Review: Techcrunch’s 2008 Year in Review Report

I just finished reading (although some parts I skimmed, like the data tables) Techcrunch’s 2008 Year In Review a report they recently published at a fee, although the executive summary is available for free. Techcrunch is monetizing Crunchbase, their wiki/database of companies and funding, and is now offering research reports –the same industry I’m in. Although my coverage is different as I do research for consumers and large brands, their’s are aimed at startups and VCs, and somewhat bumps up against O’Reilly’s research arm.

Overall, this 143 pages of data offers a broad look at money movement within the technology, startup, and social media space, and is tracking funding, funding types, M&A, VC activity, failed startups, layoffs, and other data. The report also provides a summary of key trends in this space, and highlights key activities during the past year, and takes a stab at some changes that could come in 2009 in their “punch” (predictions) list. The report self-admits that some of the data is not complete, and some industries have holes in them, as wiki-style research will always have limitations.

Heather, (read her response) the CEO of Techcrunch sent the report to me to review, and overall, the report is appropriately priced for a broad set of data that they’ve been harvesting in crunchbase, although there are some data missing, massaging of data, and a useful, but sometimes unrefined graphs. For a first release, this is a solid start, and CEOs at startups should shell out the money if they’re out of touch with the industry and need a refresher, or if you’re an investor, the aggregation will also be helpful.

While certainly not the refined reports that I’m used to seeing, the data is helpful for startups that need to a 30,000 foot view of the funding and market view. Expect their future reports to be more refined, with more insight and recommendations. It’s interesting to watch Techcrunch, which started out as a blog, grow into events, conferences, and now research –multiple revenue streams is a smart move in a difficult-to-monetize space.

Takeaway: While a lot of raw data, and a few good summaries, this report isn’t yet refined. However those involved with funding (lender or startup seeking funding) should invest the $149 to quickly check the temperature of the market, and identify trends in finance and M&A. Expect these reports to evolve over coming years, as Techcrunch continues to expand beyond a blog.

5 Replies to “Review: Techcrunch’s 2008 Year in Review Report”

  1. Thanks for the perspective.

    Why do public institutions invest in venture capital funds, if it’s such a risky business? The answer is quite simple. Over the long run, averaged over multiple funds and vintage years, venture capital has historically produced superior returns than any other legitimate asset class. According to the recent survey of Thompson Reuters, venture capital continues to exceed NASDAQ and S&P returns across all time horizons ,.

    Thomson Reuters’ US Private Equity Performance Index (PEPI)
    Investment Horizon Performance through 9/30/2008

    Fund Type 1 Yr 3 Yr 5 Yr 10 Yr 20 Yr
    Early / Seed VC 0.2 3.8 5.1 37.2 21.6
    Balanced VC -6.4 7.4 11.5 14.9 14.7
    Later Stage VC 8.6 12.0 10.5 8.9 14.7
    All Venture -1.6 6.6 8.6 17.3 17.1
    NASDAQ -21.4 -1.1 3.1 2.1 8.7
    S&P 500 -22.0 -1.7 3.2 1.4 7.5
    All Venture (through 6/30/2008) 5.3 8.5 8.8 16.5 16.9
    All Venture (through 9/30/2007) 26.6 11.0 6.8 17.8 16.4

    Source: Thomson Reuters/National Venture Capital Association

    Lian Pheng, Managing Partner, Gingko Capital (lianpheng@gingkovc.com) has widely published on top-tier journals and publications on insider secrets to fund-raising from venture capitalists, entrepreneurial finance and startup valuations. See 99 Insider Secrets to Startup Financing (www.gingkocapital.com)

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