CB Insights, a nearly six-year-old, New York-based research outfit whose private company data and analysis has become oft-cited in media reports about the startup industry, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from the low-flying, bi-coastal growth stage investment firm RSTP.
According to CEO and cofounder Anand Sanwal, the money represents CB Insights’s first equity round. The 61-person company had previously raised $1.15 million in grants from the National Science Foundation for its private company scoring software, called Mosaic.
The funding isn’t a complete surprise, given the venture capital that has flowed recently to other startups focused on private company data and analysis, including our own sister company, CrunchBase, which closed on roughly $6 million in funding from Emergence Capital Partners in September; and Mattermark, which closed on a $6.5 million Series A round led by Foundry Group last December.
Still, Sanwal had been fairly public about running a largely bootstrapped company that was “revenue funded” and not supported instead by investor dollars. Asked why the company changed its mind, he says RSTP is a longtime customer of CB Insights that reached out “probably two years ago” about a potential investment. As the two sides exchanged product and market ideas over time, both decided to move forward with a deal that’s “simple and fair to everyone,” Sanwal says.
CB Insight is a SaaS business. Its standard subscriptions range from $20,000 to 60,000 per year, with more custom enterprise subscriptions costing customers $100,000 or more.
The company says it is profitable.
Sanwal was previously a VP at American Express, co-leading a $50 million “innovation” fund with Jonathan Sherry, with whom he started CB Insights. He says the two witnessed firsthand how “hard it was to understand private companies as a lender to them.” Sanwal says they also founded CB Insights out of a shared frustration with offerings like those of incumbents Dow Jones and Thomson Reuters, two companies that have long tracked and sell information about the global private markets.