Thursday, 8th March 2012
In Part 1 of this review, we looked at the general features of CB Insights, a platform that provides profiles of investors, companies and funds, and includes basic analytic capabilities. In this part, we’ll drill down into functionality.
Update: A new review of this product is available here »
When first logging in to CB Insights, users are presented with the most recent news in the database, as shown in Figure 1. However, over time, CB Insights “learns” a user’s preferences, based on their searches and activity. As such, the homepage presentation will evolve to present users with increasingly relevant firm and deal profiles.
The founder of CB Information Services, Anand Sanwal, described CB Insight’s mission as “making discovery of companies, investors, and/or acquirers as easy as possible”. The platform has many features for doing just that. Like many deals products, CB Insights offers a single search box for looking up a single company or investor. But its advanced search interface is particularly sophisticated. Users can build a search with as many criteria as they like, such as firm status and location. But you can also search CB Insight’s extensive database of tags, which describe industries or products. Many growth industries are not adequately described by traditional industry classification systems, but CB Insight’s tags capture them very well – such as software-as-a-service, clean coal or online games. Users can also add and then later search on their own private tags for companies and deals. Figure 2 shows a sophisticated search that took less than a minute to create.
Results and output options
CB Insights’ profiles on companies, investors and deals can be very detailed, often including information on current and historical financings, full lists of participants, key people and descriptive tags. Users can execute the typical functions they’d expect to find on a sophisticated online research tool, such as save searches, create company lists and export results and reports to Excel or PDF. However, one of the stand out enhancements is the Trends tool, which allows users very quickly to create graphs and charts of an investor’s recent activity, as shown in Figure 3. Users simply pick a firm and time frame and are returned with sleek charts that can be immediately printed or exported to several formats (PDF, PNG, JPG, or SVG vector image). CB Insights also provides the web coding for embedding the charts on other websites. This would greatly increase the speed of building pitch books and creating intranet content.
CB Insights makes it easy to track companies, investors and deals. Most profiles include a “Watch” button that triggers alerting, once clicked. Alternatively, subscribers can sign up for the Funding Flash service, which provides a daily email round up of deals from the past 24 hours. The Funding Flash provides key deal details, such as the participants, amount, round and deal industries.
CB Insights has several licensing options, including various individual (rather than firm-wide) options. Users can select from different levels of functionality and pay a monthly fee, using their credit card. Subscriptions can be cancelled at any time, without cancellation penalties. CB Insights will also negotiate corporate or enterprise licences upon request. The firm offers free trials for the CB Insights web platform and Funding Flash.
CB Insights offers an easy to use product for tracking growth companies and current financings. Moreover, it offers a very low-cost option for a publishing area that has been traditionally dominated by large, expensive information publishers.
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