Open Systems, Open Data, Transparency
Hank Williams points out that the front page of the Angelsoft website is really great. For those that don’t know Angelsoft is a free web service that many angel investors use to manage their deal flow. We’ve looked into using it to manage our deal flow and I wish we could use it, but we don’t currently.
Hank and his commenters mostly focus on the twittervision style map on the front page that shows the real time deal sumbmissions geographically. I agree that’s neat, but like twittervision, it’s a novelty that I don’t feel provides lasting value.
The underlying data, however, is really interesting. Angelsoft is showing the following data on their front page.
The Funnel of Submissions to Transactions
The Industry Breakdown
Deal Submissions Over Time
Now this is really useful data to both entrepreneurs and VCs and it’s not readily available for free anywhere that I know of. Angelsoft has even more data on this page.
If every VC and every angel investor used Angelsoft, or even if a represntative sample used Angelsoft, then we’d be able to see exactly what is going on in the venture market in real time (or near real time). But right now, the user base is heavily weighted toward angel investors and the data is skewed in that direction as this chart shows.
We don’t use Angelsoft because we have specific workflow issues in our firm that make it hard for us to use it. Instead we use a wiki. We used to use Jot until it was bought by Google and rendered basically unusable over the past year. We recently switched to Zoho and are quite happy with that choice right now.
I’ve said before that I’d love to integrate our wiki deal log with Crunchbase via their api to pull company information when they have it and to push company information to them when they don’t. I’d also love to push our deal information (with much of our firm specific info removed) into Angelsoft and other similar systems so that their data becomes better and richer and more meaningful.
The venture industry has been served over the years by a few proprietary databases of deal/transaction information. I’ve always refused to pay for that data because we basically know most of that information from being in our market every day. But the idea of collaborating with all the players in the market to build a completely open set of web services, built on open data, to provide full transparency would be a big step in the right direction.
I applaud David Rose and the Angelsoft team for being so open with their data and I applaud Crunchbase for their openness too. I hope others will follow in their footsteps.