Market intelligence is paramount for businesses, firms, entrepreneurs, and professionals who aim to make confident, well-informed decisions. Market intelligence research provides the foundation for focused, data-driven business strategies, from mitigating risk to keeping tabs on new opportunities and competitor moves.
Yet, today’s modern research professionals face a deluge of noise due to massive amounts of information that both the markets and their players generate. Business acuity no longer means just being versed on what influences and moves the market. Isolating useful signals from the noise is crucial to contributing meaningfully to organizations and achieving business success.
The reality is that merely aggregating data is insufficient, and is, at best, only a preliminary step to generating critical insights. To be truly effective, research professionals require market intelligence tools to surface useful relevant data and insights quickly. That way, they can put more of their valuable time toward high-value tasks like analysis and strategy.
Given the current speed of information, incorporating AI into research workflows is essential for professionals who want to stay ahead of the curve and ensure their organization remains on the leading edge.
What’s the Best Market Intelligence Software?
When choosing a market intelligence solution, the right choice depends on your specific needs, business context, and research workflow. Every organization must assess its unique success factors and drivers, as what works for one team may not work for another.
The budget for a market intelligence solution that makes sense to an organization varies from case to case. Firms in highly-competitive and high-stakes areas can more easily justify a costly tool that will effectively drive market-beating decision-making.
Ultimately, the key factor in selecting a market intelligence solution is whether it aligns with your organization’s specific needs and objectives. This requires taking stock of your goals, priorities, and available resources and evaluating how a market research solution would impact daily research and analysis tasks, business challenges, and strategic goals.
This post compares three popular market intelligence solutions: CB Insights, Crunchbase, and AlphaSense. By providing a comprehensive breakdown of each solution, we hope to help readers decide which option best fits their needs.
We will compare each one based on the following criteria:
- Features and data types
- Customer service & support
- Reviews and ratings
Here’s a quick overview of each platform:
Best for: institutional and enterprise-grade users who need to monitor existing and emerging market trends and key players, particularly in the tech sector
Founded in 2008, CB Insights is a market intelligence platform focused on the tech sector. CB Insights provides data and intelligence on venture capital, startups, patents, business relationships, and tech sector news to aid professionals, investors, and organizations looking to understand existing and emerging tech market activities and trends.
CB Insights is an enterprise-grade product widely used by Fortune 100 companies primarily to support tech market monitoring, opportunity discovery and forecasting, and vendor research and evaluation. Because of its focus on tech, CB Insights serves as a vital piece of market research solution stacks, supplementing other more comprehensive market research tools. Researchers and analysts can rely on CB Insights as a database for tech markets but would require other solutions to get a deeper understanding of broader market trends, news, players, relationships, and activities on the macro and micro levels.
CB Insights Pros
- Strong focus on the tech sector, valuable data on VC, private equity, startups, tech patents, and emerging categories, companies, and trends in tech
- Good resource for tech vendor sourcing
- Robust data visualization features that produce sleek, easy-to-digest charts, reports, and market maps
- In-house analysts churning out regular insights, lists, and forecasts through the CBI platform and client-only content channels
- Wide network of tech companies incentivized to keep information up-to-date
- Company health scoring
- Collaboration tools
CB Insights Cons
- Limited expert perspectives as expert analysis is mainly from in-house analysts
- Enterprise-grade pricing across all subscription tiers, with strict “feature-gating” per tier
- Platform features not tailored for efficient drill-downs, but more geared toward data visualizations for overview-type presentations and reporting
- Detailed data coverage is limited to certain industries and use cases
Best for: identifying decision-makers and key contacts for outbound sales, sourcing deals, and overall business outreach
Established in 2007, Crunchbase is a sales intelligence platform boasting over 75 million users across free and paid accounts. Drawing from their investor network, contributor community, and company self-submissions, Crunchbase enables users to identify vital contacts within the startup ecosystem, including stealth, seed-round, early-stage, and late-stage startups.
Despite its easy integration with most sales tools like CRMs and outreach platforms, the depth and breadth of market intelligence on Crunchbase is relatively limited compared to its competitors. Typically, sales professionals, executives, investors, startup founders, and researchers utilize Crunchbase to identify crucial contacts for outreach and deal sourcing. Although researchers and analysts can find value in Crunchbase, it primarily serves as a resource for high-level company information and personnel.
- Provides valuable data for sales prospecting
- Allows users to export the data
- User-friendly interface
- Enables filtering by multiple categories such as stage and location
- Alert fatigue can be a problem
- Data accuracy and recency issues
- CRM integration may not be seamless
- Database is not comprehensive, especially for private companies
- Advanced search capabilities like synonym recognition are not available
- Absence of supplementary content sources such as expert calls, earnings transcripts, ESG reports, and brokerage reports.
Best for: conducting comprehensive qualitative market research and analysis with advanced AI features for added speed, accuracy, and scope
Established in 2011, AlphaSense is consistently ranked as an industry leader by TrustRadius and G2, and was recently recognized as one of the top 50 AI companies by Forbes.
