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Success Story Podcast

Jager McConnell – CEO of Crunchbase | Innovation and Adaptability at Crunchbase

By January 7, 2023January 27th, 2023No Comments

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About The Guest

Jager McConnell is the CEO of Crunchbase, a leading platform for discovering and connecting with the companies, people, and resources driving innovation. He has a proven track record of building and scaling high-growth technology businesses, with over 20 years of experience in the tech industry.

Jager McConnell is the CEO of Crunchbase, the leading platform used by millions of entrepreneurs and investors looking to discover innovative companies and the people behind them. Jager joined Crunchbase after it spun out from AOL, a move that was announced at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2015.

Prior to joining Crunchbase, Jager spent 11 years at Salesforce in various roles across sales, marketing, and product development. In his last role at Salesforce, Jager was VP of Product in the Sales Cloud, where he oversaw the core salesforce automation product line.

Under Jager’s leadership, Crunchbase has continued to grow and expand, with a strong focus on data quality and customer success. He is dedicated to helping startups and enterprises alike discover the most innovative and promising businesses and technologies in the market.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 — Intro
  • 01:32 — Jager McConnell’s origin story
  • 03:10 — Creativity’s role in Jager’s career
  • 04:01 — Some startups Jager was involved in
  • 07:01 — The reality of working in a startup
  • 08:34 — Where did Jager have the biggest growth in his life?
  • 11:34 — What is Jager doing at Crunchbase now?
  • 16:55 — Building up the business model for Crunchbase
  • 19:35 — Getting your first hundred customers
  • 21:26 — Was the data at Crunchbase valuable enough for people to pay for at the beginning?
  • 29:00 — Becoming the platform everyone wants to be represented on
  • 35:13 — Keeping your data protected
  • 38:24 — Choosing a business model around partnerships
  • 41:22 — How to choose what to focus on next?
  • 44:15 — Building a feedback loop
  • 47:01 — Not believing in growth at all costs and building Crunchbase with that mindset?
  • 50:40 — How does Jager McConnell manage investor expectations?
  • 51:32 — Using your platform for good
  • 57:31 — Where does Jager want to see Crunchbase in the future?
  • 59:54 — Can a company that is a front-end system have no data in the back-end system?
  • 1:01:24 — Jager’s advice for success

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

data, people, company, build, salesforce, prospecting, founders, startup, investors, software, product, big, user, business, hubspot, techcrunch, funding, revenue, sell, raise

SPEAKERS

Scott D Clary, Jager McConnell

 

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Scott D Clary  00:30

Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott Clary. This success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network, which has other amazing podcasts like entrepreneurs on fire hosted by John Lee Dumas entrepreneurs on fire Stokes inspiration and share strategies to fire up your entrepreneurial journey and create the life you’ve always dreamed of. Check out some of the recent episodes, a tools of improve comedy that you can use and work in life, how to turn your Instagram into a money making machine. How to build a seven figure side hustle without quitting your full time day job and overcoming the beast of depression as an entrepreneurial leader. If these topics are interesting for you, you definitely have to check that entrepreneurs on fire wherever you download your podcast. Today, my guest is Jagger McConnell, CEO of CrunchBase CrunchBase is a prospecting platform powered by best in class proprietary data. Jaeger joined CrunchBase in 2015, following the company’s venture back spin out from AOL Verizon. Prior to joining CrunchBase, Jagger spent 11 years in various roles across sales, marketing and product development at Salesforce, ending his time at the company overseeing the core salesforce automation product line as VP of product in the Sales Cloud. We spoke about Jagger’s career and lessons learned from early stage startups who worked at CrunchBase his business model, including its marketplace data, and machine learning capabilities, fundraising growing at all costs, data and the severe lack of investment in underrepresented classes.

 

Jager McConnell  02:04

That’s there’s a lot of good answers that I have for that. You know, I wasn’t sure when I was a kid, if I wanted to do film, or if I wanted to do tech, I was a nerd. I like love video games, I loved being in front of a computer more than probably interacting with humans. So I love that aspect of it, but didn’t quite know my path would be I just knew I love tech and was involved with tech. And then I was very into film. I wanted to make film, I wanted to write films, I had this whole passion around art. So and so I tried to ride that train as long as I possibly could where I was no cut noncommittal, all the way to college. So I went to Carnegie Mellon University. And the reason I picked it was that I had a strong arts program and strong engineering program. So I was still punting on a decision. But it was actually nothing to do with school that that that pushed me down the right path. When it came time to for summer, and I had to go have a summer job. There wasn’t anything for film. But there was plenty for tech. So I did a little gig at Bayer Corporation, like the people that like make aspirin. They’ve got a whole like crazy chemical division. And somehow I got an internship there. That got me doing computer stuff. Came up with a business idea and off to the races in tech and have a look back and, and even to this day, I think about retirement. And I’m like, Well, when I retire. That’s what I make the films now I go back and do the art. Hopefully I can sell fun my film career in the future.

 

Scott D Clary  03:37

Do you ever do you think he ever would? Do you think that will actually, I’ll ask you if you think he ever would. But do you think that creativity helped your career like that love for creativity and arts

 

Jager McConnell  03:47

1,000,000% The only skills I have in life are looking at problems and coming up with creative solutions to those problems. That’s the only thing I can do. So that has translated into pretty exciting tech career. Because a lot of it’s so programmatic a lot of time so where people don’t like look at the pieces and say, well, there’s another way of doing this. There’s an interesting aspect of this I had thought of and that’s my that’s my sweet spot where people say these are the pieces that we have, what can we do with them? That’s That’s my strength. And I think that comes right back to I’ve got this film idea, and how do I go and build a plot and something that was interesting for the whole whole thing. There definitely are inter intertwined.

 

Scott D Clary  04:31

And I guess that’s the sort of now now you’re starting to problem solve in startups. That was your after, after Bayer. You started to get involved with some startups and walk me through some of that experience. Obviously, I don’t know any the names of those startups. So it wasn’t like that positive. But

 

