Zirra Wisdom
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TechCrunch Disrupt SF, which wraps up today, was packed with announcements and launches such as the new $999 autonomous driving add-on from Comma.ai and the new strategic plans of Pokemon go's Niantic for the popular AR game. But we at Zirra found Crunchbase Pro, the new service pitched on Monday by the online startups and VCs database, to be the most compelling, if not revolutionary offering.

When we say revolution we mean it like "French revolution" - political and bloody. That's because Crunchbase is the foundation on which all the other players built their houses, and now they went and built their own edifice.

The newly launched Crunchbase Pro adds much more to the famous database which, up until this point, was a straight directory offering. Crunchbase now offers advanced search capabilities, market trends analytics and a set of filters and ranking criteria. For instance, if you were always eager to get a list of the gaming startups in Finland that are less than five years old, or if you just needed to know how many drone investments Battery Ventures has, now you can get those answers from Crunchbase Pro in seconds.

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With Pro, Crunchbase pulls the rug out from under many complementary services that use data from their directory. With Pro, services like Pitchbook, MatterMark, DataFox and CB Insights, which even has the initials of Crunchbase in its brand (although the "CB" actually comes from their former name - ChubbyBrain), will have to reinvent themselves or die.

There's also the question of why Crunchbase wants to now compete with the companies that pay for their data. The answer to that is what Jager McConnell told Jon Sheiber at the Disrupt event: Crunchbase is still the largest database on startups and VCs and it enjoys the highest traffic, about 1M monthly active users. So it is only natural to offer features that build on these advantages.

altJager McConnell, CEO of CrunchBase and Jon Sheiber of TechCrunch. Source: TechCrunch.com

It's going be thrilling to watch and see how the relationships within this (now) troubled family will unfold. Will the Mattermarks and Datafoxes of the world find alternative sources of data? Will Crunchbase cut them off at some point?

Moreover, the biggest deal about Crunchbase Pro is not the new database capabilities or agile interface. It's the pricing; the service is offered for a mere $29 a month on an annual plan, or $49 per month, month-to-month.

This pricing demonstrates what we at Zirra have been saying over and over: Information shouldn't cost too much. Or, stated another way, data alone simply is not that valuable.

CB Insights offers a nice user experience with information about trending companies. Subscription start at $1600/month. If you'd like to have the expert experience be ready to pay $12,500/month.

Mattermark, another database of startups, lets you search for individual companies and get historical data on companies with their traffic analysis. Subscriptions start at $6000 annually.

Consider as well the new kid in town, Tracxn. For a subscription of $2,000 you get any question answered within three business days. That's close to six times the yearly subscription to Crunchbase Pro. We didn't even mention PrivCo and Pitchbook which are far more expensive.

Pro is not perfect, but neither are the other players who now should be scared to death of it. If you've already used these tools you know that you need much more than what they can offer. You discovered that there are 100 gaming startups in Finland under the age of five or you now know the list of the ten hottest seed startups in Seattle? Great, but now what?

Now you need to dive into each company. To figure out whether the founding team is as good as it claims to be, or if the product is original and innovative, and not just another risky 'me too.' You need to figure out which three of those ten deserve real attention.

At Zirra, we think that smart insights are a necessary addition to data analysis. We pack those insights into reports dedicated to each startup and sell them individually. No subscriptions, no monthly or yearly plans.

Our insights are synthesized from metrics produced by our proprietary AI and machine learning algorithms and an expert network we use to calibrate the data system and to produce exclusive insights on companies and markets. The proprietary big data technology allows us to scale and evaluate startups metrics within seconds and our network of experts allows us create qualitative and valuable insights that no other directory, including Crunchbase Pro and its competitors can create.

We at Zirra support Crunchbase's move and think strongly that information should be priced on a more flexible basis and on demand. Like Crunchbase, we too launched a new offering, that we're calling "Spotlight Reports." Unlike Crunchbase, a Spotlight Report is not just data sliced and diced. For a price tag that ranges between $49-$99 you'll get custom tailored insights that answer your questions, produced via our machine data analysis systems and our human experts. And for when you need to even deeper, you can buy the $2000-$5000 report.

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We're glad to see industry giants join the information pricing revolution. The time of overpaying for data is done. At Zirra we offer data with insights at price points accessible to all; not only investors, but also entrepreneurs, job applicants, analysts, marketing managers - everyone.