The initial idea with HyveUp was to build a directory of Web 2.0 startups where the search behavior would be video-centered. Very quickly, I understood all the challenges of creating such a database. The most obvious conclusion I drew was that only a central actor in the Web 2.0 industry could successfully manage such a project. Building such a directory requires being informed about the latest company creations, project failures, bring qualitative information, know the people behind the companies, the venture firms, traffic information, companies’ locations and contact info, and so on. Let me tell you, this is not a one man job.
Recently, I started using the Crunchbase widget for my posts. This widget is coherent with my content as I review startups in a somehow similar way that traditional tech blogs do. Therefore, I need to provide readers with in-depth info of the companies I cover.
Techcrunch is the unbeatable provider of Web 2.0 news. They do not cover the entire 2.0 scene on the blog the way Kristen Nicole does on Mashable, but I have no doubt that anything that needs to be known about Bubble 2.0 goes through their editors’ inbox. In a few words, Techcrunch is the epicenter of all things Web 2.0. From that perspective, I judge Techcrunch to be the fittest to handle a quality directory of Web 2.0 startups.
The Crunchbase has a clean-cut design, with internal company information in the left sidebar, including a link to the company’s LinkedIn profile, and external info in the right sidebar (Techmeme‘s related posts, Techcrunch’s related posts and recent incoming links, i.e. posts where the widget was pasted). The Crunchbase is built on a wiki platform: Visitors can easily edit the information presented and add new startups. Gate keepers (or site moderators, most of them interns) need to approve the changes suggested to make them effective. This helps fight spam and keep the content in sync with reality. On the downside, it seems like it may take a while before moderators review your contribution.
The juicy thing about the Crunchbase is the widget that site editors can grab and paste in their posts. This widget is almost like a seal of authenticity: Its presence doesn’t mean that what is written above or below it is true, but it helps publishers provide information that is right. For example, if I fail to make an accurate description of a company I am reviewing, the reader can always be thankful that I have posted a direct link to a trustworthy source of information about the topic he was searching. In other words, the widget adds value to my posts.
Fortunately, the Crunchbase is not alone in this arena of compiling all the Web 2.0 startups in one place. I will start by Buzzshout, a Website that is no longer maintained by its owner, but that I really liked when it was still active. Buzzshout is a user-generated directory of Web 2.0 startups where visitors also rank the tools they like. Despite the clean-looking interface, and the catchy name, the owner of the site dropped the project to go work for Scribd (who wouldn’t?).
More serious competitors include Dealipedia: Dealipedia covers deals from all industries (not specific to the Web industry). Compared to the Crunchbase, Dealipedia offers weekly wrap-ups, an extensive collection of transactions, reporting views of M&A, Investment, IPO, weekly deal count and it tells you who actually makes money on the deals (something I’m sure the Founder of Techcrunch would love to mention too). Because of its lack of focus on tech deals, Dealipedia doesn’t directly compete with the Crunchbase.
Crunchbase’s most direct and aggressive competitor to the Crunchbase is TradeVibes. Duncan Riley gives an in-depth comparison between the two directories in this post. Duncan Riley brings out good points, but to my opinion, TradeVibes is attractive because it creates a playful environment around the life of Web 2.0 startups. In Tradevibes, you can play startup battle: Choose between two similar startups which one will eat the other up. Users get access to discussions threads, they can give their opinion on a startup (bullish or bearish, they can vote, they can win gifts if they invite friends to join, and they offer site publishers to grab and paste widgets of the companies they cover.
TradeVibes was founded by 4 Pay-Palers. According to Compete, they generate about 25K uniques a month. Their business strategy is definitely more user-generated oriented. So far, to determine who will succeed in this game, it is mostly a question of belief: user-generated or editor-moderated? What is the winning solution? There isn’t any proven model for this kind of activity. The Crunchbase attracts more visitors though, over 300K/months. However, it isn’t clear if widget views are included in the maths. If this is the case, than the two directories are probably even.