Jager McConnell  04:47

yeah, I mean, there were very small, and probably like the most notable there was a company called beta sphere, that not around anymore, and it was beta testing software and services. So if you were like Cisco, and you wanted to go into As the new router, we would find for you, the beta testers to try it out, and then give you feedback. So it’s like this very early, like lean startup, maybe approach to building products and like getting feedback early into your product development cycle. So it’s not a terrible idea. And I started off there as like a project manager, it was pretty small. And I was excited, because that brought me to Silicon Valley. So I was like, this is back in 2000. So I probably none of your listeners are alive yet. But back in 2000, we there was a there was a tech community there. And it was an exciting time to be a part of it. And it was right at the end of a big bubble. And it’s actually a lot of people compare the current bubble crashing thing that’s happening right now to 2000. When when there was a big crash, as well, we’re like, Netscape had trouble pets.com When our business like, all these things started happening. And for me, at the time, I was so scared of losing the job where I just worked my ass off, there was no way I was gonna get laid off with a crash, and it was happening. So I just worked insane hours nonstop, and always was looking for how can I add more value into this company? And how can I tie myself to revenue as far as far as as fast as I could. So when I joined, it was about, I don’t know, 15 people, it went up to about 200 250 people over about six months. So that was an amazing experience. We like went into a gigantic new office, it was like, wow, this is I picked the right horse. And then like six months later, layoffs started happening. And over the next four years, I still stay at this company, it was seven rounds of layoffs, I saw the company go from 250 people all the way back down to 15. People Wow. And it was, it was very big. And it was flattering because I didn’t get laid off. So that was nice. So I did a good job of adding value and convincing people I was valuable. But what also was helpful for my career was I saw an opportunity to pick up every single responsibility that got dropped as people left. So I took over the sales engineering team because I I’m this I know the product, I can do this, I still started having more more impact on product on engineering. So by the end, I was a pretty critical player in that company. And that helped accelerate my career even further, because I wasn’t afraid to just take on whatever responsibility I could, no matter what the topic was, it didn’t fit my job description, I didn’t care, I just wanted to not get fired. And that’s that’s, that was a pretty important part.

 

Scott D Clary  07:31

That is an eye opening experience. So everything you just discussed is is what I actually try and highlight to people that want to go work in startups, like what you just described to most people will be absolute hell. So I think that there is, I mean, like, let’s, let’s be real, it’s not, you just said we went through seven rounds of layoffs. And I was picking up basically responsibility as I went. And that is actually what accelerated your knowledge, your learning your ability to operate at such a high capacity in Salesforce and in CrunchBase. And like literally everything that you’ve done, do you think that there’s a major, a major wake up call when people start to work in startups that they have to be aware of what the reality is? And what is that reality when you’re working in a startup?

 

Jager McConnell  08:12

Yeah, I mean, for sure. It’s Don’t worry what your job description is, you’re there to succeed as a TI, right? And just get shit done. And there’s no i It drives me crazy, but I hear it more and more in sort of today’s generation, where it’s like, well, this is this is this is my job description, job. Oh, you want me to do more than my job description? Well, you need to pay me a little bit more for the added responsibility. Like back in those days, that was not the case. It was I want to get my job, I want us to succeed. I’m gonna do whatever I can to make that happen. And I think that’s rewarded. And and ultimately, like the learning that you have is worth doesn’t may lower than the incremental salary increase, I could maybe negotiated. And that’s ultimately what got me the job at Salesforce, which unlocked all the doors that got me to where I am today.

 

Scott D Clary  09:04

What was the bigger what was the bigger? I guess, growth in your life? Was it at Salesforce? Or was it at crunch base where you went from x revenue and x size to 2x? Revenue x size?

 

Jager McConnell  09:17

Compared to CrunchBase? That’s yeah, that’s a toughy. I’ve learned a lot from life impact, I’ve got it probably give it to Salesforce. And the reason is, is you know, I walked in the door there as a sales engineer like it was kind of the on the lower end of the sales spectrum. So like scaled and respected, but there wasn’t a lot of growth path. You can be a sales engineer, manager, maybe a director or maybe a VP someday, but that path wasn’t super exciting to me. But the fact that I was able to move around the organization and find myself as head of product at the core Salesforce, CRM core Salesforce product after those years is like that that was transformative to my career. And that let me get the job at CrunchBase. So everything I’ve learned from CrunchBase has been transformative for me as a person, I’ve certainly learned way more than I knew before I started. But the impact of actually, like, what I learned that Salesforce got me to where I am, without question,

 

10:24

and I was actually curious, like at what point you like, because I have to just sort of timestamp the date and the time when you joined Salesforce, I’m trying to figure out where they were at because they weren’t public. At the time. They were

 

Jager McConnell  10:35

there. They’re just gone public. It was 2004. I joined it was like 80 ish million in revenue. It’s just so crazy to think that how small that was, and that they were going public at this size, like it was it was really early.

 

Scott D Clary  10:48

I actually didn’t even think about that. That is small. That’s really

 

Jager McConnell  10:51

small. It was really small. And it was I mean, were 400 ish people like it was it was a small company back then. But the phone I mean, but But you knew it was a rocket ship from day one, even though like SAS and software in the Cloud was not certain, you know, like, there’s a lot of like, even when I first started, like my first week at Boot Camp, so learning all the intricate details, details of Salesforce, it went down, and it was down for like days. It was like, Oh, I’ve made a horrible mistake, I should have gotten organ org or something. This is not a good idea. So so like it was, it was that risky back then. And it was it was a very uncertain model. But the growth trajectory, like like, as a sales engineer, I had demos, from 6am to 6pm. Every single day, the phone was ringing off the hook, there was just a backlog of demand of this thing. And people curious about what it was, and if it worked for them. And that was that was a fun time to be there. And that’s why going public was obviously the right thing, in hindsight, but it was, it was I’ve never I’ve never been a part of a company growing that insanely fast.

 

Scott D Clary  12:04

So then okay, so then the follow up question is you, you you encountered what it was like with the Salesforce Salesforce growth trajectory, you encountered what that feeling was like that experience was like it was transformative in your life and your career. What are you doing at CrunchBase? Now to build an organization like that, so that not just obviously for the stakeholders, but investors, but also the people that work for you. It’s going to be the one that they speak about when they go off and become CEO of the next incredible company. They’re gonna say this was a point in my career when everything changed. For me the growth, the learning the education, everything.

 

Jager McConnell  12:40

Yeah, I mean, CrunchBase is an interesting thing. It’s been around for a long, long time. And the people think of it as a certain thing. And will I’m sure we’ll talk more about that later. But they think of it as this sort of place I go to look up companies, you know, that’s, that’s how most people think about this gets back to where my strengths, when the opportunity to spin it out, presented itself. For me, it was really obvious what this thing could be. And it’s not intuitive. That, for me what I’m leaving Salesforce, the CRM system built on top of an empty database, right, incredible software, no value on day one, there’s no value, you’ve got to put all this data into it, it to get a value out of it. And the value is all around time savings and efficiency. At the end of the day. I saw an opportunity there. I was like, Well, what if it wasn’t built on top of empty database? What if it was actually built on top of something that had very valuable data that you didn’t as an organization know, when that make it 10 times more valuable? So the when I heard about CrunchBase, spinning out, I was like, Well, you know, what if we built a prospecting the first,

 

Scott D Clary  13:49

sorry, what do you mean by that spinning out? Like, oh, yeah, does that mean? So it

 

