Meet the Team: Amanda Glosson

Have you ever wondered who brings all the data and updates to you at CrunchBase? In our new “Meet the Team” blog series, we’re highlighting members of our amazing staff each month. In our inaugural post, you’ll meet Amanda Glosson, a CrunchBase front end engineer, artist and Georgia native with a theory about how adding constraints to projects can lead to better solutions. You can also catch her speaking on this topic July 6th at WaffleJS in San Francisco.

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Tell us about yourself!

I grew up in Grovetown, Georgia (disambiguation: the state, not the country) which is a little town right outside of Augusta. As a kid I was deeply interested in both science and art. When it came time to pick a college after high school I was torn, but ultimately decided to study biomedical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Biomedical engineering ended up being a bad fit for me and after a couple of years I left to regroup. I starting waitressing and also had taught myself HTML and CSS and started making websites on the side. Soon after, a school friend contacted me to ask if I had heard about the new major that had been added at Georgia Tech, which had a mix of visual design and coding. It ended up being a perfect fit for me and I left there with a lot of great experience and solid projects in my portfolio. Since then, I’ve worked on software projects of all shapes and sizes that have moved me upstate New York, LA, and now here.

Tell us about your role at CrunchBase.

I’m part of the front end team here at CrunchBase. Being a front end engineer means that I spend most of my time working in browsers and writing code that browsers understand, but it also means that I am the last line of defense in terms of implementing experiences for our users. I work closely with the rest of the engineering team, but also with our design and product teams to ensure that the features that we’re building are ones that feel great to use. I want to build software that brings our uses joy and also makes them feel powerful at the same time.

You regularly speak at Bay Area JavaScript conferences — tell us about your favorite topics and your upcoming talk at WaffleJS.

In 2014 I spoke at JSFest Oakland about how adding constraints, whether necessary or arbitrary, to a project can create opportunities for creativity and innovation. Many times people think that removing constraints can help them create more interesting things, but I posit that without constraints the task of “imagining the possibilities” can become overwhelming. Constraints help to narrow down the number of possibilities that you have to imagine and help you to define what your problem space is. Once you have a defined problem space, you are then able to focus your attention to how you can creatively leverage the opportunities inside of that space. Given a small enough problem space, all combinations of ideas can be tried and all of the creative solutions can more easily be found.

One my favorite examples of this is Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 3.33.24 PMTheodor Geisel’s (better known as Dr. Seuss) book Green Eggs and Ham. The story was the result of a bet by Geisel’s publisher that he could not write an an entire book with no more than 50 unique words.

Geisel accepted the bet to then write one of the best selling children’s books of all time.

Since researching this topic and giving this talk, I’ve found examples of constraints at every turn and have used them in different ways to improve how I work. I’ll be giving an updated version of this talk at WaffleJS on July 6th.

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What ultimately led to your decision to join CrunchBase?

After meeting the team at CrunchBase, it was clear to me that the people working here are all talented, supportive and open-minded individuals. As an engineer, I want difficult technical problems to solve, and we’ve got those, but it’s also important to me that I work with good people who like what they do and want to learn and grow from one another. Those qualities were apparent to me when I met the team and I was immediately sold.

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not in the office?

When I’m not in the office, I spend my time drawing pixel art, streaming old video games on Twitch with my partner, Frank, and appeasing our cat Tony.

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What is your favorite part about working at CrunchBase?

I think my favorite part about working at CrunchBase is definitely the people. There is a lot of team spirit and support for one another. We do a good job celebrating one another’s wins and taking time out to check in with one another. We all sit down at lunch together to catch up and debate on topical subjects, which can get heated, but if you sit and listen, you’ll hear a lot of you’re-right-I-didn’t-know-thats and I-hadn’t-thought-about-it-that-ways. I love working with a team that listens, learns from, and respects one another.

What are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about building great experiences for the users of CrunchBase but also building great experiences inside of our team for one another.

You’re chair of the CrunchBase Diversity & Inclusion committee — tell us about what you’ll focus on as chairperson and why CrunchBase values having a diverse culture.

