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Seed-DB in the Economist!, new feature launches, 2014 plans, and more

Happy New Year!  In light of the Economist article this week that featured Seed-DB data, I’ve got a whole bunch of new features to share that just launched, some benchmarks on Seed-DB data, and plans for 2014.

Economist article

This week’s issue of the Economist features a special report on “Tech Startups”, and I’m happy to say that it used Seed-DB data in a chart to show a sample of result data from accelerators.  It also cited Seed-DB data (and even mentioned my name) on the financial summary of the accelerator ecosystem in the section titled “Getting up to speed.”

2013 Achievements

Over 3100 companies and over 180 seed accelerators are now tracked on Seed-DB.  They’ve raised funding of over $3.2billion and have created well over 11,000 jobs.  About 25% of accelerators have administrative access to add companies and modify their pages themselves.  (I’m hoping to increase this significantly in 2014.)

New Features on Seed-DB:

  • Top Investors League Table: Identify the top investors in companies that come from seed accelerators by the number of companies they’ve funded, the number of individual funding rounds they’ve participated in, or the number of different accelerators from which they’ve funded graduates.  Top 12 of each list are shown on the investor graph page.

  • Administered entries:  Accelerators that manage their own page on Seed-DB now show up with a yellow dot on the list of all accelerators.  The name of their page administrator(s) are shown on the accelerator’s page.

  • Tables of funding, exits:  I’ve long had a feature to list startups that have raised a particular amount of money (or more), and a feature to list all companies that have exited.  These are now more clearly presented in the new “Tables” menu.  If you want to see companies that have raised more than a particular amount of money, just start from the list of companies that have raised >$1million, and replace the number in the URL with the value you want.

  • Clarified how individual funding rounds are displayed on each company’s page

  • Seed-DB should be running faster!  I’ve improved data caching on the site, and made some performance tweaks

  • Improved the menu structure on the site to make it easier to understand/navigate

  • Investor data is improved, and should stay fresher over time.

  • You can help pay for Seed-DB running costs by donating bitcoin.  (None of this will go to Jed; it will go solely to paying server bills and other incidental costs of running the site.)

  • The development roadmap has been updated

  • Progress charts.  I’m now collecting daily summaries of the data on Seed-DB.  Once I’ve built up a little more history I’ll be displaying how Seed-DB is constantly increasing the number of companies, the number of accelerators, and the amount of funding tracked

Benchmarking data

A lot of people ask me question along the lines of “how accurate is this data”?  The answer is two-fold, since there are two primary sources of data.

The first data source is what companies have graduated from what accelerators.  This data is very complete for the larger accelerators, less so for newer accelerators.  I continue to work to make this as complete as possible, but some accelerators go out of their way to make it difficult to find out what companies they’ve funded.  (And some accelerators make it difficult for me to determine if they qualify as an accelerator.)  In general, this information may be incomplete in places, but it is rarely incorrect.

The second primary data source is on funding.  This comes exclusively from Crunchbase.  Some companies have not listed their funding on Crunchbase, and this is the primary reason why Seed-DB funding data is lower than what some programs advertise.  Reasons for not listing data range from strategically staying quiet about resources, to not caring much about what’s shown on Crunchbase.  Per Paul Graham’s tweet this week, we can calculate that Seed-DB captures ($1.748bn / $2.09bn) = 84% of the total YC company funding.  I’ve been informally told that TechStars has a similar factor.  Again, the data is as complete and accurate as the individual companies make it.

2014 goals
I have a few key goals for Seed-DB in 2014, and would welcome your feedback and suggestions on more ways I can develop the site. Here are my plans/goals:

  • Increase ability and frequency of accelerators to manage their own pages on Seed-DB

  • Completely refresh the look-and-feel of the site

  • Integrate more statistics for analysis, such as the markets for each startup from their Angellist entries

  • Make upkeep of Seed-DB less manual and more sustainable

Final note

On a personal note, I’m looking forward to focusing a bit more time on Seed-DB in 2014.  For those of you that don’t know, it’s just a side project of mine… my day job is at Google in London.  Last year was tough for me to spend much as much time on Seed-DB as I wanted; my daughter started walking and going to day care, my family moved to a different home, and my day job was absolutely crazy.  (I’m currently hiring three people for my team!)

 Someday I still plan to write the story about how I taught myself Python/App Engine, built Seed-DB, became a father, and launched a bunch of interesting new features all in a ~nine month period.  That’s a good one…