If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to build your small business brand online. One of the most credible ways, especially for tech companies, involves using Crunchbase to build your brand.
We recently created a Crunchbase profile for Small Business Trends Media. It was easy to do. What’s more, it lends credibility to our company.
Before I go further, I should mention the kinds of companies that a Crunchbase profile is useful for.
Crunchbase is not, in my opinion, a good fit for purely local businesses or Main Street small businesses. For example, if you run a plumbing, handyman or salon business, I suggest you put your effort into a Google My Business listing instead. You’ll appear in front of more potential customers that way.
If, on the other hand, you run a technology business then Crunchbase could be a great fit. Crunchbase is ideal for high growth startups, especially those looking for seed capital from angel investors, or equity funding from venture capital.
Crunchbase is also good for online businesses, media and advertising businesses, ecommerce business, or consulting or other business services.
Let me share our experience and a few pointers. Then perhaps you too will soon have a Crunchbase profile to help build your small business or startup brand. And a founder profile for you.
What is Crunchbase?
Crunchbase is an open database of businesses.
It’s an impressive niche resource for anyone interested in technology companies. As a platform with free and paid options, it’s far more than a business “directory.”
On its website Crunchbase says it “was founded to be the master record of data on the world’s most innovative companies.”
Headquartered in San Francisco, Crunchbase started life in 2007 as a side project of TechCrunch. Crunchbase began as Techcrunch’s database to track all the startups looking for funding, being funded, getting acquired, going IPO, or failing in their startup journey.
AOL acquired Techcrunch in 2010. Verizon in turn acquired AOL and rolled Techcrunch and other media properties into something called Oath. Along the way Crunchbase Inc. was spun off from Oath, although Verizon remains an investor.
Today, the Crunchbase database is still heavily weighted toward tracking funding and high growth investment. But with over 675,000 companies in it (by our count), Crunchbase has evolved into a general repository of business information for the tech world.
How Do You Use Crunchbase to Build Brand?
It’s easy. The first step is to set up a free Crunchbase account.
To set up an account, you will need to verify your company’s identity using one of three big social networks (Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook). That’s simple enough – just connect your profiles.
Someone must be doing a manual review of all new accounts, because there can be a delay. In our case we had to wait a few days before our Crunchbase account was verified.
Once verified, you are set to go.
Here are some key Crunchbase benefits and features:
- Get a free profile page for your business. You can add all the basic details such as industry, address, employee size and founding date. This establishes a public record of your company in a third party database, adding credibility to your business. For small businesses and startups, a Crunchbase profile is an easy way to build your brand.
- Add founder information. Add information about yourself if you are the founder. You can also list other founders. For small business owners, this helps with personal branding. It’s also entrepreneur street cred.
- Identify funding information. If you’ve raised investment money, you can add details about your funding rounds, VC or angel investors, and more. If your company has no investors, skip this part.
- List Board members. Once again, this is mainly for high growth startups seeking funding. Prominent Board members can open doors.
- Add events. If you participate in events as a speaker or sponsor, or hold your own events, you can list them.
- Add press references. You can add links to any news articles about your company.
- Identify key employees. If your employees have Crunchbase profiles, you can list them on the company profile.
- Display your tweets. When you verify/link your Twitter account, your company’s tweets automatically appear on your Crunchbase profile. So it’s a way to share social updates to anyone who sees your profile.
Those are just some of the key fields you can use with a free Crunchbase profile.
What Can You Do With Crunchbase?
As mentioned, one of the key benefits is to get your business listed in Crunchbase. Now if your eyes are getting huge and you’re thinking “Oh boy, I’ll get a link” you could be disappointed. Links from Crunchbase are nofollowed.
But think more broadly than links. Here are five uses of Crunchbase:
Use Crunchbase to Build Your Brand — and Protect It
Google and other search engines will show your Crunchbase listing when someone searches for your company by name.
Why is this important? Two reasons:
- It establishes your business bonafides for those checking out your company online.
- It’s a defensive measure. It can help you control how your brand appears in search engines. Wouldn’t you rather have a Crunchbase profile show up on page one of Google — instead of a consumer complaint page?
Small local businesses have Google My Business. But a GMB profile is not a great option for online businesses or businesses without a specific service geography. Non-local businesses need something like Crunchbase.
Find Investors and Board Members
You can search for investors, because you see what else they’ve invested in. You can find potential Board members, too. Once again, this will be of interest mainly to high growth tech startups.
Prospect for Sales Leads
If you sell a product or service to tech companies, Crunchbase could be a good place to find leads.
Identify and Connect
You could, for instance, find other founders in your geographical area. You might also search for companies to partner with.
Stay Updated on High Growth Tech News
Crunchbase has an active News section of its site. It publishes articles about startups that have been funded, filed for IPO or are planning to, and other developments. In short, Crunchbase News covers the high tech startup scene in much the same way Techcrunch used to do.
Crunchbase News also creates quarterly venture capital funding reports. These reports are perfect for those who want an overview of the VC investment landscape.
There’s also a daily newsletter.
Other Things to Know About CrunchBase
Crunchbase is in the data business. Naturally, this might cause you to wonder how your data is being handled.
Crunchbase’s own profile page (yes, it has one of those) says it “allows users to discover innovative companies and the people behind them.” Crunchbase encourages app makers to incorporate site data into their apps. And those that buy the Enterprise version of Crunchbase get the capability to integrate site data with Salesforce.
This means that companies listed in Crunchbase may end up fielding more sales calls and emails.
There’s also a paid Crunchbase Pro subscription. The paid subscription (currently $29 / month) opens up more features. These features include more extensive monitoring and searching. Without a paid subscription, the searching can be somewhat limited.
Then there’s the editing capabilities. A Wikipedia-like editing function is on every profile. However, you can request that Crunchbase lock your profile if you are concerned about unauthorized edits. And those who make unauthorized changes could be banned as spammers.
Also, if your company fails, you may not be able to get your profile removed. Crunchbase’s help files say, “As historical data holds important value for both our platform and community, Crunchbase prefers not to remove profiles.”
We tried to reach Crunchbase for more insights on their strategy and future direction. The company did not respond.
5 Tips for an Awesome Crunchbase Profile
If you you want to use Crunchbase to build your brand — here are five pointers for an awesome profile:
(1) Complete your profile thoroughly. Add your profile. Pay particular attention to the description field. The description shows up in search snippets. It could color a customer’s first impression. Also pay attention to the industries you choose. This shows up on searches on Crunchbase. Be sure to also use key terms you want your brand associated with.
(2) Follow the Crunchbase Guidelines. These guidelines are mainly best practices such as not listing a personal email address publicly.
(3) Add a founder. Fill out a founder profile for each founder. People network with other people – not with faceless organizations. Besides, it’s good personal branding, which in turn can help your company. Just ask Richard Branson how personal branding helped his companies.
(4) Share your Crunchbase profile. Post the link on social media. And link to it from your website. This will help boost your Crunchbase profile’s prominence. Then it’s more likely to show up in search results and help build your brand.
(5) Monitor your profile. Because profiles can be edited, it’s a good idea to monitor yours. If you are concerned about unauthorized edits, ask that it be locked.
With these simple tips your business will soon have a professional profile from a respected business database.