mattermark to pull in CB data.

  3. brian dear says:

    I agree that the new Crunchbase is vastly less usable and browsable than the old version. The new version requires more scrolling, the information is less dense, and it feels far less complete. You can’t just glance and get a sense that a given company is worth reading about, just by subconsciously noticing the various sections are rich with info (like a long list of investors). The new version requires much more scrolling and eye movement and is far more fatiguing and therefore less fun to use. So therefore less pageviews. So therefore it’s toast, imho, in the long run.

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