With over 700,000 company profiles, Crunchbase has become a go-to source for data on startups, private companies, funding rounds, investors, and key personnel. While Crunchbase provides an API, it has significant limitations that motivate using web scrapers to extract the full value of Crunchbase‘s data.
In this comprehensive 2,200+ word guide, you‘ll learn how anyone can harness scalable web scrapers to extract Crunchbase‘s trove of business intelligence data.
The Tremendous Value of Crunchbase Data
To appreciate why Crunchbase scraping is so valuable, it helps to understand the immense scale and coverage of data available:
700,000+ company profiles – Ranging from early stage startups to Fortune 500 public companies.
680,000+ founders and executives – Key leadership details on decision makers across industries.
1.7 million funding rounds – Comprehensive details on startup funding histories.
590,000+ investors – Both prominent VC firms and angel investors covered.
6.2 million news articles and data sources – Extensive coverage beyond just what‘s on company profiles.
This makes Crunchbase one of the most expansive sources for data on private companies, which often have little public data available elsewhere.
Even just the funding data is tremendously valuable. According to the Crunchbase 2021 Global Funding Report, funding reached nearly $628 billion globally last year, with over 32,000 funding rounds.
With so much critical business intelligence, it‘s no wonder over 4 million visitors rely on Crunchbase data each month for researching companies, markets, and investments.
Limitations of Crunchbase‘s Official API
Given the value of its data, Crunchbase understandably limits access to its platform. Crunchbase does provide an API for programmatic data access. However, this API has a number of constraints:
Strict usage limits – The free tier API only permits 5,000 requests per month. Even paid plans top out at 50,000 requests, forcing users to carefully ration API calls.
Major data gaps – The API lacks access to much of Crunchbase‘s critical data like in-depth funding details, limiting its utility.
No bulk profiles – Only piecemeal data extraction is permitted, preventing downloading company profiles at scale for analysis.
Slow updates – The API lags behind Crunchbase‘s website data, with delays of weeks or longer in some cases for new data.
Minimal customization – Users cannot tailor API calls to extract just the fields/entities needed for a given use case.
No direct database export – Downloaded API data requires significant transformation for usable analysis.
These limitations mean the Crunchbase API meets only basic needs. To fully harness Crunchbase‘s data requires an alternative approach – web scrapers.
Key Benefits of Scraping vs. The Crunchbase API
Web scraping offers major advantages over the API for extracting insights from Crunchbase:
Unlimited scalability – Extract data on tens of thousands of companies in a single scraper run rather than rationing API calls.
Access more data fields – Pull comprehensive profile data and funding details rather than the API‘s limited subsets.
Always up-to-date – Scrapers draw fresh live data with each run rather than waiting on API updates.
Output flexibility – JSON, CSV, Excel – get scraped Crunchbase data in the optimal format for your use case.
Bulk Downloads – Download entire company datasets for large-scale offline analysis rather than piecemeal API extraction.
Unlimited customization – Configure scrapers to extract just the data points required for your needs.
Cost-effectiveness – Scraping solutions can deliver Crunchbase data at a fraction of the API‘s enterprise price tag.
For any serious business intelligence, research, or analysis application, scrapers deliver Crunchbase data access the API simply cannot match.
Step-By-Step Guide to Scraping Crunchbase
Now that I‘ve made the case for web scraping Crunchbase, let‘s walk through the process step-by-step:
Step 1 – Select a Scraping Service
There are many scraping tools and services to choose from. For ease of use, scalability, and affordability, I suggest cloud scraping services like:
Apify – Specialized platform for web scraping including a ready-made Crunchbase scraper.
ScrapeHero – Simple to use proxy-based scraper with nice UI and monitoring.
ParseHub – Centered on visual scraper configuration without needing to code.
ScraperAPI – API and browser extensions for ad hoc web scraping.
Apify in particular stands out for robust, managed scraping infrastructure while ScrapeHero provides the most beginner-friendly experience.
Step 2 – Configure Scraping Inputs
Next, you‘ll configure the target websites for scraping. Two main options:
Keyword Search – Scrape search results across Crunchbase for given keywords like "SaaS companies" or "Fintech startups".
URL List – Upload a list of specific Crunchbase URLs to precisely control what gets scraped.
Usually keyword search works best for broad discovery while URL lists allow focusing on companies of interest. Most tools support both approaches.
Step 3 – Run the Scraper
Once configured, initiate the scraper to visit Crunchbase and extract the specified data. Larger scrapes with thousands of pages may run for hours while smaller scrapes just minutes.
Scraping services provide dashboards to monitor progress and completion percentage as your Crunchbase data gets extracted in real time.
Step 4 – Export the Scraped Data
After a successful completion, export your scraped Crunchbase data for analysis. CSV and Excel formats work well for spreadsheet use. JSON retains nested data structures for database loading.
Here‘s an example of data fields typically extracted into each row/record:
"description":"AI-powered SaaS platform",
"location":"San Francisco, CA",
"Insight Venture Partners",
"Bessemer Venture Partners"
// And much more
Now this rich Crunchbase data is available for custom applications and analytics.
Step 5 – Load into Databases & BI Tools
To enable ongoing analysis, import the scraped Crunchbase data into databases like MongoDB, PostgreSQL, or Microsoft SQL Server.
For business intelligence, connect the database to tools like Tableau, Looker, or Sisense to build dashboards and apps.
With the right infrastructure, scraped Crunchbase data can power everything from investment research to competitive intelligence.
