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This is the first of a four part series on how Venture Scanner enables corporations to research, identify, and connect with innovative companies. In this post, we will layout our four-step process and in the next set of posts we will go deeper on each of the four steps.
One of the top requests from you, our community, is to be able to quickly get a sense for how companies within categories stack up against one another. It is very common for some categories, like Automotive Telematics, Social Media Marketing, and Consumer Lending, to have over 100 companies within them. This makes identifying the short list of companies to meet with and vet for business partnerships a very arduous task.
I analyzed the data on the sectors we are covering and graphed the median age of the companies within each sector.Not surprisingly, Bitcoin is the youngest sector with a median company age of 1 year and Marketing Automation, Connected Transportation, and Future of TV/Video are the most mature sectors with a median company age of 6 years.NaderRead More
Last week I looked at sectors poised for growth based on the percent of companies within a sector that have received funding. This week I sliced the data slightly differently to see if it would teach me anything new. I looked at the average funding per company per sector, for the companies that have received funding.Anteing Up: Bitcoin, 3D Printing, and IoT seem to be in the anteing up phase of funding. Investors are placing small bets and watching for companies to breakout to double down on.Doubling Down: Digital Health, Marketing Automation, Financial Technology, Retail Technologies, and Future of TV/Video seem to be in the doubling down phase of funding. Investors have spotted potential winners and have doubled down on their bets.All In: Connected Transportation seems to be in the all in phase of funding. A select group of winners are emerging with investors placing much bigger bets on them.NaderRead More
At Venture Scanner, we provide coverage on emerging sectors that have momentum in innovation and startup activity. These are the sectors that are transforming established industries or creating new ones. They are sectors that attract venture capital and corporate strategic interests.I analyzed all the sectors we are covering and looked at the total companies within the sectors and the percentage of those companies that have been funded.Broadly, I see 3 groups amongst these sectors.Group 1: Bitcoin and 3D Printing have limited funding activity and there are likely opportunities for continued early stage investments as the companies reach product market fits. Group 2: Connected Transportation, Marketing Automation, IoT, and Financial Technology have gained traction with investors and are building out their respective industries. These sectors seem poised to attract later stage investments and M&A activity, along with continued early stage opportunities. Group 3: Retail Technologies, Future of TV / Video, and Digital Health seem ripe for M&A activity and later stage investments. What do you conclude from this data?NaderRead More
External company evaluations and scores can help buyers and dealmakers narrow the field when assessing vendors or deal prospects, especially as the pool of available opportunities only grows.I see 3 approaches being used, and will offer my thoughts on each method below:Analyst evaluationCrowd evaluationProgrammatic evaluation1) Analyst evaluations are the bailiwick of research shops whose analysts look at a sector and use a specific evaluation rubric to classify companies. For example, Gartner uses the magic quadrant methodology, where analysts evaluate companies based on completeness of vision on the X-axis and the ability to execute on the Y-axis. They then group companies into leaders, challengers, niche players, or visionaries (see figure below).Pros: Analysts conduct primary research, talk to companies, and dig through operational details to synthesize a large amount of non-public data to form opinions.Cons: Analyst evaluations can be subjective and biased based on the relationship a vendor has with the analyst and can also be very limited as analysts do not have the bandwidth to cover all the up and coming entrants in any given sector. 2) Crowd evaluations use the power of the open web to enable the wisdom of the crowds to score individual companies. For example, ProductHunt uses a simple Reddit like model that allows their community to list and up-vote companies. Companies receiving the lion’s share of up-votes in any given sector are the presumed leaders in a particular sector.Pros: Crowd evaluations democratize scoring and can signal which companies have a high likelihood of pleasing customers. Cons: Crowd evaluations are broad in nature and don’t determine the fit of a company against specific customer needs, nor do they evaluate a company based on their operations and strategy.3) Programmatic evaluations use algorithms that take in available data from the web to determine an overall score for a particular company. For example, Mattermark uses week-to-week growth data on