AlphaSense serves corporations for market landscaping, competitive intelligence, and strategy, while IR and financial services professionals use it for messaging research, idea generation, deal sourcing, due diligence, and market monitoring.
The platform’s unparalleled content universe, covering company documents, regulatory filings, news and trade journals, broker research, and expert call transcripts—together with its robust AI search technology and filtering tools—sets AlphaSense apart from other market intelligence solutions. With its ever-expanding database of private, public, premium, and proprietary content and intelligent search capabilities, AlphaSense helps to expedite time to insight, transforming research processes from reactive to proactive.
- Vast content library structured around four critical perspectives
- NLP and AI-powered search technology and sentiment analysis
- Smart Synonyms™ technology that helps eliminate research blind spots
- Search Analytics and Company Tearsheets that provide updates on companies of interest to you
- An all-in-one research platform
- Intuitive, user-friendly interface
- Integration and collaboration capabilities
- Customizable and automated alerts
- Limited visualization tools available for financial data only
- Collaboration tools are limited to users with AlphaSense licenses
Data: Types, Coverage, Source
CB Insights is best known for its focus on tech market data, analytics, and in-house expert analysis. CB Insights provides data on financing, valuations, M&A and IPOs, personnel and clientele, and some patent and earnings call transcripts.
They have two primary sources of data: the CB Insights Analyst Briefings program, which incentivizes companies to submit detailed profiles and internal information to gain access to the CB Insights client base as an audience, and their use of machine learning to “crawl, classify and extract millions of insights from unstructured documents” from publicly available sources. Their database of company-submitted patent data fuels their patent analytics feature, which is helpful in understanding and forecasting the direction of a specific company or category. Their expert analysts and machine learning models also power features like market sizing estimates and company health scoring.
Since many companies turn to CB Insights at various vendor identification and evaluation stages, CBI’s tech vendor database is comprehensive, robust, and consistently updated. One of the key differentiators of CB Insights in the market research category is its data visualization features, which harness data to produce easily-digestible content like ranked lists and word clouds. These are useful for fast-tracking high-level understanding of market trends and data, as well as fueling CB Insights’ editorial reach.
CB Insights is a prolific publisher of tech market analysis content from their in-house analysts, making their mark as an oft-quoted source across various media channels. This adds a PR component to their Analyst Briefings program.
Crunchbase concentrates on the private market, providing data that centers around company details, funding updates and rounds, expansion patterns, technological infrastructure, investments, organizational charts, and financial synopses. Crunchbase also offers greater insights into startups than most of its competitors.
The platform sources data through its investor network, community contributors, and company self-submissions. To verify data accuracy and detect irregularities, Crunchbase uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to “validate data accuracy and scan for anomalies.”
AlphaSense is a comprehensive platform covering market, company, and investor data from both public and private markets, providing users access to the four key perspectives: company, journalist, analyst, and expert.
The platform aggregates both primary and secondary sources of content, including international regulatory filings, company disclosures, transcripts of earnings calls and conferences, news and trade publications, expert call transcripts, broker reports, and independent research reports, all indexed, searchable, and accessible from one place.
In addition, AlphaSense features two proprietary content sets:
- Wall Street Insights® – A collection of leading equity research from 1,000+ sell-side and independent firms, covering global industries, sector themes, and companies. These resources are indexed, searchable, and available from the AlphaSense platform.
- Expert Insights – Expert Insights solutions includes the Expert Transcript Library—an ever-expanding library that currently hosts 35,000+ expert call transcripts with competitors, industry experts, professionals, customers, and former and current executives—as well as Expert Call Services. Expert Insights prioritizes compliance throughout the content development process and has a team of trained compliance reviewers who ensure research safety for clients.
CB Insights’ main focus on the technology sector means that it may only serve as a supplementary resource for researchers and analysts who require comprehensive data on wider markets, both at a macro and micro level.
CB Insights is most known for its visualization tools that make it easy for users to create pitch books, decks, and other reporting outputs, making it easier to present complex information visually. Their platform has been described by many as sleek and aesthetically pleasing.
CB Insights puts an emphasis on the usability of data for the latter portions of typical market research workflows—evidenced by the fact that their core offerings are mostly created with the involvement of their in-house analysts. While every piece of content within CB Insights includes attribution, it might create bloat in workflows for researchers and analysts who need to isolate relevant raw data from primary sources in order to get a complete picture and support their own analysis.
The simplicity and social-media-inspired design of the Crunchbase website make it user-friendly. Sales professionals, in particular, appreciate the platform’s integration with widely used sales tools, which simplifies and speeds up the prospecting and lead enrichment process.
However, the scarcity of information beyond in-depth company profiles significantly hinders users who require extensive market and company research. Additionally, duplicate entries and outdated data points are recurring problems, even in the case of company overviews and organizational charts, which are known to be Crunchbase’s strengths.
Unlike its competitors, AlphaSense is designed to be a one stop shop for market intelligence, giving you aggregated access to company documents, news, expert call transcripts, and broker research.
Additionally, AlphaSense’s AI capabilities help streamline and expedite manual research tasks and eliminate the need to CTRL+F through documents with limited keywords. Its user-friendly interface is designed to integrate with market research workflows seamlessly and can be customized to meet specific requirements.
