Valona (formerly M-Brain) is a competitive and market intelligence platform that combines proprietary technology and human intelligence to collect, filter, and analyze information. Businesses use this platform to perform tasks that include market analysis, research, strategic planning, and decision-making.
Like several other advanced market intelligence platforms, Valona utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline the research process and ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy in its results. Additionally, Valona has user-friendly visual dashboards that display the latest content and comments relevant to any theme of interest.
Valona offers three key solutions:
- Intelligence Plaza: Intelligence Plaza is a comprehensive intelligence tool that collects market information from multiple sources and stores it in one central location. This includes data from field intelligence, social media, market reports, and daily news feeds. Valona helps you translate this data into battlecards, dashboards, insight discovery and commentary for your organization.
- Market and Competitive Intelligence Monitoring and Analysis: This solution allows you to keep track of your competitors, customers, and key market movements.
- Research and Advisory Services: This solution helps with decision-making, strategy, research, forecasting, due diligence, and benchmarking.
Trusted by over 500 global enterprises, Valona is a great option for corporations looking for a web and social media listening tool for competitive intelligence purposes. It would most benefit companies that require classified content, as it pertains to social media, as well as companies that need quick and accurate summarization of news, trade articles, and industry databases for their competitive research.
However, Valona has limitations and is not suitable for all businesses. Its content sets and features are designed to serve corporations, but financial services clients may find the platform inefficient to their workflows due to a lack of key premium content sets and functionalities.
Even for corporations, Valona is only relevant and useful for competitive intelligence roles. It does not hold premium market research content sets, such as broker research or expert calls. Despite the AI and machine learning elements, the search engine is not robust or advanced enough to truly surface all the important and valuable insights necessary for a complete picture of a trend, industry, or market.
Corporations and financial institutions that want to move the needle and gain a true competitive advantage need a platform that aggregates premium, proprietary, private, and public content sets—such as broker reports, expert insights, and company documents—and uses advanced search technology that helps eliminate research blind spots and maximize efficiency and accuracy.
- Contains features that enhance multiple functions in your business, including decision-making and market awareness
- Visual dashboard shows the latest content and comments relevant to a theme
- Supports collaboration and data sharing within an organization
- Advanced search features for relevant information
- Performs both competitor and market analysis
- Uses generative AI to produce business summaries
- Lack of content relevant to financial services professionals
- No expert call library or company filings
- No access to broker research
- Lacks sentiment analysis
- Steep learning curve for new users
- Lacks sophisticated search technology
- Only provides access to publicly available, low-value content
- Provides little to no value outside competitive intelligence roles
Below, we walk through some of the top alternatives to Valona, as well as who would benefit most from each solution.
Top Valona (M-Brain) Alternatives
Best for: Conducting comprehensive competitive research and analysis with advanced AI features for added speed, accuracy, and scope—all in one place
AlphaSense is a leading all-in-one market intelligence platform and smart search engine. It’s the ideal tool for research and business professionals—from analysts and financial researchers to corporate professionals—looking to implement a qualitative research strategy powered by proprietary AI technology and automation.
AlphaSense users include 80% of the top consultancies, 85% of the S&P 100, 75% of the top asset management firms, and 20 of the largest pharmaceutical companies.
AlphaSense is also consistently ranked as an industry leader on TrustRadius and G2, and it was recently recognized by Forbes as one of the top AI companies in 2023.
In order to help users get a complete picture of the market, AlphaSense’s extensive content universe provides access to over 10,000 sources of private, public, premium, and proprietary content—indexed, searchable, and all in one place.
This content is organized by the four key perspectives of market research:
- Expert – 35,000+ interviews conducted by experienced buy-side analysts with pre-vetted industry experts with direct operator experience. With AlphaSense Expert Insights, you can conduct your own 1:1 calls for less.
- Analyst – Equity research published by financial analysts from leading Wall Street firms, focusing on national and global issues. AlphaSense offers a library of equity research specifically for corporate clients, which is called Wall Street Insights®, as well as a library of aftermarket and real-time research for financial services client.
- Company – Documents published by public and private companies, including SEC and company filings, earnings reports, presentations, transcripts, and ESG reports
- Journalist – Content published in major news networks, trade journals, and government and NGO publications
Alongside this vast content universe is AlphaSense’s smart search and AI capabilities, which speed up research and cut a user’s time to insight, making the research process more proactive, efficient, and accurate.
This platform serves various needs for all its corporate clients, including corporate development, competitive intelligence, strategy, and market landscaping. Beyond that, IR and financial professionals use AlphaSense for, due diligence, messaging research, market monitoring, and deal sourcing.
Other unique features within the AlphaSense platform designed to enhance your research process include:
Smart Synonyms™ is a proprietary feature that uses AI technology to understand your search intent and deliver results relevant to your initial query, as well as all relevant synonyms.
This feature uses advanced algorithms to eliminate noise from your search by cutting out irrelevant content that includes any matching keywords with unrelated search objectives. This leads to less information overload and saves valuable time for other business-critical strategy and analysis tasks.