Jager McConnell  13:53

was part of so so before my days, like, it was a project at TechCrunch. And it was a this project where they would just track which companies are writing stories about, and then people could the even the internally, they would figure out which writers were writing stories about which companies so there wasn’t a lot of duplication. So is this internal database, eventually, they made it public. And then people could submit their own companies into countries so that they might get rented out by TechCrunch is really like a lead source for TechCrunch. And initially, no revenue not allow users now like companies like only like 10,000 or so companies, over time, that slowly start to get bigger and bigger and bigger. Know revenue. America Online, remember them went and built or bought TechCrunch. They valued CrunchBase at $0. And said, Okay, we’ll take it and we’ll leave with something we’ll turn it into it. They invested to try to make it into like an ad. Like they knew ads, right. So let’s make more people see it and more eyeballs will sell ads, and maybe we’ll make money that way. So it grew to you know, 2025 people, and that’s when there was at least a lot did to growth, there was a lot of like, like trying to push on the data quality. But he still didn’t really have a real revenue model, the advertising was only making at the end like a million dollars a year. And you know, if you had 20 people that’s not going to cut, you’re burnt, you’re burning a decent my money. So Verizon came in by America Online, and they’re like, What are we doing with this CrunchBase thing doesn’t add any value for us, we don’t know what to do with it, we should spit it out. So eventually, AOL slash Verizon want to spit it out as an independent company hoping that it might first be a reduction of expenses on their on their on their p&l, but also maybe become something bigger, being separate from from the this this beast. So that’s when I joined. So I joined about a month or so before the spin out. And so on the day of the spin out, it was at TechCrunch. Disrupt, we announced that now CrunchBase was independent. And we’re not going to go do something entirely different. Which is nuts. All

 

Scott D Clary  15:57

you that’s all we know, we’ll take a million dollars of revenue you have you have a burn rate. It’s never been proven out before it’s ever been successful before. And like, yeah, Jagger, like, go go, go get it.

 

Jager McConnell  16:09

So and so for me, I knew I wasn’t going to be building a website to sell ads. So one of my first missions was how do we turn off that ad revenue as fast as we possibly could and move to a subscription model where we’re selling software on top of this thing. And that’s, so that’s what I meant by spin out. And it’s to build this, this kind of right, and my hope is this revolutionary CRM system. That’s this prospect for it. So a CRM system that brings revenue to you, rather than you importing in, what you’re tracking and working with it. So that’s what we’re what we’ve been building, that’s what we’re, we continue to build. And that’s the getting back to your original question. That’s that vision that gets people excited internally at CrunchBase, where if you if I was just like, hey, you know, we’re gonna build the biggest database of companies in the world. And it’s this, but bigger. It’s just not that exciting. But if you say, Look, we’re gonna do something no one else can do, because no one else has what we have. And we’re gonna play that strength, build software that hopefully has a ton of value and leverage this channel that we have of at now million people using CrunchBase, to go and sell them this tool that should make their lives better and easier and make the world a better place. But that vision gets people fired up to work at CrunchBase.

 

Scott D Clary  17:25

So then, okay, so then how did you Okay, so let’s talk about the strategies to actually build that model out. So day one, what so you’re like, Okay, so we have access to all this data that people want access to this data, we’re going to sell them a subscription to access this data that makes sense. You’re building? Are you building a marketplace? Or do you have so much data already that you actually don’t have to worry about? The data side of it, you have to get beat? Because I know there’s a whole bunch of components, right? Like you, as a user looking for data I subscribed, there’s a monthly recurring, but also, I’m assuming, at the beginning, you probably didn’t have every company properly filling all the information about them. So the data wasn’t 100% Complete. And I know like now, it’s probably advanced. It’s probably some sort of black box machine learning AI algorithm that figures it all out. But that wasn’t a one. So how did you first start building it up?

 

Jager McConnell  18:12

Yeah, so it’s a great question. So when we, when we first spun out, the data was not that great, it was almost entirely user generated data, which now today, it’s less than 10%. So there was we overtime made a big shift. But we didn’t have time to fix the data, we only had about a year of runway when we spun out. And so we had a year of runway to change our business model, change the team, go and build the software that I think people might buy, sell the software to show traction and raise a series B before raising money. So it was it was a pretty stressful year, as you might imagine. And it was it was hard because there was there was only so much we could do with the skills that we had and the bandwidth that we have. So the first step was, let’s build the thing that just to see if there’s anyone who has had this free tool would be willing to pay money for something else. So we built essentially a prospecting search tool. It basically lets you do very complex advanced searches of the data, which didn’t exist before is more of a lookup tool I heard before was I know a company I’m gonna look it up now. It’s, I have a certain type of company in mind which companies match that description. And then if there’s new companies that match that description, let me know like now there’s monitoring. So it’s, it’s give me a news alert, give me a funding alert, give me a new addition new company that didn’t match this, this criteria before letting me know immediately. And that’s what we launched almost exactly a year after we spun out with countries pro now than they were charging for nine bucks a month. And it was like okay, well is this gonna work because now we put it out there. Again now said TechCrunch Disrupt. And if no one bought it, we’re out of business and like, two months, like maximum Um, so luckily people did buy it. And we were able to raise a series B from Mayfield, shortly after.

 

Scott D Clary  20:05

And okay, so as your so how did you get your first say 50 customers on that first 101st 100 customers, it was just through, like you leverage Media, I’m assuming because you had TechCrunch at TechCrunch? Disrupt. So obviously, you do have a little bit of reach there. But was there anything innovative, any marketing strategies? Anything that you did, there was a little bit different to actually acquire users?

 

Jager McConnell  20:25

Well, this is this is the sort of secret strength of CrunchBase, is we already had 20 million people coming to our website, right? So they’re already coming. All we really have to do is market to the people that are already coming to site. And this will always be our strength. Like I mentioned earlier, 80 million people using CrunchBase, can we go and sell them something is we don’t have this, our marketing budget relative to other companies, our size is quite small, because we are just trying to leverage our strength, which is people coming to the site. And now it’s like, well, who are who are the people we should sell to? Who Shouldn’t we sell to? Are we trying to sell them the big thing, the little thing, the medium sized thing, all that sort of funnel, while trying to impact the user experience as little as possible, so that the people that are getting value for free, continue to get value for free. We don’t want them to go away, we just want to when they are ready to evolve into a little bit further in their career or a little bit further in, in in their prospecting. They pay us money. And then all we do is put up a toaster on our website saying, hey, check out CrunchBase Pro, here’s a video showing you when it does. And again, when by the time we turned back stage at TechCrunch Disrupt I’m about to go on stage to announce this new product, we had already sold licenses. But in the time that we turn it on five minutes, right walk on stage, just because people were so eager to buy it from us. So it was it was rewarding. Because when I went on stage, I was already jubilant, because at least someone had bought it and wasn’t my mom, you know?

