Rajan Madhavan co-founded data company Owler which raised $26 million

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How many of us have dismissed the idea of a potential startup because of inhibitions about where we would stand amongst a gamut of competitors?

A considerable amount, I’m sure.

On the contrary, how many of us thought that a website would curate all the required information about every company we could possibly think of and save us the time that goes into research?

Not many.

Owler is one such website which crowdsources competitive insights by providing news alerts, company profiles and polls and allows members to follow, track, and research companies in real time.

The company was founded in 2011 and is an American Internet company headquartered in San Mateo, California, with an office in Coimbatore, India.

A platform for competitive insights, it provides the most accurate, up-to-date business information in existence, helping business professionals from around the world outsmart their competition and uncover the latest industry news and alerts.

Owler provides a lot of information about companies including their estimated annual revenue, the estimated number of employees, founder(s) and CEO.

There is also a section called ‘Overview’ which provides information about when it was founded, where its headquarters are, which sector of the industry it belongs to, et cetera. There is also a section on the website where it provides hyperlinks to the company’s competitors.

Owler’s unique selling proposition is ‘The world’s largest community-based competitive insights platform.’

Owler is unique because its usage is not restricted. It is for everyone: from startups to large enterprises (including 96 per cent of the Fortune 500), and teams of a few members to organizations of 15,000 people.

Owler is used across all levels and departments, including CEOs, marketers, sales reps, finance professionals, VCs, product managers, engineers, and everyone in between.

Owler was founded by Jim Fowler, Rajan Madhavan and Tim Harsch. Jim Fowler is Founder and CEO of InfoArmy and serves on the Board of Directors of CrowdFlower. Prior to InfoArmy Jim founded Jigsaw in 2003 and was CEO until it was acquired by Salesforce in May 2010 for $175M.

Jigsaw is best known for pioneering Crowdsourcing in the B2B information industry and for creating the business category of Data-as-a-Service (DaaS). Before his career in technology, Jim was owner and operator of Lookout Pass, a ski resort in Idaho, and served in the US Navy as a Diving and Salvage Officer. Jim is a graduate of the University of Colorado and lives in San Mateo, California with his wife and son.

Rajan Madhavan is the Co-Founder & VP of Engineering at Owler. Previously he was the Director of Engineering at Salesforce. He studied Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering from Bharathiar University.

Tim Harsch is the CEO at Owler. He hails from San Francisco, California. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Electrical Engineering modified with Computer Science from Dartmouth College in the year 2011. His specialities include B2B, Crowdsourcing, Product Design and Implementation.

Owler was founded in 2011 with the name InfoArmy by Jim Fowler, Rajan Madhavan, and Tim Harsch and originally operated under a different business model. Fowler previously founded Jigsaw (now called Data.com), another crowdsourcing Data as a Service platform that was sold for $175 million to Salesforce Inc. in 2010.

InfoArmy launched publicly in June 2012 and had 28 employees as of October 23, 2012. InfoArmy began as a crowdsourcing model where two-person research teams would compile one report on each company. Most researchers were stay-at-home parents, freelance workers, and international BPO workers. Access to InfoArmy’s reports cost $99 for a year-long subscription and three quarterly reports.

In January 2013, InfoArmy announced that its business model would not be sustainable in the long term. Hence, they decided to pivot their business model.

On February 1, 2013, InfoArmy was relaunched as Owler, Inc. using a different business model. Owler offers a free mobile and online platform for company information and interactive business news. Members can choose to “follow” a set of companies, and Owler provides a personalized news feed and daily email summary of the latest news on those companies.

Owler members can also sign up to receive immediate notifications when major business events (such as funding, acquisitions, or leadership changes) occur. The competitive intelligence featured on Owler comes from two primary places: it is both hand-curated by Owler employees from sources across the web, and crowdsourced from Owler users, referred to as the “Owler Community.” Unlike other business information services, Owler polls its members to gauge market sentiment and current trends.

Their team of passionate problem-solvers is committed to disrupting the tired data industry with the most accurate, real-time community-driven business information in existence. With a dozen employees in their Silicon Valley headquarters and 70 member team in India, they’re a global company making waves in the data industry.

Owler users rely on three different email products: Daily Snapshot, Instant Insights, and Weekly Showdown. Owler’s web platform includes 15M+ company profiles and is the destination for uncovering competitive business intelligence on your entire Business Relationship Graph including your competitors, customers, prospects, partners, and vendors.

Owler has raised a total of $26.3 million in funding over 3 funding rounds. Their latest funding was raised on August 27th, 2018 from a Venture – Series Unknown round.

