Jinfo BlogOwler - A Successful Pivot

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By Michael Levy

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Abstract

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

Item

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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