 

Scott D Clary  21:56

No, that’s amazing. Well, I mean, there’s a lesson in that ended up itself. I mean, if you like every company, I believe it’d be a media company. Like, technically, you leverage the 20 million people that are already coming to your site, you didn’t have to You didn’t have to find a new audience to target or a new, you know, a new user base to target, which is very important. So I mean, that’s, that is a lesson for startups. Obviously, if they don’t have 20 million people hitting your site every day, they got to figure some way to monetize. But ultimately, if you become a media company, if you build masses, you can find a way to sell into that audience to which is something that you you did day one, but the other thing that you probably wanted to optimize is the data. So I’m curious, when you first launched that product? Was the data valuable enough for people to pay for it? Did you find out which data people would actually forecast some cash for and what was not acceptable?

 

Jager McConnell  22:42

Yeah, it was, it was a scary learning for me. Because when it’s a lookup tool, you look up a company, if you’ve heard of it, the data is probably pretty good, because it’s probably a pretty well known company. But when you have a discovery tool, and now people are prospecting for companies just based on a set of criteria, it shows all of the bad data. So for instance, you can say, show me all the companies made before 1900. And it’s like, okay, and then you see, like, we have companies from like negative 32 BC. So what is that? I don’t even know what a negative year is. And obviously, it’s not right. So we had a huge cleanup project where we just had to do all the stuff that we thought people might do to sort of figure out what data might be exposed as horrible. And that and for me, that flipped the switch on the we have to invest more on our data, get once we get funding to go and change how we get data. So can’t be user generated because you get squirrely things from people doing weird stuff, like giving themselves $100 billion funding round. It’s like, okay, we need to go in and put some, some some controls on this, which is now what we’ve done. So you asked a question earlier about marketplaces. That was actually the next thing we did after Pro, while we replac form the entire dataset and or outside the entire website, the entire application. Because we had inherited this thing that was pretty terrible. So we had to rebuild the whole thing from scratch. Now that we have proven this prototype that worked and we were able to sell, the next thing we did after that then was marketplace, which allows us to go and integrate all sorts of data sources into what CrunchBase is. So I can talk for hours about how we get our data and how data works. But the net net as we expanded the data from not just user data, but we also formed 1000s of partnerships to go and get data and from governments, accelerators, VCs, data providers, all guys flowing now into CrunchBase to to make a unified profile.

 

Scott D Clary  24:40

Okay, yeah, I was gonna say there’s a couple of ways that we could take this. So I wanted to share some great startup lessons, but then I’m trying to like bridge startup lessons plus the conversation about data because I saw one of your previous so I mean, like it all sort of combines, I mean, you’ve built this incredible platform. We’re talking about data I’m curious about and maybe I’ll just let you speak about all these different topics. So like data security, where people feel comfortable aggregating, especially for not if it’s not user generated GDPR Castle, all the different data compliance items that you have to be careful of and cognizant of what else, also the fact that you use all these different partners. So I would say let’s talk about all the different data, things that I’m sure you’ve dealt with. And then also all the different strategies you use to not just collect data. But you I know, you also use partners to build out the organization. Because you’ve used all these different, all these different you have, like, I don’t even know if this is a case, still. But at one point, you didn’t have your own QA team, you had a partner for QA. So not only do you have all these partners for data collection, you like, you build the business with partners, so that you don’t have to deal with a lot of those internal classes. Another interesting strategy, the first is talked about data, then we can go into like sort of business growth strategy. So talking about data, all things data. Sounds good.

 

Jager McConnell  25:53

So let’s let’s start with just how we get data. So today, we still have a great million user plus community of people who just put in data into CrunchBase. Why because they want to be well represented on our platform, if your company is wrong on CrunchBase investors are gonna miss you not gonna pay attention to you, job seekers are gonna think that you’re dead in the water, or you’re not growing or not as big as they thought you’d be. All those things require you to update your country’s profile, because our brand matters in the ecosystem. Just like you keep your LinkedIn profile up to date, it doesn’t matter which other profiles are out there about you LinkedIn, you keep up to date, because that’s all that matters for you as a person. CrunchBase is the parallel for a company profile. So that’s one aspect. Then we’ve got, as I mentioned, about 4000, partnerships with governments, accelerators, VCs, all over the world who give us that data. Why? Because these companies, these governments, these VCs won’t be well represented our platform, again, they want to look like tech hubs, they want to be look like they’re matter that the matter that are active, so they give us data directly, we have about 60 data providers that go and stream data into CrunchBase. That’s massive amounts of data like you think about like Jeetu crowd, like they’ve got all this data on products that are tied to companies. So we’re able to go and absorb that into CrunchBase. So you have sort of just one stop shop that has all these different data, facets coming together. And there’s no way we as a company could go and get like, as our core competency to go and like, generate all that data, there’s entire companies that do that, let’s just absorb that data and CrunchBase, again, willing to do it for us because of our brand. And they want to be well represented some some of our partners, you’ve never even heard of like, a lot of people haven’t heard of Bombora, they give us intent data, that data come to flows into CrunchBase. So you can merge it with other datasets. So that is another aspect of what we are. So no one in the world has ever combined all these data sets into one unified profile before. And now you’re able to do prospecting gets all these different flavors of data all at the same time. And that’s very, very powerful. So that’s three, the fourth way is our machine learning or AI systems. So that is a combination of crawling legal sources of data for us to go and get data from. But But And that’s sort of table stakes. But some of the secret sauce is we also generate a lot of our own data based on what we see from all these other datasets. So in Hebrew from our own usage, right, so if everyone’s flowing to a company profile page to go and check it out, that’s probably an important page right now, for whatever reason, that helps drive our trend scores and our growth scores and our sort of recommendation engines. All these things are looking at which which data has impacted funding rounds. Are there more news stories? Are the people tweeting about this company a lot right now, all those things drive into? Does this company matter or not? And that helps figure out which companies we should prioritize. So that’s the fourth way, then the fifth way is we have a team of about 20 ish people who work for CrunchBase. And they manage a team of about 250 people overseas that go and do manual cleanup of data. Those automation that AI systems flag things I can’t figure out is this is this spam as as bad as as good. It kicks it over to the humans to go and add a human brain on top of it to go and clarify. So we spend like $20 million a year, just making the data as good as it can possibly be. And of course, expand it all as a combination. There’s five things are what’s beautiful about that is no competitor out there can do what we do. Like I don’t care who it is, there’s no one who has all five of those things, and can get themselves to a place where they can compete. A lot of people like oh, I’ll just crawl and I’ll be CrunchBase Yeah, good luck here.

 

Scott D Clary  29:29

So I asked like I did a horrible thing is like a compound question. So there was like 10 Other things that I asked, but I don’t want to let you go on because I actually want to just pause you here and just start on one thing you mentioned. And then we can keep going. So the one thing that I realized is that you became you became you’ve mentioned this a few times the source that people want to represent themselves on Yeah, now that’s that’s incredible because if you even look at what you said, you you get data from GE to and I don’t know all the different sources you get data from but GE to could even make considered a competitor, but technically not because they’re feeding data into you. So how in the world did you become the person that everybody wants to be represented on because that is magic, whoever you manage? That’s incredible, that market position that you’re in,

 

Jager McConnell  30:16

I think it really comes down to, like, Jeetu. It’s definitely a partner, not a competitor in our minds as an example. You’re gonna

 

Scott D Clary  30:23

know, you know what I mean, though, because like, they also represent companies, right?

