The making of PitchBook’s newest feature: Co-Investors
May 30, 2015
Good news! We have just released a new set of exciting features in the PitchBook Platform—log in to check them out orclick here for a free test drive. For the back story on one of our biggest additions, read on.
With the launch of our new Co-Investors feature, this seems like the perfect opportunity for us to shed a little light on PitchBook’s product development process by walking through the creation of this feature.
Here is a quick overview of the Co-Investors module:
Here at PitchBook, we have a stellar customer success team that works closely with our clients on platform training, questions, data pulls, report requests and custom research projects. They give our product team an inside look at the information and functionality our thousands of users need. Through this feedback, we uncovered a lot of requests for specialized reports surrounding co-investment relationships. Requests like:
Show me everyone who has co-invested in big data companies with X firm from 2012 to the present
Show me everyone who has invested in companies after they graduated from X accelerator
Show me which companies from X accelerator we have invested in
Once it became clear this was a widespread need, our next step was to validate our assumptions and define some bulletproof use cases. Luckily, PitchBook serves a great group of VC clients who took time (thank you!) to provide us with insightful feedback. We learned more about the co-investor lists VCs keep internally, the issues they experience with tracking those relationships in Excel and the challenges of making this data actionable.
I’ll distill the feedback we heard into a few common requests:
Help me build my call list for a follow-on round for a portfolio company
Tell me if there are deal sources that other similar firms are using that we are not
Give me an idea of what firms might be competing for a deal
Map investor networks within certain spaces, stages and geographies
Our mission was clear: uncover actionable insights from co-investment relationships for our clients.
With 10,000+ VCs/Corp VCs and 15,000+ angels/accelerators/incubators tracked in extensive detail, and over 168,000 venture deals in the PitchBook Platform’s database, we felt uniquely positioned to deliver these insights better than anyone else.
Armed with great data (thanks to the PitchBook research team), we built out co-investor lists for every venture investor in our platform. But these initial lists were an incomplete picture of VC investor networks. Reflecting on our user feedback, our clients’ specific questions still needed specific answers: “What if I only care about co-investment trends within the healthcare industry? Or only relationships in the last two years, and only in late-stage deals?”
This underlying need—the ad hoc use case—is what led us to make this feature interactive. We added a set of filters and engineered our software for speedy querying. The end result allows any user to effectively ask questions and uncover answers that were previously hard to come by.
“Who have I worked with—or has another investor in this company worked with—that I can call to build a follow-on round for my edtech portfolio company seeking a $20M series C in Seattle?” Apply filters and get your answer.
So let’s see this feature already!
You can sort the Co-Investors list by the most active co-investors. Just select Invested Before, Invested With or Invested After to see who is investing with whom and when.
For each Co-Investors profile, the relationship is broken down by number of co-investments, activity over time, series preferences, exits achieved and even industry breakdowns.
In order to tailor Co-Investors lists you can filter by timeframe, series, deal amount, industry and other criteria to surface only the insights and relationships relevant to you.
We also included metadata to give users an idea of what is happening with their selected cohort of investors. Applied some filters? Now you can see at a glance how much activity is taking place and how much capital is flying around.
And, as with nearly all of the data in the PitchBook Platform, all Co-Investors data is relational. Curious which 23 companies those two co-investors backed together? Who were the lead partners on those deals? Just click through, and we’ll deliver the underlying data.
For future iterations, there are all kinds of features we would like to build, including service provider relationships, private equity sourcing channels and consortia, and exit analyses. So go ahead, log in and try it (or request a free trial)—then send us your feedback. Let us know what other questions you need answered around these new features and data sets.