The other day I saw a preview for the new Jennifer Aniston show (or maybe this part of the story was actually my co-founder Adam Coughlin, who just binge watched Friends for the first time) and I got excited. And then I got angry when I realized it was on Apple’s new streaming service. The cost for their monthly service in and of itself is minimal. But it is getting out of control how many different subscriptions I need to watch the shows I like. From Netflix to HBO to Amazon Prime to Hulu Plus to Showtime to YouTube TV for sports to now Apple and Disney the landscape is so fragmented it is difficult to follow and keep up. I am sure I am missing shows that would bring me joy.
I feel this same way when it comes to researching companies, specifically early stage private companies. As I wrote in a previous blog, I’ve made my career by being the most prepared person in the room. I want to walk into any meeting knowing cold the market I am talking about and the company I am talking to. This isn’t an easy task. Unlike publicly traded companies, private company data is scattered and often unreliable. To get a complete and accurate picture I have to cobble together multiple data sources. This is a manual and laborious effort, but it’s integral to my success.
Here are some of my favorite resources for researching a new company I’ve just learned about:
- Google Search
- Google News
- Company website
- Company social feeds
- Alexa Web Information
- Whois Lookup
- SEC Edgar
- …and more!
This process is time consuming and annoying. I hope someday there is an easier way (🤔). But it is important to cross check your information across multiple data sources and curate a point of view of reputation, market momentum and scale gleaned for this work product. By doing that I’ve found a trend that tends to emerge.
While learning about the company, product and market from these sources, you also begin to get an understanding of the level of maturity in go-to-market capabilities of the company due to the clarity, frequency and activity in these various areas. As someone who lives and breathes GTM, I appreciate the mature companies that are crushing it and taking their craft to the next level. For the ones that are immature in these capabilities, I know I can add value during my conversations with their executives. But they all can improve and get better on their path to greatness.
What are your go to sources for researching companies? Share them with me on Twitter. I can live with not watching a popular television show. But not knowing a good, reliable source of data for early stage companies is something that would mean I’m missing an edge and I never want to do that.