 

Jager McConnell  30:27

Totally. But you would never go to GE to to like, figure out if they’ve got funding, you know? Or if, or if they, what their website traffic is like, you’d never you would never think to go there. You say, Oh, well, I’ll go to a similar web, or Alexa for website traffic data. But no one had combined it all together into one place. And that was based on our roots, that was very easy for us to do. Because when the use case for at the very beginning of CrunchBase was, what the hell does this company? Do? I have no idea. I’m going to go look it up by CrunchBase. I’m going on a date with someone they work@fiddlesticks.com Like what the hell is fiddlesticks dot.com? To do you Google it, and CrunchBase comes up. And then you go and look at it, that base level that what I like to call the master record of a company was already what country so as we didn’t have all the companies, but for the companies that we did have, we were the master record of companies. And then with that framing, then we can go and take all these different facets of data like G two products, and plug it in, and G two gets excited. Because we’re gonna give we give it brand recognition is G twos data, here it is click here, if you want more data from GT cross, so they see us as a lead source. Happy to do that, because they’re providing value to us. No, I love

 

Scott D Clary  31:38

that. But you didn’t answer my question. How did you become I guess, because it was a master of like you, you are the master of record. And I guess my point is I won’t name competitors. But how come you are able to assume that position versus all the other competitors that are out there? And I don’t even know who you actually consider a competitor? And I don’t know you partner with? So I don’t want to?

 

Jager McConnell  31:59

Yeah, you’re good. There’s a few things. One is we’ve been around for a really long time. So our SEO and backlinks and all the stuff you look for, for that drives how people do a Google search and you show up as the first thing. Ours are off off the map. Like every competitor, no one has like the 52 million backlinks, we have the CrunchBase you know, and that’s just from being around for a long time. And being that master source of data, where it’s a standard way of talking about companies like here’s, here’s the link, if you want to go figure it out, that all those backlinks drove a lot of our SEO strength. And that took 14 years to go and did. And that’s hard for any competitor to even come close on. You know, and the big ones, you know, again, I’m probably less afraid to talk about competitors. You know, like zoom info like let’s, I just

 

Scott D Clary  32:52

want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode HubSpot, so I was thinking about the shortest day of the year earlier. While technically we have the same amount of time as every other day. The lack of daylight makes it feel so much shorter, which is kind of the same feeling as working with disconnected tools, or workdays the same length is always up before we know it. We spent three hours manually fixing something that is quote unquote automated. Thankfully, HubSpot is all in one connected CRM platform serves as a single source of truth for managing customer relationships across marketing, sales, service and operations, meaning all of your team’s data is truly connected. With multiple hubs, over 1000 integrations and an easy to use interface. HubSpot helps you spend less time managing your software, and more time connecting with your customers. Plus, with a quick and easy onboarding process, your teams can get started quicker than even the shortest day of the year. Learn how HubSpot can help your business grow better@hubspot.com The first one I thought of Yeah, how can that one? Yeah, that’s natural.

 

Jager McConnell  33:50

Who the Who gives a shit? What zoom info has on my company. In fact, I want them to have the data wrong. And so that no one finds me, you know, I want them to have the wrong data. And I don’t even know how I could update the data if I did care enough to update the data. And so it’s a very closed system. And that means that the data is not very good. I love going in. And it’s one of my favorite things to do is go and show people the Zoom info like, oh, let’s look up a company guy there. Let’s look at the data. And the reason it’s off is because they can’t they don’t have those five things. They don’t have the partnerships. They don’t have the users updating the data. All those things lead to should the data ultimately and based on how good your tool is, your data is your crown jewels.

 

Scott D Clary  34:38

And okay, so that’s a great point. It’s almost like because you’ve opened it up to the users. That’s what I mean, you do have the five pieces but opening up to the users and having that user input and almost it’s not it’s not a social community, but it’s it’s it’s like pressing up against like a social environment for b2b and company data, right? Like people are representing themselves in a way that I’m updating myself, I want to put stuff out into the world, I want to show up in a certain light on CrunchBase. So it is a little bit of a social community, not to the same extent, but you are including the user as part of that experience.

 

Jager McConnell  35:11

It’s it’s a two sided marketplace, right? We’ve got entrepreneurs and investors trying to find each other. We’ve got prospects and salespeople, we’ve got BD people in partnership, like pending partnerships, all those, like all those people are coming to CrunchBase to find one another. And we have ideas even how to streamline that and help people connect further. So you see, you’re right, that there’s an opportunity there to go even deeper. And just no one no one does on any other platform. And that’s the secret sauce. That’s why LinkedIn one, right, that’s why LinkedIn want to run resumes, we see an opportunity over

 

Scott D Clary  35:39

indeed over ziprecruiter over everything. Yeah. And then the other piece that I was curious about, because you deal with it at scale is the headaches with all the data compliance. So what does that mean for you as an organization? How do you make sure that you stay protected against all the all the stuff that could hurt you? GDPR?

 

Jager McConnell  35:58

This is a great question. And I think and I’m a big advocate of privacy, and I think privacy laws are gonna get much tougher in the future. Not not not this isn’t the the end. And that’s a good thing for us, because we’re a company first. So what countries is all about? Is company information, like that’s our primary record? Um, yes, we do have contact information, yes, there are individuals data in there. But for us that secondary data, whereas when you look at our competitors is often the contact data is their first record, like that’s the most important record for them is, do I have the person and their contact information. So in my perfect scenario, I want privacy law to make it so no company can ever trade in contact information, because it will shut down every competitor that we have. And what will be left is only company information, which companies are the ones I should prospect into, that’s not protected, and will never be protected by privacy law. Because it’s not a person. So so that means that’s our strength. We are an account based first account based selling account based prospecting platform, that as a added bonus, happens to have some contact information as well for you. And I think that’s a huge differentiator for us. And it protects us from GDPR protects us from all these other places. We, of course, comply with all these privacy laws. And I even like talk to the people that work like write GDPR, and give them advice on how to get even more restrictive, because I think it’s only in our best interest to shut that shut down. So that people stopped trading in with our private data. But yeah, I’ve got a whole team thinking about it, we, you know, the law is constantly changing, it’s hard as a startup to keep up with that stuff, honestly. And we’re pretty well resourced. But it’s, it’s a dynamic field that will only get more strict. So when you’re building a product, be sure that you’re thinking well in advance of not just what the law is today, but just don’t get flat footed, because I think all of these content providers are dead, like they just don’t know yet.