As chairperson of the Diversity & Inclusion committee at CrunchBase, I want to focus on enriching our positive company culture with an understanding of the challenges faced, especially in the software industry, by marginalized groups. It’s important that we’re aware of these challenges so we ensure that we don’t become part of the problem, but to also enable us to have a positive effect externally in the community. I want to ensure that our environment is a safe and inclusive one for all people and become a role model for other companies who want to do the same. I truly believe that in both building a great team and building a great product the key ingredient is the same: a diversity of ideas and opinions.

Join Amanda at WaffleJS on Wednesday, July 6th for her talk titled “Thinking Inside the Box” at SOMA StrEat Food Park.

In pixel art, constraints are not compromises but are instead some of the most powerful tools that we can leverage. We’ll take a look at how constraints can help lead us to creative solutions to our next Big Problems.

Check out Amanda!
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Want to be a part of the amazing CrunchBase team? Check out our open jobs here.

Udacity Course: How to Get Your Startup Started featuring Matt Kaufman

Udacity, a leader in online higher education, is offering a free course called “Get Your Startup Started” to teach critical skills for building a foundation for a business. CrunchBase’s very own Head of Operations, Matt Kaufman is featured in the course and you can preview his advice to entrepreneurs now on the Udacity Blog. Check it out and sign up for the course!

 

Introducing new ways to access CrunchBase Data

You asked, we listened. Today, we’re excited to introduce new and easy solutions to access CrunchBase data for your business. In the past year, 8,000+ users have signed-up to explore the data through the Daily Excel Export or REST API.

Integrate CrunchBase into your workflow, perform analysis, and build applications with the raw data. Thousands of companies are already using CrunchBase data to help grow their businesses — We can’t wait for you to get started!

Uncover New Opportunities — Leverage CrunchBase data from Microsoft Excel to track the latest fundings, tap into buy signals, and discover which companies are disrupting their industry.

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Discover Industry Trends — Explore raw CrunchBase data to analyze industry segments and forecast changes that affect your business. Track companies, fundings, leading investors, and exits using the Microsoft Excel export and REST API.

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Build and Distribute Powerful ApplicationsCreate more value for customers by integrating CrunchBase into your web and mobile applications using the REST API.

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Access CrunchBase data for your business!
Click here, to learn more about our data offerings and pricing. 

Kauffman Foundation & CrunchBase Team Up at AEA 2016

Last week at the American Economic Association (AEA) annual meeting in San Francisco, we co-hosted a session with our partners at the Kauffman Foundation. Attendees included academics, research, and business professionals from various institutions.

We shared a presentation focusing on CrunchBase data sources, and several examples of our research initiatives. CrunchBase data is unique, due to our engaged community of users who update company and team profiles. We validate funding data with the venture community through the CrunchBase Venture program. To profile companies who are actively fundraising, we partner with AngelList, EquityNet, AgFunder and others. By actively tracking RSS and Twitter, our team keeps on top of all recent fundings profile in the CrunchBase Daily. All of these programs, over time, build out the connections within the global entrepreneurial community.

Gené Teare, Head of Content at CrunchBase

A component of the session were lightning presentations from academics leveraging CrunchBase data.

Sandy Yu, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, studied the efficacy of accelerator programs. One of her key findings is that accelerators help resolve uncertainty around the quality of an idea through frequent mentor feedback. In other words, founders learn quickly if an idea is viable, and if not, they fail faster, rather than investing more time and money.

Sandy Yu, Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley

Andy Wu, a PHD candidate from the University of Pennsylvania, researched group decision making within venture firms. He contrasted this with individual investment decisions by influential VCs. His findings determined that making decisions as a group did not improve outcomes.

J-F Gauthier, CFO at Compass, the creators of the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking, discussed tracking the growth of core ecosystems around the globe through survey analysis, interviews, and augmenting the survey data with the CrunchBase dataset. The ecosystems with the most growth in VC were Berlin (12x), Bangalore (4x), Boston (3.7x), Amsterdam (2x), and Seattle (2x) according to the report.

