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Apr 21, 2022 D'vorah Graeser

Finding Your Next Licensee for Free


This post is the start of a series that we’re doing on free tools for market analysis and finding the best company partners. Today, we’re focusing on company databases as a great way to find out more about companies with which you may want to partner. Company databases have many advantages: they are more focused than LinkedIn or Google search, plus you can often compare multiple companies in one place. But not all company databases are created equal.

Company Databases - The good, the bad, and the useless

Some company databases are very helpful while others can actually be harmful - with out of date or inaccurate information, for example.

And not all company databases are suitable for TTOs; they may have many small businesses like florists, barber shops and restaurants that clearly aren’t suitable as licensees. Or they may lack the detailed information that would help you determine whether a particular technology would be useful for a new potential company partner.

We have found Crunchbase to be useful for our own research. It offers a paid version, as well as the free version. It does have its own strengths and weaknesses for TTO market research.

Crunchbase - Useful for TTOs?

Crunchbase is a database full of companies all over the world. It includes company descriptions, contact information, news and more. It specifically positions itself as a tool for sales prospecting. The review site G2 generally gives it favorable reviews (link below). Full disclosure - we have a paid account at Crunchbase, but I did the below search as a free user (without logging in to Crunchbase).

In the free version of Crunchbase, you have a limit on how many results you can view at one time (five companies from one search). However, the details that are provided are enough to help you understand which companies are operative in a particular market, their sources of funding, and any recent events.

I’ll do a quick example search right now, in which I’ll search by industry starting here:

My search process is as follows:

  1. Select industry filters
  2. Click on one company result and review company page
  3. Consider company financials
  4. Find company contacts by name and role
  5. Look at company news

1. Select Industry Filters

I’m searching for AI related companies, selecting from a group of predetermined filters for filters related to AI. The top five companies in this area, ranked by Crunchbase, appear in the results, as shown in the below screenshot.

FYNL1Company page search results

2. Click on One Company Result & Review Company Page

Next, I selected one of these top five results - NVIDIA. On their company homepage within Crunchbase, you can see basic information about NVIDIA, including website, latest finances and a description of what the company does. I’ve circled three items that I find particularly interesting: financials, people and news (Signals & News).FYNL2Specific company page - NVIDIA

3. Consider Company Financials

Financials can be particularly important for a private company - after all, you want to make certain that a potential partner can pay the licensing fees and won’t go bankrupt. They are also interesting for a publicly traded company. As a quick note, KISSPlatform’s dashboards also show financial trends for publicly traded companies within an industry - hit me up if you have any questions.

FYNL3Financials for NVIDIA

4. Find Company Contacts by Name and Role

One of the great strengths of Crunchbase is that it has the names and job titles of many employees in many different companies - so if you’re trying to find a great contact at a particular company, Crunchbase is super useful. You need to pay for a Pro account to be able to click directly to their LinkedIn profile, but the name and title is usually enough to be able to find out this information on your own - and that is accessible through the free account.

FYNL4Employee contacts at NVIDIA

This screenshot shows a sample of some of the company contact results at NVIDIA. As you can see, you get the employee names and titles for free. You need to pay for direct access to their LinkedIn profile, as well as their email address and phone number.

FYNL5Contact information

5. Look At Company News

Next, looking at the Signals & News tab, we can see a huge number of articles about NVIDIA - over 15,000! While far fewer articles may be available about smaller, private companies, Crunchbase usually has a significant amount of articles for the companies in its database. One caveat - different companies with similar names may sometimes be included in the list of articles, showing the limits of Crunchbase’s AI.

FYNL6News and articles about NVIDIA

One last tab that I didn’t emphasize is the similar companies tab. I’ve personally sometimes received really great, accurate results through this tab, quickly and easily finding multiple similar companies to the one that I originally considered in my search. On the other hand, some of the results have been off base. In this case, the top results (AMD and Analog Interference) both are good matches, as both are semiconductor companies. The third result, iRobot, is active in the AI technology space but not in semiconductors.

FYNL7Companies similar to NVIDIA - according to Crunchbase

Have a great free source of company information? Or a tool that you’d like us to review? Maybe you have a specific problem in finding company partners that you’d like some help with? Connect with me - I’m happy to help and to learn more.


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Published by D'vorah Graeser April 21, 2022