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Discussion on Profitable Business Ideas with the Co-Founder of CB Insights

Why Listen To This?

  • Conversation with Anand Sanwal CEO and co-founder of CB Insights – A market intelligence platform.
  • Topics include how Anand built his companies, the importance of data, and some business ideas surrounding data.


  • ‘4 – Saw dust data
    • Companies create products; sometimes, the residue of such products tends to be interesting data.
      • Eg. Open Table has reservation data, which gives insights that may be useful for real estate firms like:
        • Lower reservations in a place, maybe the market there is cooling down; or,
        • Lower reservations → maybe the place is going to shut down operations etc
    • Companies are really bad at monetizing this data. Build a platform, help companies monetize these saw-dust data, and make a good business out of it
    • ‘6 – Messy Data → Clean Data
      • Have patience. Sometimes, machine learning doesn’t work and you have to just open a spreadsheet and manually clean that; If you can’t do the nasty work, you’re dead in data-aggregation businesses.
  • ‘8 – Representative Media x Existing Products
    • Media representing people belonging to different communities.
    • Eg:
      • Amar Chitra Katha for different communities.
      • Grinder for homosexual people as Tinder is for straight people.
  • ‘12 – Daily Executive Briefing Mail
    • Aimed executives at higher levels.
    • Daily briefing about the industry and competitors
    • The same data can be useful for multiple clients in the same space.
    • Eg: Bulletin Intelligence
  • ‘18 – Saas products’ pricing data:
    • Crawl webpages of Saas products and get their pricing data.
    • Most enterprise companies don’t put their pricing on their websites. In such cases, hire someone to pretend as a customer and get the data.
    • Customers — Sell this data to Software product teams of Chief Revenue Officers and give them a snippet regarding how their competition is pricing. Then upsell for other related data.
  • ‘23 – On underpricing
    • CB Insights initially charged $395/month, had lots of low-value customers who paid too low, churned quickly, and required lots of guidance.
    • A management consultant advised to increase the pricing, put 2 zeros to it. The rationale:
      • Their price looks like a joke internally.
      • No point in waiting behind someone paying a measly sum for the service.
      • Price is an indicator of quality among other things beyond just the core value.
  • ‘28 – The value of private data
    • In an age where generative AI is training on almost all data in the public domain, private data becomes all the more valuable to companies.

Links To Stuff Mentioned

Shreesha S
Shreesha S

Shreesha is a Qualified Certified Management Accountant(CMA) and Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis(CSCA).

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