Owler raised their first $2 million on the 1st of June, 2011, in a Series A funding round by an undisclosed investor. Norwest Venture Partners invested $17.3 million in the company the next year on 23rd October in 2012. This was a Series B funding round. They raised $7 million in their latest funding round.

Owler is powered by a vibrant community of over 2 million business professionals. To date, Owler Community members have contributed 24 million unique insights through Opinion Polls presented via email and its web platform, about topics ranging from private company revenue estimates to CEO approval ratings, to employee headcount, and more.

Owler is powered by an active community of 1.5 million business professionals, who contribute unique business insights such as competitors, private company revenue, and CEO ratings. From startups, all the way to large enterprises (including 96% of the Fortune 500), CEOs, salespeople, marketers, product managers, and all types of business professionals use Owler daily.

With unique data on 15 million searchable company profiles and proprietary community is driven Competitive Graph, Owler helps business professionals uncover competitive insights and discover new companies that participate in their space. Owler’s web platform provides members with real-time insights not found anywhere else and helps them outsmart their competition.

Owler users receive three free email products. Weekly Showdown shows weekly competitive insights that delight users. Instant Insights delivers immediate announcements on funding, acquisitions, and leadership changes. Daily Snapshot surfaces top news stories, blog posts, and other coverage relevant to each person’s unique Competitive Graph (competitors, customers, prospects, and industry sectors news).

Owler’s Competitive Graph maps the relationship between companies. It was created by Owler’s over 1 million members who regularly update their competitors (as well as provide estimates on critical data fields like revenue/employee numbers, CEO ratings, etc.). The Competitive Graph maps how closely companies compete with one another, allowing Owler to rank competitors. The Competitive Graph powers all of Owler’s products, allowing the company to provide highly personalized email alerts and feeds

According to their website, Owler is gearing up for 10 million active users. It is expanding the insights users can contribute and innovating new ways to understand that information. It will be extensively mapping relationships between businesses like no one else has before.

Owler competes with InsideView, DataFox and ZoomInfo among others. InsideView powers the world’s business conversations, helping companies redefine their go-to-market strategies from a volume-based to a more targeted approach.

Its leading Targeting Intelligence platform helps sales and marketing teams quickly identify and qualify the best targets, engage with more relevancy, close more deals, and retain and expand accounts.

Our solutions are used by more than 500,000 sales, marketing and other professionals in over 20,000 market-leading companies including Adobe, Apple, Rosetta Stone, Canon, and Zuora.

InsideView’s CRM partners include Microsoft, Marketo, Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, NetSuite, Landslide, Pivotal, Oracle and SAP. InsideView’s content relationships include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Thomson Reuters, Capital IQ, Cortera, and NetProspex.

DataFox is a company intelligence platform that helps sales, marketing, and investing teams find and prioritize target companies to source more opportunities. DataFox’s team of 100+ human analysts verify AI-sourced insights on millions of businesses to provide robust Company Data, Growth Signals, and Account Scoring.

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, DataFox is backed by Goldman Sachs, Green Visor, Google Ventures, and Slack, and used by high-growth startups and Fortune 500 companies alike; examples include UPS, Accel Partners, Bain & Company, Twilio, Zendesk, and Outreach.

ZoomInfo’s Growth Acceleration Platform provides access to more direct dials and email addresses than any other B2B contact provider. Even better, because verified professional and business profiles come fully loaded with detailed information about prospects, including web mentions, employment history, and direct access to colleagues, you can engage ideal buyer personas and accounts in a more meaningful way.

For over 15 years, ZoomInfo has used its diverse portfolio of proprietary technology, a community of 300,000+ users, and third-party integrations to collect, organize, validate, and publish the most comprehensive directory of business data in the marketplace.

In conclusion, Owler is a game-changing tool for emerging entrepreneurs and people who would like to be informed. It enables us to understand our business ecosystem and make informed strategic decisions.

This not only enables a company to outsmart their competition but also provides them with timely updates about their developments. Owler is definitely my go-to website for getting information about companies around the world. What about you?

So, what are your thoughts on this story?
Tell us in the comments.

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Vasundhara Dhadiwal
I'm quite gauche, tbh. I despise texting abbreviations and Internet acronyms and the fact that I find myself guilty of using them every once in a while. I study mass communication and photography gets me by. I am as old school as they come. I devour books while a plate full of food is waiting to be eaten. Life is quite okay but I struggle with the in-betweens. I'm just a regular girl but I believe that I'm going to be a very big deal someday.

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