With information overload reaching new heights, the future of the search engine may be heading towards a specialized direction. Grata is the B2B search engine for discovering small to middle-market private companies. The company addresses a common problem that business development professionals in private equity, banking, and recruiting companies face – the inability to discover relevant, up-to-date information on these companies. Combining a blend of web crawling technology and natural language processing, Grata’s automation saves countless hours of time spent manual searching while prospecting and qualifying.
AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Andrew Bocskocsky to learn more about Grata, its core technology, and recent funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $3.2M in Seed funding. The round was led by Bling Capital with participation from Accomplice and Alumni Ventures Group, along with former executives from Goldman Sachs, American Express, and Citi, and other advisors.
Tell us about the product or service that Grata offers.
Grata is the first search engine built for discovering small to middle-market private companies. Our SaaS platform automates the B2B research process on the 30 million businesses in the U.S., helping business development professionals across private equity, banking, and recruiting discover companies instantly.
Through proprietary Natural Language Processing (NLP) and web crawling technology, Grata’s fully automated platform removes the need for hours of manual research, creating positive financial opportunities for business professionals that would like to target small to mid-sized companies, a segment that has remained largely untapped due to limited access to proper digital search tools and outdated traditional databases.
Our customers come to us because the processes that are in place today are too manual and are in need of technology to streamline these tedious yet necessary tasks.
What inspired the start of Grata?
My cofounder Nevin Raj and I were classmates together at Harvard. We worked as consultants and engineers at McKinsey, Palantir, and startups, where we experienced firsthand the difficulty in researching small to medium-sized businesses. At that point in our careers, you were really unable to search for information on these companies in a way that was digestible, and oftentimes the information you received was out of date. We realized that the marketplace was in desperate need of a source of truth and Nevin and I connected on the liking of search and automation working in tandem. With the vision of being the source of truth for middle-market company information Grata was created.
How is Grata different?
Grata is different in that no other search engine like it exists in the market today. In focusing on small to mid-sized companies specifically, we arm business development professionals with the tools they need to understand this underinvested segment of the economy. Unlike a traditional Google search or legacy database, Grata enables professionals across private equity, banking, and recruiting to discover companies instantly and by strategic fit, whether that be by what they do, how they’re positioned, or the markets they target. Customers can expand their footprint by capturing hard to find companies that aren’t in the news or raising capital. They can also go beyond short descriptions, static industry codes, and conference lists by searching full websites, find look-alike companies that mirror their best investments, and provide personalized experiences to prospects at scale.
What market does Grata target and how big is it?
Our target market consists of business development professionals across private equity, banking and recruiting. The market for B2B information is currently over $30B and growing, as companies are becoming more data-driven and embracing more technology.
What’s your business model?
We offer subscriptions to our B2B search engine.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
This has been a particularly challenging time for business development professionals who have had to find new ways of meeting prospects outside of conferences, in-person meetings, and other traditional methods. We’ve seen an uptick in business development professionals innovating their process and adopting new tools. We’re excited to be a part of this transformation in the market and have seen consistent month-on-month growth through this year.
What was the funding process like?
It was very virtual. Like most businesses nowadays, we mostly met potential investors via Zoom. In the end, our investors were a natural fit because of their deep understanding of our space and the opportunity we are chasing.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Being first-time venture-backed founders, we struggled to break out of the bootstrapping mindset. It required us to think about the world in years rather than on a month by month basis. Ultimately, this shift has helped us chart a clear path to our ultimate vision for the company.
Being first-time venture-backed founders, we struggled to break out of the bootstrapping mindset. It required us to think about the world in years rather than on a month by month basis.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We share the same vision as our investors. We’re both excited about the massive opportunity in middle-market and small business data. Our investors not only backed our vision but the innovation in machine learning technology we’ve built over the last few years that makes the collection of this information viable.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’re planning to use our new capital to scale our proprietary search engine technology, accelerate product development, and grow our engineering and sales functions, including doubling our employee count in the U.S. Through aggressively investing in our infrastructure to make every small to mid-sized private company in the US searchable, we’ll be expanding our deep well of data to sources like job postings.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Before the fundraise, we bootstrapped Grata and reinvested our profits into our technology. My advice would be to prioritize your product and your customers. Early-stage investors have a long-term view and will back great businesses regardless of macroeconomic conditions – we learned this from fundraising during the height of COVID.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In the near term, we will be expanding our data coverage to all US businesses and grow our engineering team. At the end of the day, our data and technology will be what makes the biggest impact on our customers.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC?
ABCV in union square – the most amazing healthy food! Great for a treat or celebration.
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