a company’s web traffic, mobile downloads, inbound links, Twitter followers, Facebook page likes, and LinkedIn followers to arrive at an overall score for the company.Pros: Programmatic approaches that leverage available public data can be a good signal for companies that are showing growth and can help buyers and investors find up and coming opportunities.Cons: The flip side is that programmatic approaches can favor socially trending companies versus companies that have a stable offering and an existing base of customers. Furthermore, they do not evaluate companies based on any specific customer needs, nor do they take into account a company’s overalls strategy and ability to execute.Ultimately, each of these approaches provides part of the solution, and at Venture Scanner we believe the final answer lies at the intersection of all these approaches. Our approach of “analyst coverage as a service” combines a sector analyst’s primary research with aggregated and synthesized data from the web to provide our customers with the necessary insights to make a decision. Are there other approaches or pros/cons that I’m missing?NaderRead More
“Venture Scanner’s insights help us make sense of emerging sectors and zero in on opportunities.” Duncan Davidson, Managing Director at Bullpen CapitalAt Venture Scanner, we pride ourselves on our analyst insights. While we think of ourselves as a technology company and are reinventing the analyst coverage industry from the ground up with data, technology, and workflows, we ultimately see our analyst insights as the determining factor when our customers make decisions. Whether it is a CIO or CMO making a key purchasing or partnership decision, or a VC making an investment decision, or a corporate development executive making an acquisition decision, in all these cases the determining factor has been the insights on top of the data and companies our technology has aggregated, clustered, and organized.Our technology enables our analysts to surface companies in sectors and assess how companies are performing based on available social, traction, and financing data, but to truly cut through the noise our analysts immerse themselves in the sectors we cover and gather firsthand intelligence. The amount of publicly available data on private companies is very limited, and the earlier stage the company, the more finite that data set is. Many times the data set available is limited to what the companies themselves have uploaded on properties like AngelList, traffic or app data from services like Compete, and social data from Twitter. There are also crowd signals from products like ProductHunt that we factor in. However, while the sum of all this publicly available data might give us an okay first approximation of what companies might be trending, it certainly does not provide the insight to make a purchasing, investing, or acquisition decision where significant sums of money are at stake.Such decisions require actionable insights. In order to provide insightful and actionable intelligence to our customers, we organize our operations around domain experts who play the role of sector analysts. Our sector analysts spend their days fully immersed in the sectors they cover through the following activities:Product Lens: Creating trial accounts in the companies within their sectors, using the products, and determining unique differentiators, strengths, and weakness for said products.Primary Research: Meeting one-on-one with companies within their sectors to understand strategic direction, key feature releases on the horizon, and operating metrics.Trend Identification: Attending sector focused events/meetups and meeting with VCs investing in their sectors to catch emerging trends.The sum of all this gives our sector analysts the raw ingredients to form actionable insights for our customers. These include defining the unique drivers of each category of companies and highlighting the companies that are exhibiting them, compiling feature and usability comparisons amongst the companies within a category, and stating the key assumptions within a category that will determine future growth.So, while unearthing the data on private companies through our technology provides the starting point for making sense of any given sector, category, or company, the final answer lies in insights. Give our analyst insights a try, contact me at [email protected] or 650-218-0067.NaderRead More
While most of you know us for our ongoing coverage of emerging sectors through our subscription scans to the Financial Technology, Internet of Things, Digital Health, and many other sectors, we have quietly started a new service.
"Developing a deeper understanding of the IoT domain and ecosystem through Venture Scanner gave me a leg up when I started my company." Atif Noori, Founder & CEO, emberlight
In the time that I have been tracking the retail online to offline space at Venture Scanner, I am even more convinced that startups in this sector are among the most exciting and innovative. With the most up-to-date one-pager below, it is easy to see the breadth of categories covered as well as the investor interest.