The Quantified Competitive Landscape
Announcing Our Investment in Crayon
Marketo, Hubspot, Optimizely, Google Analytics, Campaign Monitor, and dozens of other services give marketers incredible insights to parse every data point produced by their marketing campaigns. When it comes to what their competitors are doing, however, they’re left flying blind.
Most startups keep an eye on their competitors by opening tabs in Chrome. They set Google Alerts, task interns to check on rival websites, and employ other laborious processes to create a crude outline of their competitor’s tactics.
Crayon automatically connects the dots and colors in the picture by tracking 117 million web pages across 7.4 million domains and spanning 2.3 million companies. This data, paired with Crayon’s machine learning techniques, lets you ask questions about your competition and have them answered quickly. For instance:
Are competitors posting job descriptions for sales folks in a new geography? Crayon will tell you.
Did the new market entrant revise the product positioning on their homepage? Crayon sends an alert.
What changes are competitors making to their pricing?
Crayon records and relays this info.
Starting pitchers in baseball use scouting reports to preview the players on the other team, Crayon provides the same service to smart marketers and product managers. There are plenty of tools that help companies manage their internal processes; Crayon is rare in trying to help companies act on their competitor’s information.
Team, Team, Team
Crayon’s business case is a no-brainer, but it was the team that convinced me to invest. Co-founder/CEO Jonah Lopin was employee #6 at Hubspot and helped it to become one of the most successful marketing tech startups in history. His co-founder John Osborne was an early team member at AdMob which sold for $750M.
Their CVs are deeply credible, but biography only takes you so far. In the year they have been building Crayon, Jonah and John have created a suite of software tools and convinced 40,000 businesses to take them for a spin.
Crayon Inspire is a free tool that works like Houzz for HTML. Creatives can collect and categorize inspirational examples of pricing pages, CTA flows, and other marcom magic to inform their designs. Crayon Intel, the flagship product that delivers real-time competitive insights, is being used by clients like ZenDesk and Continuum Managed Services.
More Than Money
I’m thrilled to be leading the $3.35M financing of Crayon, but even more excited by the value-add talent around the table. Co-leading the investment is Steve Anderson of Baseline. Steve is best known for being an early investor in Instagram and Twitter, but also has a wealth of relevant knowledge about building B2B products gleaned from his time as an investor in multi-billion dollar companies like ExactTarget.
It’s also great to be working with long time collaborators Scott Belsky (Founder, Behance), Mike Volpe (Former CMO, Hubspot) and Yoav Shapira (Former VP Engineering, Hubspot), along with Hubspot’s co-founders Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan.
If you’re a marketer who wants to color outside the lines of your own four walls, Crayon is the tool for you.