At their previous jobs at venture capital firms, Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners, respectively, Neha Singh and Abhishek Goyal often had to help identify prospective startups and make investment decisions.
But it wasn’t always easy.
Startups usually don’t disclose information about themselves, since they are privately held firms and are under no compulsion to share data publicly. So, Singh and Goyal had to constantly struggle to collate information from multiple sources.
Eventually, fed up with the lack of a single source for data, the Indian Institute of Technology graduates quit their jobs in 2013 to start an analytics firm, Tracxn!. Their ambition: To become the Gartner—the go-to firm for information technology research—of the startup ecosystem.
“It’s almost surprising,” Singh told Quartz in an email interview, “that despite billions of dollars invested in each of the sectors (be in foodtech or mobile commerce, or payments, etc), thousands of people employed in this ecosystem and many more aspiring to start something here, there is not a single source which tracks and provides insights into these private markets.”
Tracxn! started operations in May 2013, working from Lightspeed Venture Partners’ office in Menlo Park, California, with angel funding from founders of e-commerce companies like Flipkart and Delhivery. In 2014, the startup began its emerging markets operation with focus on India and China.
“After our first launch in April last year, we scaled the revenues quickly and turned profitable last September, (and) grew to a team of 40,” Singh said. Most of its analysts are based in Bengaluru.
Tracxn! follows a SaaS (software as a service) business model, charging subscribers between $20,000 and $90,000 per year. With a database of over 7,000 Indian and 21,000 US startups, Singh and Goyal now count over 50 venture capital funds among their clients, which also include mergers and acquisitions specialists, product managers, founders and aspiring entrepreneurs.
While firms like Mattermark, Datafox and CB Insights provide similar services, Tracxn! allows investors to get an overview of a sector within the ecosystem before drilling down to individual companies.
“For many funds, we have become a primary source of their deal discovery,” said Singh. “We want to become the default research platform for anyone looking for information and trends on these private markets and companies.”
In April this year, Tracxn! received $3.5 million in funding from private equity firm, SAIF Partners, which it plans to use to ramp up its analyst strength to 150 by the end of the year.
“We keep getting inquiries from investors across various countries (like from Europe, parts of Southeast Asia, etc),” explained Singh. “But we cannot launch them because we don’t have analyst teams for it.”
But with money on its way, Tracxn! now wants to expand coverage into Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam and Europe to build its global database.