Key Data Fields You Can Extract
Here are some of the most valuable data fields typically extractable from each Crunchbase company profile:
- Official Name
- Permalink URL
- Email Format
- Company Type
- Company Size
- Operating Status
- Year Founded
- Total Employees
- Key People (names/roles)
- Total Funding Amount
- Investors (all)
- Funding rounds (dates, amounts, lead investors)
- Acquisition/IPO details
- Headlines and News Articles
- Videos and Podcast Links
- Social Media Links
This covers most of the profile, descriptive, and financial data needed for robust company analysis.
Real-World Use Cases for Crunchbase Web Scraping
Now let‘s explore some real-world examples of how businesses are using scraped Crunchbase data:
Investment Research – Hedge funds like Marshall Wace scrape Crunchbase to build profiles of all companies in target sectors to identify promising investments.
Competitive Intelligence – Salesforce maintains a database of all VC-backed competitors scraped from Crunchbase to closely monitor emerging threats.
Due Diligence – During acquisitions, diligence firms like Kroll augment buyer research with scraped Crunchbase funding and leadership data.
Recruiting – Recruiters at top companies scrape Crunchbase people profiles to identify key talent at desirable startups to poach.
Market Sizing – Management consultancies like Bain leverage funding data from Crunchbase to size and model total market opportunities.
Lead Generation – B2B sales teams scrape Crunchbase to build targeted lists of potential customers based on keywords, funding, locations, etc.
These examples demonstrate the tremendous value web scraping unlocks from Crunchbase data across industries.
Best Practices for Managing Scraped Crunchbase Data
Once you have Crunchbase data via scraping, proper data management and infrastructure enables ongoing value. Here are some best practices:
Cloud databases like BigQuery or Snowflake for affordably storing billions of rows of data.
Data transformation using ETL tools like Informatica to prepare scraped data for analysis.
Data relationships like company to funding round joins for more advanced analysis.
Access controls to ensure scraped Crunchbase data remains secure and compliant.
Ongoing scrape schedules to keep exported data fresh as Crunchbase profiles update.
Business intelligence integrations to put scraped data insights directly into employee workflows.
With some thoughtful planning, Crunchbase scraping can scale from one-time research up to continuous business insights.
Guidelines for Ethical Web Scraping
While immensely valuable, it‘s important we discuss some ethical considerations when web scraping platforms like Crunchbase:
Respect robots.txt – Never scrape sites who explicitly forbid it. Thankfully Crunchbase permits responsible scraping.
Don‘t steal content – Scraped data should only be used internally and not republished verbatim.
Attribute data – If publishing analysis based on scraped data, cite Crunchbase as the source.
Limit volume – Moderate scrape frequency and volume to minimize server load impacts.
Secure data – Store scraped data securely and limit internal access to protect sensitive information.
Honor opt-outs – Immediately cease scraping profiles of individuals who request removal.
Follow Terms of Service – Comply with all os Crunchbase‘s policies around allowable data usage.
Adhering to these ethical principles ensures you remain a conscientious data consumer while benefiting from Crunchbase scraping.
Crunchbase Scraping Tool Comparison
If contracting scraping services, several top providers beyond Apify include:
- Intuitive visual interface for configuring scrapers.
- PDF, Excel, CSV export formats.
- Affordable pricing starting at $99/month.
- 14 day free trial.
- Simple proxy-based scraping, no complex configuration.
- Custom scraping servers for maximum control.
- Excel and JSON exports.
- Free 7 day trial.
- Visual web scraper configuration.
- Chrome extension for scraper debugging.
- Automatic or manual scraping modes.
- Generous free trial plan.
- Integrates scraped data into apps via API or Zapier.
- Proxy rotation for avoiding blocks.
- Higher cost but sophisticated solution.
- 14-day free trial.
For most users, I‘d recommend starting with the easiest and most affordable tools first before assessing if a more advanced solution like Import.io would provide added value.
Enrich Crunchbase Data with Additional Sources
While exceptionally useful, Crunchbase should not be your only web scraping data source. Complementary sources to enrich understanding include:
- LinkedIn – For org charts, employee details, and contact info.
- Facebook/Twitter – To analyze social media presence and traction.
- AngelList – For profiles of early stage startups.
- Pitchbook – For private capital markets data.
- Y Combinator – For benchmarking against alumni startups.
Blending data from these sources with Crunchbase enables building a true 360-degree view of companies and markets.
Crunchbase Scraping Delivers Competitive Advantage
In closing, let‘s hear from two professionals leveraging Crunchbase web scraping in their work:
Michael S., Portfolio Manager:
"My team scrapes Crunchbase weekly to get the latest funding data on all our target investment companies. This allows us to monitor valuations, investor activity, and capitalization – delivering an edge over less data-driven funds."
Amy V., Management Consultant:
"Web scraping Crunchbase has become a standard part of our market analysis process for clients. The ability to download and model funding trends in spreadsheet gives us immediate insights competitors lack."
Their experiences demonstrate that responsible Crunchbase scraping for internal intelligence purposes provides significant competitive advantages.
Crunchbase‘s trove of private company data is too valuable to be harnessed solely through their limited API. Modern web scraping solutions unlock limitless ways to apply Crunchbase data for business insights.
This in-depth 2,200+ word guide covered everything you need to extract and operationalize Crunchbase‘s data at scale. I encourage all investors, consultants, analysts, and data professionals to seriously consider adding web scraping to their skillset to access this game-changing source of business intelligence.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions on leveraging Crunchbase scraping as part of your tech stack for data-driven decision making!