The new site is built on data and software from Spoke as well as the previous VentureBeat Profiles product, which VentureBeat has operated for several years.
“We’ve been working on a collaboration with VentureBeat for a year and a half now,” said Philippe Cases, the president and chief executive of Spoke Software. Today at VentureBeat’s CloudBeat 2013 conference, the two companies unveiled the fruits of the collaboration so far. (Note: Cases is also an investor and board member for VentureBeat.)
With the new VB Profiles, you can enter simple searches by keyword (IaaS, for instance) or company name (Cloudscaling) and get a list of matching records from the database: companies, significant executives, or in some cases products. Each match has a corresponding profile card, which shows basic data about the company or person along with links to recent news articles from a variety of sources.
The basic data on each company is available without needing to sign up, but if you create an account and log in, you can “follow” companies and add them to collections of related topics.
In an onstage demo, VentureBeat CEO, editor-in-chief, and founder Matt Marshall added Cloudscaling, its CEO Randy Bias, Eucalyptus founder Marten Mikos, and Red Hat to an “IaaS” list. After doing that, the VB Profiles home page displayed relevant news in a single “river” of information about all the companies and lists he’s following. VB Profiles also let him zero in on the IaaS list to see only the news relevant to that group of companies and people.
Comparisons with Crunchbase, which is run by VentureBeat competitor TechCrunch, seem obvious. Crunchbase recently announced that it has compiled 400,000 separate company profiles, including data about 45,000 separate funding rounds. It also recently launched a new mobile site.
“Crunchbase has done a great job since 2006 to gather information about funding of startups,” said Cases. “Our mission is to focus on bringing you industry news on the industries you care about and to bring it all to you in less than 10 minutes.
“While Crunchbase is about crowdsourcing funding data, we are all about curating and getting you the right information that you need.”
The goal of VB Profiles is to give you an easily digestible “dashboard” of information about the industries you care about. In contrast to following hundreds of RSS feeds or using Google Alerts, its aim is to provide a more automated, curated, and distilled list of just the news that matters.
“In order to get what we are doing with Google Alerts, you would need to set up 200-300 alerts and spend several hours to extract 10 to 15 of the most relevant links,” Cases said. “We do all that for you automatically.”
Marshall added that VB Profiles will be tightly linked with news stories generated by VentureBeat’s team of journalists.
“If you’re reading a story on VentureBeat, at the bottom we’re going to have a card that shows you a lot more information about the companies we’ve cited in the piece, and that’ll point you to the database for more information,” Marshall said.
Conversely, that news story will also be added to the VB Profiles profiles for the companies mentioned — and VentureBeat writers will be able to update the database in real time as they are writing an article.
“We’ve built a very deep integration between the companies,” Cases added.
For now, the service is free. Eventually, VB Profiles will offer a for-fee subscription service that will offer managed lists on specific industries you may be interested in: Rather than manually following companies and building lists yourself, you’ll be able to let VB Profiles manage the list, curate it, add new companies as they emerge, and so on.
VB Profiles will also offer customized competitive intelligence reports as part of the subscription service.