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Your biggest strategic decisions deserve better: CB Insights

image"More Probability. Less Punditry.”

CB Insights has built a tech market intelligence platform that analyzes millions of data points on venture capital, startups, patents, partnerships and news media to predict technology trends.

We believe that technology and probability are better than talking heads and punditry when it comes to helping our clients predict their next market, their next acquisition, their next investment, their next customer or their competitor’s next move.

We were initially backed by the National Science Foundation and bootstrapped to millions in revenue before taking venture capital financing in late 2015.

Sharing Experience; Co-founders Anand Sanwal and Jonathan Sherry

Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform?
We had worked in VC, M&A, strategy and innovation roles before and saw that the ways corporations understand emerging industries, companies and competitive threats is hopelessly antiquated. They are using the 3 G’s – Google searches, Gut instinct and Guys with MBAs. We thought a data-science, probability and technology-driven model for understanding the next hot industry, company or threat was possible and that is what resulted in the birth of CB Insights.

Tell us about your first product that was launched?
We launched the first version of CB Insights in February 2010 targeting deal-makers, including VCs, investment bankers and corporate M&A professionals. We had our first customer two months later.

What kind of mixed responses have you received from your customers over the years. How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?
When you bootstrap (or revenue-fund as we like to call it) a company, your customers are your source of funding. And so we constantly talked to them to learn about their pain points. We’d also ask them point blank “what do you hate about our product?” And their candid feedback has heavily influenced the direction of the product and continues to do so.

What drives/inspires you to excel in your field of business?
As a team and as co-founders of the company, there are a few things:

  • First, we are hyper competitive. We want to win. And that has served us well as it means we’re willing to get into the weeds to fix issues.
  • Second, we are not convinced everyone gets multiple chances to build a big, impactful business. And so if this is our one big chance, we want to ensure we realize the opportunity.
  • Third, we have had the opportunity to build a team we really like. That is not often the case in a work setting. And so we want to ensure that we are deserving of the faith that the team has put into us.

Are there any trigger factors/events/individuals that have played key roles in shaping your organization’s road map?
There are tons of people who’ve had a role in shaping our organization’s road map, culture and more. Some of our first hires remain with us and we owe them a ton as they took a chance on us and were critical in laying the foundation for the type of company we’re going to become. There are too many folks to name here but a few of the early believers who were instrumental in this effort were Amit, Alex, Roy and Chima.

The other key constituency was customers especially those who bought our product when we just launched. Beyond the cash their purchases provided, their faith in us/the product instilled a level of confidence that we were on the right track and in a startup, confidence is a great thing to have. So those early customers who believed in us were also criticalin helping us grow and honestly in just helping us survive.

Do you have any new products ready to be/getting ready to be rolled out into the market?
We have several new products launching including Collections which you can think of as a CRM for Innovation. We also have capabilities rolling out to help companies and investors automatically update and add their data on CB Insights to fortify our lead for data quality and comprehensiveness. And finally, we are rolling out what can be thought of as “Google for tech” where if you type in a term like augmented reality, CB Insights will quickly return relevant companies, investors, news and trends about that space.

Where do you see you and your company a couple of years from now?
CB Insights will be the dominant technology market intelligence platform. Our technology and our team will be how corporations inform their biggest decisions about what markets to enter, what products to launch, what companies to acquire and what competitor strategies to be aware of.

Meet the Master Duo

Anand Sanwal, CEO and Co-founder: Anand Sanwal is the CEO and Co-founder of CB Insights, a National Science Foundation-backed technology market intelligence platform that provides predictive intelligence into emerging technology trends, startups and corporate strategy. Prior to founding CB Insights, Anand managed the $50 million Chairman’s Innovation Fund at American Express and worked in VC and corporate M&A. He has degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and in finance and accounting from the Wharton School of Business.

Jonathan Sherry, COO and Co-founder: Jonathan Sherry is the COO and Co-founder of CB Insights. Prior to founding CB Insights, Jonathan pioneered the $50 million Chairman’s Innovation Fund at American Express – a fund set aside for AmEx to invest in disruptive business models complementary to the payments space. Before joining AmEx, Jonathan worked at Deloitte for five years where he advised the world’s largest financial institutions on international expansion opportunities. Jonathan holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

“We help you see tomorrow’s opportunities, today.”