 

Scott D Clary  37:56

I mean, I don’t disagree with you. Because when you, when you when, when you look up information on that platform, and you even run campaigns against you, you run campaigns with any of the data. I mean, I don’t feel like especially in Canada, I’m Canadian. So I mean, Castle, like there’s, there’s no way that any of that complies with castle, and you know, you you, you do your best job to make sure that there’s unsubscribe, and he was actually fairly forgiving for cold outreach. But in, you know, in Europe and Canada, it’s it’s virtually impossible. And they have a lot of Canadian contacts, they have a lot of European contacts, they have a lot of California and contact that contact. So you wonder right, how it’s going to evolve in the future if your entire business model based off that. But anyways, that’s not your problem. So that’s

 

Jager McConnell  38:37

it, it could be, but it is stuff that I that we need to make that as easy as possible for people to remove themselves from from the platform if they don’t want to be a part of it. But obviously, privacy is number one security as number two on these two pieces. Because it’s so important to our business.

 

Scott D Clary  38:55

I want to talk about some of the startup lessons. So I just alluded to this, but how you how you partnered out a lot of your startups. So with a lot of your startup, a lot of CrunchBase growth and whatnot. I’m speaking to like a founder. I mean, you’re you’ve been there since day one, but But you got it. So you’ve partnered out a lot of the pieces. Why did you choose to partner out? So if we go through the lifecycle of CrunchBase, you, you prove that a business model, you proved out some product market fit you found your customers, you raised your series B? Why did you choose to build a business model around partnerships and talk to us about what you partnered out and what you kept in house?

 

Jager McConnell  39:35

Yeah, I mean, I it’s one of these things where I think a lot of people do that already. But if they’re not they should, you know, we when we spun out and we only had 20 people when I didn’t want those people doing is building things that weren’t there off the shelf solutions for I wanted them to focus on the things that were completely differentiated for us. They didn’t think about we were running a website that had 20 million people coming to CrunchBase that alone takes about 20 People like Like, how are you? How do you go and build more on top of that? So when I, as an example, like, I wouldn’t want people to go and build onboarding software, right? There’s, there’s a debate the beginning is do we, what do we do about that? Do we go in and buy something? Or do we build the little toaster like here, click here to begin Pendo didn’t exist back, then. That’s what we use today, we did. So that’s still a thing that we have outsourced, essentially, to Pendo. Before that, it was gonna be called Walk me. So these these companies were, that helped us write that saved weeks, if not months of development time. So we don’t have to build the onboarding experience, we could just have a product manager build it from from scratch, or using their templates. Other tools like obviously, analytics, you know, like, you don’t want to have to have people going and building that stuff. You use Ali’s tools that we use something called Grow, which they may have gotten acquired. But it was a tool called grow that helped us do analytics. So I didn’t have I was doing the analytics. I was going to hook up the systems and just trying to figure out how is the how are we doing even as a company? There’s we did you mentioned QA, there was a company called random forest that did like QA for us. So all those things were not core competencies. I didn’t want to hire anyone for it. It was just I wanted to hire just the people that could build the stuff that we needed. And so it was just every time we built, we’re building a component. It was, can we do that? Without building it, or anyone who does it? And you’ll find, especially today, like it was a little bit different than back back then. But today, almost every component of your application, you can find someone has already built a version of it somehow. That’s not that bad. And if you and if you find a component that someone hasn’t done that yet, pivot your company and go and build that instead, because that’s probably a good idea.

 

Scott D Clary  41:50

No, that’s fair. And then when you think about the what you wanted to focus your team on, how did you so you said, if it already exists, get someone else to do it, but for what people should actually focus on, because then I saw another piece you did about, you know, basically, pressure testing, your new products and your new widgets and your new and the new things you try and build out. And you mentioned something in one of these past interviews, it was like, Don’t go to your peers don’t go to don’t go to you know, your closest, closest group of friends and see if this is a good idea. Yeah, go to the people, the true stakeholders, the true customers are going to use it and validate whether or not that piece of your company or that new product is going to be useful. But how do you choose what to focus on? How do you choose what the next project is? So that you can hyper focus on the core competencies? Or maybe its pillars that you have in CrunchBase? That you always want to focus on? What does that look like?

 

Jager McConnell  42:42

Yeah, I mean, this is this is where you’ve, as a founder, and or as, as an early CEO, you need to trust your instincts a little bit like this, maybe not aligned with what other people will tell you in like the Lean Startup universe. No, I don’t think any customer any prospect and user will, necessary especially in enterprise software, will necessarily go and say to you, this is what you should go and build. Thanks for talking to me, I’ve got these ideas, I’m gonna tell you what they are. They’re always going to react to what you have, and they’re going to push you down the wrong road. If you go and you go a little too open ended. So yeah, don’t talk to your friends, don’t talk to your family, they’re just gonna tell you Yeah, you’re doing a great job. Like, no one wants to tell you that bad news, even customers or prospects, they want you to be successful. So they’ll always say, I love this idea. So at the end of day, you have to really know your space. Well, you have to really know your and I have a vision that you fundamentally believe in? And have you been intellectually honest with yourself, that there’s a real market there that you know how you’re gonna go and approach it, you’ve thought way deep. And if you’d like, I’ve thought, like, way deep in the future to sort of figure out what problems will we have? And then what’s my solution? And do I believe that solution? And if there’s areas where you don’t know the answer, like you’ve really tried hard, and you can’t solve a single one of these problems, then talk to users? And maybe they’ll, they’ll give you an insight into getting to the answer. They’re not gonna say this is the answer. But you could try a couple of things that you think might work and see which one might work better than the other. But I had this sense all day with with CrunchBase there’s so many things for us to focus on. If I talk to 100 users, they’re gonna tell me 100 things wrong CrunchBase and we’re not doing any of them. We’re gonna go out to this other thing, because none of that no one’s gonna say you know what Jagger I really would love a prospecting CRM. That gets me revenue. Like no one’s ever said it to me. And that’s why like, you need to swing for the fences if you want to build a big company.

 

Scott D Clary  44:45

And that’s it. So that is you use your intuition. You use your understanding of what’s broken in the in the industry, and your intuition to decide what to focus on next. And what’s your feedback loop for whether or not that initiative is successful?

 

Jager McConnell  44:58

Yeah, this is again Very controversial, but it for me, it’s, it’s, you know, build the prototypes, build it pretty far out, find your prospects and ask them if they’ll buy it, you know, and that’s, it’s, you know, this I love showing pictures to people, I love people reacting to that they’re not going to have to slides. And you don’t want to wait until you’ve built the product, obviously. So just show them the thing and not asking anything other than Will you buy it? Like if this was real right now, that all the other feedback, it doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t. And if they say no, ask why.