J-F Gauthier, CFO at Compass

Within the last year, over 1,000 Academics and postgraduate students have accessed the CrunchBase API for research initiatives.

If you’re an undergraduate student or bootcamp, you can request the 2013 Data Snapshot. Postgraduate students and academics can request access to the CrunchBase API. Please visit data.crunchbase.com for more information.

Let’s Face It, 2015 Was A Pretty Lousy Year For Unicorns

Let’s Face It, 2015 Was A Pretty Lousy Year For Unicorns

This feature was originally published by TechCrunch.

It’s been a pretty awful year to be a unicorn in 2015.

Box and Square went public this year at significantly less than their last private valuation, Box at a 30 percent discount and Square at a 40 percent discount.

Meanwhile, Gilt Groupe, a New York-based online shopping destination for designer clothing, is in talks to be bought for $250 million. That’s less than the $268 million it has raised from investors and an even further cry from the $1.1 billion valuation it was assigned in August 2014.

Altogether, just five companies with billion-dollar-plus valuations have gone public this year. They include Box (in January), Shopify (May), Pure Storage (October), Square (November), and Atlassian (December) as seen here on the CrunchBase Unicorn Leaderboard.

That’s a small number, compared with the 156 companies globally that are privately valued at above $1 billion, according to CrunchBase. In comparison, CrunchBase tracked 88 private unicorns this time a year ago.

There wasn’t much in the way of major M&A activity either. Just four unicorns were acquired during 2015, and two were acquired at significantly less than their last private valuation: Fab, which sold for the fire-sale price of at $12 million, and Good Technology,  which sold for 65 percent less than its last private valuation of $425 million.

Two that did better were Zulily, which had gone public in 2013 with a valuation of around $2.6 billion and was acquired this year by QVC for roughly the same amount, and Lynda, which sold to LinkedIn  for $1.5 billion — or  26 percent more its venture investors had valued it.

Part of the problem is that some of these companies genuinely aren’t ready. Then there’s also the much discussed argument that Silicon Valley companies are reacting to a deep-seated antipathy for going public following the dot-com burst of 2000, followed by the financial crisis of 2008.

Whether true or not, the rationale for some companies today is that it’s better to raise more money in the private market rather than in the public markets — and in some cases, much more.

Uber has raised $6.3 billion and Airbnb $3.5 billion in the last two years. In fact, the average private raise for a unicorn is more than $500 million, and the median is $275 million. The five unicorn companies that went public this year collectively raised just over $1.4 billion.

Large sums of money doesn’t necessarily mean froth; it can mean large opportunities.

Still, large sums of money doesn’t necessarily mean froth; it can mean large opportunities.

When VCs invest $800 million in Magic Leap, it’s because they believe it could be worth $8 billion at some point. When investors poured $3.3 billion into Uber, as they did over the course this year, at a $50 billion valuation, they were undoubtedly thinking that Uber will become a $150 billion-plus exit opportunity.

For investors, finding and funding those high-growth companies is critical to their success, and they’re everywhere, increasingly. North America is home to the most unicorns, including one company, Kik, in Canada. Meanwhile, 28 unicorns are based in China; 15 in Europe; 6 in India; and South East Asia, Korea and Israel each feature 2 unicorns of their own.

Collectively, the 156 private companies with unicorn club status represent $528 billion in total private valuation and have raised north of $81 billion in aggregate, according to the CrunchBase Leaderboard.

More look to be joining the club soon, too. On the emerging list, CrunchBase is tracking a further 39 companies that are valued between $500 million and $1 billion.

Bill Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark, stressed earlier this year that the late-stage financing of companies is a very different financing event from a public offering, where the scrutiny and focus on profitability of a company can be intense.

As he wrote in his blog, Above the Crowd, “As these late-stage private companies digest these large fund raises, they are pushing profitability further and further into the future, as well as the proof that their business model actually works.”

Gurley argued that: “Lost in this conversation are the dramatic differences between a high priced private round and an IPO.”

