Michael Levy Owler - A Successful Pivot
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Tuesday, 7th October 2014 Sign in to MyJinfo or create an account be able to star items Printable version Subscribe via RSS to get updates as soon as Blog items are added

By Michael Levy


Michael Levy reflects on Owler, a free company profiling resource from Jigsaw and InfoArmy founder Jim Fowler, launched earlier in 2014.


Pivoting - it's what young companies do when they find their initial product vision isn't resonating with the market or they recognise that the underlying market conditions have changed. In short, C-level management surveys the market landscape and reviews initial client feedback and says, "uh oh" (or perhaps something more colourful).

The change could be in the 4 Ps (product, price, place, promotion) or in broader corporate strategy. In the case of InfoArmy, pivoting involved stepping away from the market for a year and re-launching with a new brand (Owler), content strategy, customer target, and pricing model. 

Time to Rethink the Model

Several quarters after launching InfoArmy, Jim Fowler and his team recognised that a pivot was in order. His vision of crowdsourced profiles written by researchers on a revenue share basis wasn't resonating with the market and his researchers were wondering if they would see a significant return on their effort.

Fortunately for Fowler and company, they had money in the bank following a $17.3 million VC round, providing them with the time and resources to rethink their content model. The result was Owler, a far superior product to InfoArmy, which launched earlier this year. (See FreePint's 2014 Mini Review of Owler.)

Company Profiling and Alerting... for Free

Owler is a free company profiling and alerting service. While company profiles are relatively thin in traditional firmographics (e.g. business descriptions, industry codes, linkage), they are strong in four key areas: financing, acquisitions, leadership changes, and company sentiment.

Users may track and tag companies (e.g. customers, competitors, portfolio holdings) and review them online or via a free Apple iPhone app. Daily, high precision alerts are also delivered to users' inboxes.

Sentiment and Social Media USPs

Owler distinguishes itself in two ways:

  • It uses polls for tracking sentiment around companies and their CEOs
  • It incorporates social media (e.g. corporate blogs and videos) into company dashboards.

Thus, users are provided with a reflection of how a company presents itself, how the company is perceived, and a log of recent events at the firm.

Owler is a welcome service for sales reps, researchers, and job seekers. While still rough around the edges, it shows great promise as a company profiling service.

Owler has a host of interesting features. The Mini Review: Owler is now available for those with a FreePint Subscription. This review is part of the FreePint collection of product reviews and articles on company information providers. Find out more in Company Information Providers Under FreePint's Scrutiny.

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