Part of the fun of reporting on an opaque asset class like venture capital is that any little discovery can be news. The cycle of fundraising announcements provides an endless supply of stories, and since companies aren’t required to disclose that info, industry followers are reliant on reporters to dig it up and report back.
Except when a machine can do it in real time.
WhoGotFunded is one such machine. The site is set to launch its database of funding information in a few weeks from Digimind, a Paris-based software company. It’s global and comprehensive. It has alerts, tracking, and real time info on venture fundings. More importantly, it’s free.
With no plans to monetize, the site is an experiment made possible by recent innovations in text mining, big data, and open data, Digimind CEO Paul Vivant said.
WhoGotFunded’s text mining engines analyze more than two million news stories a day, SEC filings and Twitter for funding news, updating with information every minute. That results in around 100 pieces of funding news a day. As the company adds languages and improves its technology, Digimind expects to add 20,000 companies a year to its database, according to Vivant.
It’s limited though. Initially WhoGotFunded won’t include a search function, as the focus will be on real time alerts. So it’s similar to Mergermarket, if it offered venture funding product (which would be very expensive). A database that lists the fundings of the day will be available, as well as investor profiles.
Based on a quick and very unscientific survey of VCs, most use Crunchbase, AngelList and, if they’re later stage, a paid product. One said he relies most heavily on “moles.” I don’t imagine VCs (or journalists) will abandon their existing tools, or moles, especially while WhoGotFunded lacks a search box. But as a source of funding info that’s global, comprehensive, and immediate, I imagine the site’s alerts, provided they’re accurate and not annoying, will earn their place in my inbox.