 

Scott D Clary  45:39

I was gonna say no, I just think that you uncovered something that I think a lot of other founders dance around? And why the answer to that question is so uncomfortable is because it requires you to be obsessed with what you’re building, or to actually have the intuition. The intuition is not luck, intuition is diving so deep into an industry or a category that the next possible step becomes natural, which is why the most successful entrepreneurs are the entrepreneurs that have been living in an industry for the past 20 years, they find a problem, they try and solve it, right? It’s not the Stanford grad that is the highest rate of size for an entrepreneur. So I think that you actually uncover something, it’s that potentially there’s a lot of tricks and maybe people try and gimmick and sort of game, the the product creation or the ideation process or something new, but ultimately, like what it comes down to is just living and breathing what you’re building every single day. And that’s where you get the best ideas. And that’s where you know, things that maybe even your customers don’t know, your company doesn’t know, that’s where you have to trust that you are the expert, but you have to be that expert. And there’s great advice.

 

Jager McConnell  46:35

It’s good advice. It may be unrealistic for a lot of people because because I can imagine a founder who’s like just like college like well, okay, cool. Thanks Jagger, you’re saying Go go into the industry for 20 years. And then and then launch your idea like, like, fuck off. So as I guess I get that. But I guess I’m talking to the person who’s been at that company stuck in the industry, dreaming of something better and bigger, and they have an idea, I would say you’re that advantage that you have of being in the industry, leverage it, trust yourself go after it. You don’t have to go through the same risky game of launching something where you don’t really know the answer, like I mentor a lot of companies. And these folks will say like, Hey, I’ve got a new like snack company, and I’ve never done food or snacks or anything before. The odds of failure are, are skyrocketing, compared to someone who’s coming from that industry. So it’s an unfair advantage that I have.

 

Scott D Clary  47:31

One thing that I think is admirable about how you structured your company may have come from your PTSD of being through a couple of them through seven rounds of layoffs. But the fact that you don’t believe in growth at all costs, so speak to me about what that is. Is it still prevalent in the industry? Or is that not really something that people believe in anymore? Speak to me about how you build CrunchBase without that mindset, in terms of your your business, who you hire your profitability, your your investors, you bring on the expectations you set with them?

 

Jager McConnell  48:02

Yeah, I think they’re I think there’s two types of CEOs. And there’s the one that loves that. And you’ll see here investors tell you this, CEOs are always fundraising, like you should be fundraising all the time. And there’s a certain CEO type that loves to do that. And that, and they agree with that, that mentality, I think, that worked for the last, you know, half a dozen years, whatever it was, that doesn’t work anymore. And so the the CEOs that are their own type, which is

 

Scott D Clary  48:26

like never work, did it ever? Well, I mean,

 

Jager McConnell  48:29

certainly you could raise money for without even trying for the last five, six years. But but was your business really being built the right way? That’s, that’s a whole nother set of questions. But for me, it’s, I’ve always liked building efficient businesses. And we have also operated assumption that we would get funding in two to three years. And that’s what we’ve followed. But now with how the market has changed, even I’ve gotten even more pragmatic, and to say, look, that was our last funding round, like great, we raise money, we are never raising money again. And how do we run the business? Now? I think everyone even at the seed level, like, Hey, I just raised a friend’s a family, or a seed round or a Series A, all of everyone should be saying, How long can we make this last? And if you can make it last forever? Obviously, that’s that’s the winning move. If it’s years and years and years, awesome. If it’s like 18 months, I would really take a careful look right now at what your what you’re investing in. Are you doing ad spend so you can show growth to the next investor so that you can go and raise that round? Because someone’s telling you, you need to be growing at 50% or more every, every year? No, you don’t slow down because you’re that in 18 months. None of us know what funny is that look like? Right? Funding is I mean, we track funding so we have a lot of his billionaires. It’s cratered this quarter compared to a year ago. And if it keeps continuing, it’s just it’s You don’t want to depend on the market game better, which means the dollars in your bank account need to last as long as they possibly can. And I think every CEO is trying to deal with that. The problem is, these fast growing, the other CEO that raises and the 10 million in revenue, there isn’t a billion dollar valuation, they have 500 employees, because they thought they could just get right and racing around in six months. They’re fucked. So now, you don’t know what to do. So you have to lay off, it’s ugly, morale goes down, your culture crashes, and you might not survive. And that’s who the hell wants to do that?

 

Scott D Clary  50:38

Yeah, of course, and you’re profitable, obviously. Like,

 

Jager McConnell  50:42

we’re not no, we’re not You’re not we’re not so. So in the first half of the year, we burned about $2 million. But we added $9 million in recurring revenue. So that’s a good burn rate, the burn ratio to the to the to the net new arr. But no, we’re not. We’re still burning, but that’s why I raise money, right? Like you don’t raise

 

Scott D Clary  51:03

if he was gonna ask, like when when is it right for you. So then as a CEO, your goal when you when you do and actually I have a question for you? How do you manage invest investor expectations? Because if you want to build a profitable cash flowing company, and you say, we don’t want to raise if we don’t have to? How do you find the investors that are okay with that? Because investors? Do they not want an exit opportunity?

 

Jager McConnell  51:27

Well, I think right now, every investor what they really do want is they only your business, you. So I think I’ve certainly seen a shift in investor dynamics. I’ve got board meeting next week, where obviously we talking about what’s happening in the market. And what I’ve seen so far, as they say, look, batten down the hatches, I wouldn’t protect the investment, right. Get as much growth as you can without overspending. And that’s been our mantra for a long, long time. But I think every every company is thinking the same way. Just survive. It don’t count on funding.

 

Scott D Clary  52:03

And then one other thing that I thought was interesting. When, when you when you will actually, I know that part of what you had documented from CrunchBase, is that 1.2% of all of all funding goes to black founders. And and when I was speaking to individual on your team, and we’re prepping for this podcast, that’s disgusting, and kind of horrifying. So what are you doing with CrunchBase? To use your platform for good for helping diverse founders? What are trends that you’re seeing? How can we like one, like 1.2% is like, it almost doesn’t? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t compute. It’s not real, how little funding is going to, to minority bipoc founders. So how do you how do you fix that? I mean, it’s not something that you can fix alone. But what do you think the industry should try and do?

 

Jager McConnell  52:59

Yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s a few reactions to what you’re talking about here. So one is use your company to do good in the world in any way you can. So we have this amazing channel, let’s go and do that. I recommend every company think about how they can do that. In our case, we have this channel, that channel lets us go and take the day that we have an express out these sorts of issues. So the reason people talk about that, and like women founders, it’s also incredibly low. It’s it’s in the single digits of women who are getting funded. It’s just totally fucked up in our industry. The only reason we know that is because of the data and the only people that are tracking that is us. So that lets us go and push that out to the world to let people know that change. As far as what we can do about it. We meaning the industry not CrunchBase. I personally think that the there’s a we need to change how investors, the investors are hiring. When you have diverse investment committees in these VC firms that make the investments, they make diverse investments, insane. When it’s a bunch of white guys sitting around the table, they make investments and people that look like them. And that’s part of the problem. I’ve seen pushes of like, well, let’s go and push for diversity and board boards of startups and stuff. And I think that’s a little less realistic. Because that requires me as the founder to go and find diverse investors when there are very few of them. And that just doesn’t work very well. And also, when I’m raising, I might only have one term sheet on the table. I’m taking that one I’m not not taking it because it’s not a diverse investor. So you need to change the investor makeup at these firms which and so it may be overly restrictive but maybe a perfect world. The investor firms would be held to a standard where they have to publish their diversity scores and then even have expectations of changing them to match. Something that represents the world that we live in,

 

Scott D Clary  55:06

is this 1.2%, like post post, you know, George Floyd DLM, this is in 2022, this is still 1.2%. So has the needle not moved at all?