Yet therein lies the opportunity that investors are chasing. The notion of a bubble or bust is simply too generic. Some companies will flame out. Some companies will be billion dollar exits. And some will be a successes on a scale that we’re only now beginning to understand is possible.

CrunchBase Launches News, Timeline, & Alerts!

We shared some exciting news with you last week about the future of CrunchBase. Today, we are proud to announce another milestone — the launch of a brand new CrunchBase, customized for you!

We listened to your feedback and have built a great new feature set to enhance your experience on CrunchBase. What’s new?

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Our growing community of contributors have helped us make CrunchBase what it is today — the leading platform to discover innovative companies and people behind them.
We value your input, and would love to hear what other features you’d like to see. Send us an email at feedback@crunchbase.com and tell us what you think.

Experience the New CrunchBase!

CrunchBase Spins Out of Aol — Emergence Capital Leads Series A Investment

We have some exciting news to share. Today, CrunchBase is entering its next phase of growth and spinning out of AOL to become a standalone company.  As you may have seen in the press, CrunchBase will now become a venture-backed company, like the many companies it profiles on its site.  Emergence Capital, one of the top cloud venture capital firms, is leading an investment round in CrunchBase to help fund its expansion.

We started in 2007 as a homegrown project with humble beginnings in indexing startups featured in TechCrunch articles. With the help of TechCrunch and AOL, we amassed an audience that took a life of its own. Eight years later, we find ourselves today at the center of the startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving the twenty million people a year that depend on us.

CrunchBase is what it is today because of its community. As Yelp has done for helping you choose where to eat, and Wikipedia has done for helping you research anything, we have come together as a community of contributors to change the way information about companies is gathered, shared, and understood. None of this would have been possible without people like you who are giving back to this community every day.

This type of community is extremely hard to build, and we know this is something special. That’s why we’re committed to preserving the openness and accessibility of the CrunchBase that you know and love.

Looking ahead, we can’t wait to share with you the exciting things we’re building, and we would love to get your input about what you would like to see.

Personally, I am so proud and privileged to join this effort. In my eleven years of building product at Salesforce, I witnessed the rise of a company that fundamentally changed the way people thought about accessing software.  Today, I’m excited to join an organization that is reinventing the way people find and leverage company data, and I’m thrilled to be working with Matt Kaufman and the outstanding team at CrunchBase.

In closing, thank you for being part of our community and helping to build CrunchBase to where it is today. I’m incredibly excited that you’re with us on this next step in our journey.

— Jager McConnell, CEO, CrunchBase

Infographic: Female Founders On An Upward Trend

Earlier this year, CrunchBase began a comprehensive study of Female Startup Founders by expanding our dataset to include gender. To date, we have published two reports — the first found that the percentage of female founders among funded startups nearly doubled in 2014, while the second feature focused on educational backgrounds. The third study, launched in April 2016, looks at women in venture capital and their impact on female founders.

Given the broad interest from the community, we’ve created an easy to share infographic that clearly and effectively presents the data through visualization.

At CrunchBase, we recognize the importance of diversity and bringing transparency to the startup ecosystem. If you’d like to contribute to future studies, please reach out to @geneteare. Stay tuned!

CrunchBase Study 2015

 

Thank You CrunchBase Community

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Last week we reached a Twitter milestone — 100,000 followers!

We want to take this opportunity to thank our growing community whose ongoing contributions and feedback have made CrunchBase the leading source of information about startups. Today the CrunchBase Daily has 275,000 subscribers and more than 2 million people visit the CrunchBase website each month.

With your help we’ve been able to update and expand the CrunchBase Dataset faster than ever.  Tens of thousands of profiles are updated each week.  Our mission is to accelerate innovation by bringing together data on companies and the people behind them. We couldn’t do it without your support, so thank you!

-The CrunchBase Team

Startup Calendar for August 25th

                    
Featured events this week:

Other events:

Read the weekly newsletter for more.

As well as ten accelerator programs:

Read the weekly newsletter for more.

To take part in this program as an organization that hosts startup events, visit the Startup Calendar page for guidelines and send us an email at events@crunchbase.com. We look forward to hearing from you!