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“VentureRadar search engine is an invaluable tool”: The startup increasing visibility for the world’s largest corporations – Interview

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With over 3.4 billion users the internet can be a noisy place. Alongside the prodigious amount of content produced by social media users, businesses must strive to rise above the constant internet chatter to grab the attention of users. On the other hand, users must sift through a large amount of content online in order to find what they are after.

Andrew Thomson
Andrew Thomson

Fortunately, certain startups are working hard to streamline the internet to help to increase visibility, allowing the right people to find what they need. VentureRadar is an expert in this space, as the London-based startup discovers and ranks companies, making them visible to potential partners, customers, and investors. To get a better understanding of how they are advancing the visibility of some of the world’s largest corporations, we spoke with Andrew Thomson, the founder of VentureRadar.

Can you briefly explain how the VentureRadar Search Engine works?

VentureRadar crawls more than 5 million websites per month to discover new companies and track the progress of already known companies. We process this information using big data analytics, proprietary algorithms, machine learning and expert human interpretation.

Our search engine and custom search services are both underpinned by this system. (1) Our search engine uses this system to pro-actively discover, rank and track companies in popular innovation and technology domains. (2) For custom search projects, our analysts ‘tune’ this system so it can be used to rapidly screen and identify large volumes of potential candidates in clients’ specific areas of interest.

With more than 55,000 registered users, the VentureRadar search engine is an invaluable tool for business professionals to discover, track and research companies globally.

Following on from the above, how does VentureRadar improve companies’ visibility to potential partners, customers, and investors?

Our proprietary data, algorithms and tools allow users to discover, track and research companies in a range of ways, using: Advanced Search, Similar Companies Lists, Email Alerts, Export of Search Results, Following Companies, Company Rankings, and Company Profiles.

VentureRadar supports business professionals across a range of industries, helping them to discover, track and research companies globally. The most common use cases are:

Innovation and R&D Managers – Locate companies with specific skills, innovations or technology that can help you achieve your own innovation and R&D goals.

Recruiters – Locate growing companies in specific markets and technology areas, uncovering companies with skilled employees or in need of skilled employees.

Events Professionals – Identify the leading companies relevant for your event themes and ensure your events have the highest quality speakers, exhibitors, and attendees.

Business Development – Business Development and M&A teams can discover and track emerging or established companies in strategically important areas.

Investors – Discover and track potential investment opportunities and keep a pulse on the market.

Startups & SMEs – Ensure you have a profile on VentureRadar to be seen by potential customers, partners, investors, and keep track of other emerging companies in your market.

Can you give an example of a company or case study that has really benefited from VentureRadar?

Clients we’ve worked with include Cisco and Veolia among others. Confidentiality is often an important aspect of our work, so the following examples do not include client names:

(a) Example of a (technical) custom search project

A manufacturer of ultrasound-based treatment devices used in cosmetic procedures had begun receiving complaints from more than 20% of the clinics using its devices. The issue had been narrowed down to the transducer component in the devices, however, the client required further technical assistance to identify the exact problem with this component and how to solve it. VentureRadar undertook a custom search to locate the leading experts and technologies globally, which were then contacted to find out which had a potential solution. Not only did the client find this pro-active approach to be much more efficient than previous methods they had used (they previously used internal experts) but they estimated the value of this work to them (less than 6 months later) to be more than $10m.

(b) Example of a Start-up competition custom search project

A global investment bank decided it wanted to engage with start-ups in emerging innovation areas, with a view to partnering with the best. To do this they ran a global competition. VentureRadar supported them by pro-actively finding 100s of start-ups relevant to their key areas of interest which could be contacted, and would supplement the start-ups that would apply after seeing publicity for the competition. More than half the eventual finalists of the competition resulted from leads that VentureRadar provided.

Who do you consider to be your main competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

There are a range of startup-focused database products that exist. However we go beyond just the latest hot start-ups, and also cover any types of companies with interesting skills, technology or innovations that might be of interest to our clients. For example, helping a client discover a small consulting company with a unique skillset could be of enormous value to them in solving an internal challenge.

In addition, we allow clients to leverage our expertise and technology through custom search projects, where we can work alongside them to enhance their internal processes that involve discovering and tracking companies. They can simply come to us with a problem they are having or an emerging market they don’t understand, and we will discover, profile and rate the best companies from across the globe that they need to engage with.

What was the main motivator to solve this problem, for example, did it arise from a personal experience or something you recognized others having issues with?

The requirement for find companies as partners, investees, competitors, etc. has always existing, however in the past few years two changes have taken place that have opened up the market for companies like VentureRadar:

A – There are more innovative companies being formed: We live in a World of widely distributed knowledge and resources; small teams and even individuals are empowered to have the impact once available only to large corporations and governments. This creates a high-flux environment in which new technologies and disruptive business models can appear anywhere, and expand rapidly. Traditional approaches to finding business partners, etc. are now too inefficient to keep up with this high-flux environment.

B – New technologies (Big Data, AI, web crawling, etc.) have emerged that allow data to be harvested and made sense of on a large scale and in an automated fashion. This has allowed VentureRadar to develop a system for efficiently discovering and tracking companies at a scale and speed that has traditionally not been possible, and allowing us to develop a modern approach to company discovery.

What is the main focus for VentureRadar over the next 6 months?

We will scale up our team working on custom search projects in order to deliver on new contracts we have signed for 2019, whilst also adding new features to our online search engine. The search engine improvements are always focused on making the process of discovering companies easier. For example we will soon release an update to our ‘Similar Companies’ algorithm which allows users to easily create lists of companies that are just like ones they already know are of interest to them.

Disclosure: This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company

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Sam Brake Guia
Sam is an energetic and passionate writer/blogger, always looking for the next adventure. In August 2016 he donated all of his possessions to charity, quit his job, and left the UK. Since then he has been on the road travelling through North, Central and South America searching for new adventures and amazing stories.