Startup Search: tracking the web startup ecosystem

Tonight I am unveiling a new site tracking the startup ecosystem. It’s a directory and analytics tool I’ve personally wanted for a long time, and I know others will enjoy. Introducing Startup Search.

Startup Search screenshot

Startup Search tracks Web startups, their products, key employees, investment firms, and investment partners. Startup Search also tracks the success of each product since it was first introduced to the world, using publicly available metrics pulled into a single page. It’s a research tool, a discovery engine, and a fact-filled directory of our little Web startup world. I’ll walk through a few features.

Directory data

Startup Search is a data-driven website tracking facts and figures about the entire web industry. You might be familiar with a particular web product, but who is the parent company? Where do the founders live and work every day? Have they taken funding, and if so, from what firms or investors?

In today’s web directory data about startups and their employees was locked behind a paywall. A service such as VentureOne might call your company on behalf of a paying venture capitalist and ask questions about the company to help build a profile. Startups would never see this data, only provide information to someone they may never meet on behalf of a venture capitalist they may never meet. I want to change the flow of information, placing more power in the hands of anyone who would like to blog about, take a job with, or invest in some of the companies Startup Search covers.

Startup Search also covers some data you might never find inside of an existing directory. Who are the 12 angel investors in Dogster who collectively contributed $1 million? Who is the team behind Blinksale? Who is Felicis Ventures?

There may be some entirely new data areas covered as the directory expands. Good feedback will reveal just how much has changed.


Each product is tied to a set of statistics I call buzz and traffic. Buzz measures the level of conversation around a product such as links from the web and from blogs, or mentions of the product’s name in blog posts or web searches. Traffic accumulates daily Alexa data together with monthly data from Quantcast and Compete into one single page.

I enjoyed deconstructing the Alexa data and putting it all back together again. All data is licensed using the appropriate APIs for each provider. I hope to increase my data coverage and site features over the next few days at Google Developer Day and Where Camp.

More to come

I wanted to release the product and iterate out in the open based on the tons of feedback available. I plan to introduce more features for startups who would like to claim their profile on the site. I’d also like to introduce more tools to help people track the business aspect of their startup such as tracking new statistics activity or perhaps researching interesting partners.

There is a lot more to be constructed from all the underlying data available at Startup Search. I could sort every possible venture capital investor based on their political affiliations and donations, or compute a possible burn rate based on a company’s business headquarters.


I hope you enjoy Startup Search and the tools contained within. The companies and features available now are just a beginning, with many iterations and expansions to come.

Startup Search is powered by Python, Django, and YUI. Bryan Veloso of Revyver designed the site using his new love for grid design. The site is currently sponsored by venture capital firm True Ventures for the month of June, and I hope to continue supporting some site costs through run-of-site sponsorships for the near future. There are many eggs and APIs coming together behind-the-scenes, and I’ll likely discover a few more likely sources of inspiration over the next few days.



Commentary on "Startup Search: tracking the web startup ecosystem":

  1. Jackson West on wrote:

    That is one damn handy tool for my job. Thanks, Niall!!!

  2. Ted Rheingold on wrote:


    Seriously, congrats Niall. Very impressive. Way to get it live and out there with so much content it’s a little scary (Stay off my Angels people ;)

    Congrats Niall!

  3. Denis Laprise on wrote:

    Superb execution. I really like it!

  4. Courtney Benson on wrote:

    Niall – Outstanding idea, can’t wait to review. Good Luck and keep the data rolling in.

  5. Alexander Muse on wrote:

    Wow, great work. Wish I had thought of this first! If it works out, we might consider using it as a template for other startups outside of Web 2.0 – i.e. state verticals, bio-tech, eco-startups and so on… Thoughts?

  6. Venkk on wrote:

    Excellent tool. Thanks!

  7. Venkk on wrote:

    Excellent tool. I am curious to know if you are crawling to add the startups or initially they are added manually?

    Thanks for the great tool!

  8. Nate Koechley on wrote:

    Niall, congrats on the launch. It seems like a great and interesting service.

    I’m very happy to see that it uses YUI to add richness and responsiveness to the interface!


  9. Jeremy Zawodny on wrote:

    Well done, Niall. Nice use of YUI too. :-)

  10. Dan Cohen on wrote:


    Outstanding site…this is a REALLY useful “normalization” of disparate information to form a unique composite view of a company along different dimensions. Brilliant. Used the stuff from Startup Search on our company in an internal presentation today and everyone was blown away.


  11. Noah W. Smith on wrote:

    Thanks for setting that up, Naill – I think the site will be a service to everyone involved in the startup process. One suggestion: perhaps have some sort of designation between stages of startups because it would be interesting to browse those stratifications.

  12. lockergnome on wrote:

    Wondering what the heck you were up to. :) This is pretty darn nice – a one-stop shop that’s only gonna help digest and distill even more information. Goodonya, man.

  13. Hatem on wrote:

    Waw amazing, thanks Niall for the service ! I just miss RSS for different channels (latest prods, latest companies, …).

    • Niall Kennedy on wrote:


      RSS feeds have been available for each object listing since launch. It’s exposed as a link alternate on each listing page.

  14. Ron on wrote:

    Marvelous Idea Niall. I hope it’ll help we people. Keep it up.