 

Jager McConnell  55:19

Oh, it sure has moved in the wrong direction, it’s gone down. So in in in a is a post George Floyd for a moment, for just a moment, it went up a little bit. And everyone was optimistic that maybe we were on the right trend. But as soon as the market turned and went down, so did the investment dollars into these underrepresented classes, both both gender and race. And that’s fucked up. It really is. And the reason, unfortunately, is that the white males who are making the investment decisions tend to think it’s a less risky proposition to invest in, so that looks like them. And my hypothesis, then,

 

Scott D Clary  55:59

all of a sudden, when there’s no more when there’s not in the new cycles anymore, and they don’t feel pressure and people aren’t blowing them up on Twitter, then all of a sudden, they they don’t put the emphasis, they don’t put the focus on it anymore. It’s just it’s not top of mind. It’s unfortunate. That’s really actually that’s really surprising.

 

Jager McConnell  56:14

And that’s why I think it has to happen at the there has to be a policy there has to be somebody else Institute, because I don’t think it’s going to happen naturally. Like this is some

 

Scott D Clary  56:25

that if you look at this, it’s showing that it’s not happening naturally. Correct. That’s right. If people felt pressure and and like they were everybody was given as much opportunity as it could ever be afforded to be able to do this properly and be better, right, everybody was given that opportunity. Like even, even if you even if you felt uncomfortable, like the whole world was helping you be supportive, underrepresented founders and underrepresented business owners. So now you take that and you can run with it. And now you know what to do. Now you know how to maybe find other types of founders that you never invested in before, maybe you know how to allocate a certain percentage of your dollars, because you’ve already done it, and you feel comfortable with that. And you’ve put that into your investment thesis, too, you know, so now now you’re now you’re all set up, but then obviously, you just revert to exactly the way you were before. That’s no good.

 

Jager McConnell  57:10

So exactly right. And and, and so as a startup founder of if you’re an entrepreneur listening to this, like, what you can do is mentor, it’s free to do you know, and you can go and help out underrepresented classes and help them with their startup idea. So I try to do that. I’ve got a number of different areas, avenues and lead sources for me to go and help. Folks, I’m helping the half dozen right now. Help with our startup helped make connections for them, help them know who they should talk to give them feedback on their pitch deck, get ideas on how they could scale, all that stuff is something anyone can do if you’ve got a skill set that that’s applicable. And that actually can go and increase the likelihood of success for for these underrepresented classes. And anyone

 

Scott D Clary  57:59

know amazing, okay, I want to I want to just pick your brain about the future of CrunchBase. Obviously, I have a million ideas coming in every single, every single day. But where are you should take it? Where do you want to take it? What do you what do you think is in store? I’m sure you have like you mentioned you look 10 years into the future when you’re working on a company. So what’s next? I mean, you have you have this incredible product, you are the de facto like you mentioned before? Where do you take this next? And I want to I want to bring out a lesson for somebody else that builds a marketplace in another category or another industry. And they look at the evolution of that marketplace, and how to monetize and how to grow it and then ideas for where you can take it.

 

Jager McConnell  58:41

Yeah, I mean, the big thing that we’re that we will be working on for the next many years is true CRM, like no one thinks of CrunchBase as a CRM system, like it’s just that as disconnected from reality, we don’t have half the things you need for a CRM system. So those are the things that we’re going to build. And those are things that are going to come out, that is the future from a product standpoint of what we’re doing. taking one step back, something I really think we are able to do is prove to the world that you cannot build enterprise software without data you can the days of building productivity stuff on top of an empty database just doesn’t work anymore. And that future of like, what AI and what machine learning is going to be helping do all of that needs is data, you know, and so can can the inexpensive reporting tool, go and do like, like, things automatically based on data that they know is about what’s happening in the market. Like for instance, like, Hey, I’m paying a certain amount for a vendor software. What if your software comes back and says, Hey, you know what you’re actually paying, you’re the top 10% quartile of what people pay for that particular piece of software, you’re getting screwed. Maybe go back to the vendor and save yourself some money. Like, how could it do that? Well, it has all this data, right? And that’s and that would be the best expense reporting tool there is, you can do that with any single enterprise software out there. If you add a layer of data, it becomes infinitely more powerful than the empty data base that you get when you get most expense reporting tools or whatever happens happens,

 

Scott D Clary  1:00:15

or CRMs, or anything, really, I mean, everything would even ask. And you don’t want to, again, you don’t want to set your competition up to succeed, but outside of outside of spending 14 years plus aggregating data, is there a way for another company? That was a front end system first, with no data in the back end? Is there a way for a company to do that?

 

Jager McConnell  1:00:44

Yeah, of course. If I, let’s say, let’s say I had an expense reporting company, I’m like, Thanks Jagger. I wish I knew that when I started, like, what do I What do I do? The great thing about the world today is that there are many, many, many data companies that aren’t software companies, very few have figured out that they should be a software company. And, and there’s very few software companies that realization, we are a data company. So that data is out there. So someone out there is tracking and how much people spend on software, or on vendors, as in this example, go find them, they’re desperate for dollars. Now, data companies are hard to make money on. So go talk to them, for a partnership, do a little bit of a rev share with them or something just get started. And now you’re important that data in and now you can build that great software, you didn’t have to reinvent the wheel of where to get that data from or how to how to source it. You just found that one partner that has it, you can validate the idea and then you can go from there. I would just if you’re building software on an empty database, what data would have made would make your software 100 times better? Go find it because I can’t think of a single example that of where it doesn’t already exist. I love that.

 

Scott D Clary  1:01:52

Okay. Last Last all we have one more question I always ask. But before we pivot, what would be one piece of advice that you’d leave an entrepreneur with a founder is the most important thing that you’ve learned over your career? What would be one thing that you just want to impart on them?

 

Jager McConnell  1:02:14

So many things come to mind. The biggest and most applicable now is is don’t raise and I’m not saying don’t raise because it’s hard. It’s just It isn’t worth it. And you’ll build a better business. If you stay scrappy, longer. There’s exceptions to this rule of like there’s real competition is going to kick your ass if you don’t go fast enough, okay. But most of the time, that’s not the case. So take your time, preserve your ownership. Keep keep your vision pure and go after it. You’re you did it for a reason, you know, and make it happen.

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