The bulk of well-established research firms still produce physical reports as if paper were the latest craze, requiring those that subscribe to their expensive services to sift through the data or enlist an analyst’s help for an added fee.

Not so with Venture Scanner, which aims to provide an “Analyst as a Service” platform that mixes data from a variety of trusted sources (AngelList, CrunchBase, etc.) with an expert analyst focused on an emerging sector of the tech industry, such as Bitcoin, Internet of Things, 3D printing, and more. Each sector is split up into relevant categories, and analysts spend time tracking and reporting on the health/progress of each individual startup as well as the overall sector. Having spent some time exploring Venture Scanner, I can say with certainty that it’s a lot easier to navigate through than a 100-page PDF file.

And today, the service is rolling out an update featuring a new rating system for tracking the health of individual startups in relation to how they stand up against competitors in each category. So, for instance, a particular Bitcoin startup may get a high rating within the category of “Bitcoin exchange” but a medium rating under the “Bitcoin banking services” category.

A screenshot of the new Analyst Pulse and Data Pulse ratings that indicate the health of a particular startup within each tech sector category.

Above: A screenshot of the new Analyst Pulse and Data Pulse ratings that indicate the health of a particular startup within each tech sector category.

Image Credit: Venture Scanner

There are two separate ratings for the health of a startup: A data rating (called the Data Pulse) compares the company to similar startups purely based on available stats. An analyst rating (called the Analyst Pulse) is issued by a Venture Scanner analyst. The goal, according to founder Nader Ghaffari, is to provide an easy way for businesses to get a sense of an entire sector of a tech industry at a glance, while providing additional context from a real person to tell a complete story.

Venture Scanner’s aim is to be more efficient than the traditional analyst firms by cutting out the need to draw conclusions after hours of poring over bland PDF reports, charts, and graphs that require context to interpret. “We’re finding that people really want to get a sense of how companies in these different sectors compare to one another. How are they better, what are they lacking, and how to make a better decision when attempting to forge a partnership,” Ghaffari said in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat.

The new ratings help with this by pushing the highest rated companies to the top. Not every company has an analyst rating, but all have a data rating. But as this is still very much a service that relies on analysts, paying subscribers can request more granular reporting details based on individual needs.

It’s likely this service will cost far less than traditional research firms like Forrester and Gartner. Venture Scanner requires a $100 per month (or $200 for marketing automation) for the base subscription for access to the platform, while pricing customized requests individually for companies needing help navigating the emerging sectors for insights and opportunities. A comparable service from Gartner can cost much more.

Since launching Venture Scanner in February, Ghaffari said the service has more than doubled the number of analyst reports on individual startups from 2,500 to over 5,000 across nine separate emerging sectors of the tech industry. He declined to share information about the number of paid subscribers the service is getting.

The company offers a free 30-day trial, which provides full access to analyst insights and deeper dives into the growth of each tech sector. You can still get access to some basic reporting on each sector as a non-paying member, such as how much funding startups in a particular tech sector have collectively raised.