User Stories

Crunchbase is building the business graph

April 23, 2014

Crunchbase, the popular database database of technology companies, people, and investors that anyone can edit, is launching its 2.0 version. Crunchbase is now positioning itself as the business graph. What does it mean?

Many people in the startup world are familiar with Crunchbase. Its website works has a crowd-sourced database for tech companies and their ecosystem. Since its launch, the AOL-owned website has been a powerful tool to follow market trends, identify potential investments or assess the credibility of people. The revamped UI of Crunchbase 2.0 looks nice but the more interesting news about the new version is the fact that Crunchbase is now joining the ranks of the betting on graph.

Moving forward, Crunchbase will be using Neo4j, graph database on its backend. This will impact Crunchbase users directly in a few ways :

  • better sync of the data : individual entries (people, companies, etc.) will now be connected and dynamically updated as information is added ;
  • easier integration of new data sources : the graph structure enables Crunchbase to easily connect new data sources to existing entities. Crowd-sourced campaigns data could soon be added to the database fro example ;

Just like Facebook has made a huge bet on graph technologies, Crunchbase is betting that using a graph database will be the path to scale-up its database. Right now the new Crunchbase has the same data as the old one but this could change soon. Using the Neo4j graph database though, Crunchbase hopes to become a data platform linking familiar business entities (companies and people) to an extensive ecosystem of data sources.

It is hard to predict what new services will be enabled by this approach but it will bring Crunchbase in direct competition with Linkedin.

Facebook is the company the most commonly associated with graphs. Part of its vision it to build a social graph graph that links together people, places, events and things. A little less know is the Economic Graph that Linkedin is building. According to Jeff Weiner, the CEO of Linkedin :

« Our ultimate dream is to develop the world’s first economic graph. In other words, we want to digitally map the global economy, identifying the connections between people, jobs, skills, companies, and professional knowledge — and spot in real-time the trends pointing to economic opportunities. It’s a big vision, but we believe we’re in a unique position to make it happen. »

The implications are massive. In a fully digitalized economic graph, all forms of capital (working capital, intellectual capital, and human capital) could be better allocated. More jobs being filled by better candidates, people finding more meaningful careers, investment opportunities better captured, etc.

For those who are curious to understand the business graph of Crunchbase, I recommend this tutorial by Max de Marzi. It show how to use Crunchbase API to populate a Neo4j database and then visualize it!

It is exciting to see more and more companies switching to graph technologies to provide new services. At Linkurious we simply hope to be a part of it by helping more people visualize and understand graph data.

Subscribe to our newsletter

A spotlight on graph technology directly in your inbox.