The platform’s ability to surface valuable data quickly and the access to premium content such as broker research and expert call transcripts are two primary reasons why users choose AlphaSense.
Customer Service & Support
CB Insights offers a personalized onboarding process, which includes a dedicated account team for each new customer. From the start of their engagement with CB Insights, clients can expect to have interactions with someone from the team.
While their website provides comprehensive information on their products and services, detailed demonstrations are typically only accessible by direct request. CB Insights presents most of their product information in an overview format across all their channels, including their website and YouTube channel. Additionally, the website features some articles that offer in-depth guidance on how to maximize the value of their products, but these resources are gated and only accessible to paying customers.
Crunchbase provides free self-guided signups for users until they upgrade to the Pro plan. These signups come with assistance from the knowledge base. For Enterprise and Data Enrichment tiers, direct onboarding support is available. These users are paired with a dedicated customer success manager.
Additionally, all clients, regardless of their plan, have access to the self-service knowledge center on the Crunchbase website and can contact the support team via email.
AlphaSense offers comprehensive support and training to ensure a seamless and efficient user experience. The product and customer education teams provide personalized ramp-up and learning sessions that include hands-on training and demonstrations. Every AlphaSense user has access to a dedicated account representative who is available for any questions or guidance. The product specialist team can even create custom searches for research professionals to streamline their workflows.
AlphaSense maintains a regular training calendar for live, virtual, instructor-led AlphaSense Education webinars. Additionally, the platform offers a self-service knowledge base with product and user guides.
One aspect that distinguishes AlphaSense from CB Insights or Crunchbase is the live Help button on the website, which enables users to chat with product specialists 24/7 and receive instant support for any issues or queries. This dedicated customer support reflects AlphaSense’s commitment to providing exceptional service to its users.
Ratings & Reviews
- Great resource for monitoring market trends and company profiles in the tech sector
- Useful newsletters
- Fun and pretty interface
- Not a comprehensive market research tool: limited data and primary source discovery
- Overpriced for what it offers
- Good for identifying core people and getting contact information
- More sales intelligence than market research
- Not enough global data
- Sometimes inaccurate data
- Comprehensive data and analysis on public and private markets
- Real-time data availability
- Easy-to-find relevant and high-quality results
- Intuitive interface and great customer support
- Smart AI search technology leads to quicker, more accurate insights
- Visualization tools are limited to financial data at this time
- Lack of collaborative tools for knowledge management
Pricing & Billing
CB Insights provides customized pricing based on their core services, which include Core Intelligence, Client-only Newsletter, Industry Analytics, and Tech Search Engine. While public-facing pricing for CB Insights may vary among their channel partners and affiliates, software pricing aggregators suggest that the core offering starts at approximately $60,000 per year. Upgrades to additional features such as Market Map Maker, Mosaic Scores, Expert Collections, and proprietary data and analytics offerings are available.
According to CEO Anand Sanwal, CB Insights is geared toward institutional customers and may not be affordable for startups, angels, and similar organizations.
The Crunchbase service is offered at several different pricing tiers, with each subsequent tier including more functionality and user benefit.
- Free tier
- Starter: $29/user, annual billing, 7-day trial
- Pro: $49/user, annual billing, 7-day trial
- Data Enrichment license: $2K per user, annual billing – free trial possible by request for teams of 10+
An AlphaSense user can access smarter features, a better user experience, and an extensive content universe at a competitive price point. Users can choose between enterprise or per-seat pricing, making AlphaSense a more accessible option for businesses of all sizes.
AlphaSense: A Better Alternative to CB Insights and Crunchbase?
CB Insights is a valuable resource for investors interested in gaining insights into emerging trends. However, while CB Insights provides detailed analysis on specific companies and industries, it may not offer the comprehensiveness or accuracy required to fully understand markets and generate the type of insights that could give organizations and professionals an edge over their competitors. Additionally, the platform’s “out-of-the-box” insights and analysis may not be suitable for research professionals who require a more in-depth understanding of the markets in a way that allows for dynamic, confident decision-making.
Crunchbase, meanwhile, is an excellent choice for salespeople, entrepreneurs, investors, and market researchers seeking to identify new business prospects. They offer both Starter and Pro plans with a self-activating free trial, providing access to up to 100,000 companies and integrations to popular tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Outreach. However, the search results on Crunchbase are limited beyond basic company profiles, and inaccurate or outdated data is a recurring problem on the platform. As a result, Crunchbase may not be the best fit for enterprise users or individuals who require more in-depth research on markets and companies.
CB Insights and Crunchbase have successfully provided solutions to a wide variety of loyal customers. However, for professionals and firms with extensive and rigorous research needs that require quick insights to make market-beating decisions, AlphaSense remains the top choice.
AlphaSense is the ultimate market intelligence platform for forward-thinking research and corporate professionals looking to optimize their market intelligence strategies with the context of today’s market landscape. The platform boasts an extensive content universe encompassing private, public, premium, and proprietary sources—all in one place—as well as cutting-edge AI search technology to help you separate the signal from the noise and turn crucial insights into action.