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AOL: Hand Over CrunchBase and Nobody Gets Hurt

Dear AOL,

Congrats on your recent acquisition of TechCrunch- there’s no better team reporting on tech these days. They’ve really come into their own over the last couple of years and are producing high-quality articles and videos at scale and driving conversations forward that are important to all of us. I think you’re going to make a fortune selling ads against their content. Well done.

Now that I have you all buttered up, I have a request. Within that tapestry of websites you bought is woven a gem in our little corner of the world. It’s our very own anthropologic artifact that we’ve been co-creating with Mike and his team over the years. Within its hyperlinked catacombs lie hieroglyphs of startups as they rise, as they fall, as they exit into immortality and as they submerge quietly into the dead pool. It’s an invaluable daily resource for many of us.

Which is why I’m writing. CrunchBase is not much of a traffic driver within the TechCrunch network of sites, and it’s starting to show. Look, I know it’s only been a few months since the acquisition closed, but CrunchBase is already getting sad. Page load speeds are borderline unbearable, traffic seems to be sliding and content is becoming stale. As someone who has contributed data to CrunchBase and as a near-daily user of the service, I want to make sure this gem gets the attention it deserves.

So, here’s what I’d propose. Invest some resources into CrunchBase to get the performance back and service on track (would a mobile interface kill you?). If that’s not going to happen, hand it off to a company who can give it the attention it needs and understands why it’s important to us (perhaps my partner Tim’s company would be willing to take it over). If you don’t want to hand it over to another company, perhaps we could create a non-profit to carry CrunchBase forward as an independent repository of data for the technology startup community.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope this note conveys how important CrunchBase is to some of us. Many have tried and failed to build a similar service in the past, but Mike and his team were actually able to pull it off. Please don’t screw it up.


This post originally appeared on the author’s blog, It is syndicated here with his permission.

Bryce co-founded O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) in 2005. At OATV he focuses on consumer and enterprise software and services investments.

His investments at OATV include, Foursquare, Get Satisfaction, OpenCandy, OpenX, Parakey (acquired by Facebook), and Path Intelligence. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Brigham Young University.

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