AlphaSense helps you stay updated on any trend, breaking news, or other relevant updates through real-time alerts. These customizable alerts automatically notify you about any news, market movements, emerging trends, industries, key topics and competitor companies of interest. Additionally, AlphaSense generates and sends frequent snapshots of companies, keeping users abreast of intelligence, critical insights, and market changes.
Instant Company Insights
AlphaSense offers Search Analytics and Company Tearsheets to help you keep tabs on specific companies. These tearsheets provide updates on any companies currently on your radar, while delivering deep and wide reach across countries, regions, document types, industries, and more.
Instant company insights can also help you focus your research on a particular competitor, discovering critical insights that can push your competitive advantage to the next level.
Sentiment analysis is a natural language processing (NLP)-based feature that mines content and identifies the sentiment behind the language in earnings and expert calls. The text is then color-coded for users to indicate positive, neutral, and negative sentiments.
AlphaSense also gives each search term and document a sentiment score, illustrating how positively or negatively a company or the market at large feels about a particular topic, as well as how sentiment has evolved over time. Sentiment analysis enables users to pick up on subtle shifts in tone that could signal upcoming market movements and gain a deeper understanding of an industry or trend.
Unlike other generative AI (genAI) tools that are consumer-grade and trained on publicly available content across the web, AlphaSense takes an entirely different approach. As a platform purpose-built to drive the world’s biggest business and financial decisions, our newest Smart Summaries feature leverages our 10+ years of AI tech development and draws from a curated collection of high-quality business content.
With Smart Summaries, you can glean instant earnings insights—reducing time spent on research during earnings season, quickly capture company outlook, and generate an expert-approved SWOT analysis straight from former competitors, partners, and employees.
- All-in-one research and intelligence platform
- Extensive content database that spans the four key perspectives of market research, including broker research and expert calls
- Incorporates sentiment analysis, NLP, generative AI, and AI search technology
- Smart Summaries generative AI feature for earnings and image search
- Automated and customizable alerts
- User-friendly interface
- Internal messaging and collaboration features
- Support for APIs and integrations
- Visualization tools are limited to financial data at this time
- Collaboration tools are limited to users with AlphaSense licenses
Best for: Sales enablement and tracking unlimited competitors
Another alternative to Valona is Klue, a competitive intelligence platform used by companies to streamline competitor analysis. Klue enables product marketers and other users to plan, collect, analyze and distribute competitive intelligence information across organizational departments.
Similarly to Valona, Klue is an automated web crawler which searches across the internet and online for competitor information. Klue gathers insights about competitor product offerings, launches, changes in marketing and price strategies, and other relevant data.
Klue sources this information from publicly available sources like newsletters, press briefings, releases, social media, customer reviews, and offline content. Klue users can also add their own research insights about the company or its competitors.
To help you gain a competitive advantage with the intelligence collected, Klue:
- Collects and curates data collected about competitors from multiple public sources
- Uses its proprietary AI to add context to your research findings, process insights faster, and help you understand your competitor’s overarching strategy
- Helps you generate exceptional content for your business and marketing strategies. That includes enhancing pre-existing battlecards and boards around competitors and new market trends
- Allows you to share your curated findings across multiple business departments, leading to better company-wide decision-making, planning and strategy execution.
- Enables you to set targets measure your success against your competitors
Klue supports collaboration, enabling you to share insights across the organization using pre-existing tools. Klue connects to Salesforce, Slack, and Microsoft Sharepoint, which can streamline your workflow.
Despite its exceptional features, Klue falls short in several key areas compared to its alternatives, most notably access to premium content sources and storage. Ultimately, Klue has limited use outside of competitive intelligence roles, since it’s primarily a web listening tool that only gives access to public data and it lacks a data storage function.
- Comprehensive competitive research and tracking features
- High quality battlecard options
- Navigable, intuitive, and scalable platform
- Supports collaboration and integrations
- Offers high company data security
- Has a community forum for collaboration with other users
- Steeper learning curve than other tools
- Data storage occurs outside the platform
- Limited data sources—only public data
- No expert call library
- No SEC filings, earnings estimates, or financial reports
- No broker research
- No trade journals or newspapers
- No advanced search capabilities or sentiment analysis
- AI does not deliver insights in real time
- Best for competitive intelligence but limited usability for other roles
Best for: Search engine marketing, competitor keyword research, content marketing, and SEO
Semrush is a SaaS and content marketing tool enabling users to grow their online traffic organically using keyword research, analysis, and SEO techniques. It can help improve your rankings using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media management, content marketing, and ecommerce competitor analysis.
Digital marketers, SEO professionals, content creators, small businesses, and website owners often rely on Semrush to grow and improve their online presence. With Semrush, users can track and analyze their website’s search engine rankings. On the competitive intelligence side, they can use Semrush to monitor competitors’ online marketing activities, track their ranking, review keywords used, and identify new opportunities to improve their web presence.
- Site Audits tools for technical SEO tasks, including improving SERP performance and troubleshooting ranking issues
- Domain Analytics to assess top websites with high domain authority to identify organic keywords, improve search engine visibility, traffic, and more
- Backlink Analysis to evaluate and identify link-building opportunities
- Keyword Research insights for new keyword opportunities, suggestions and optimization
- Advertising Research to monitor competitor advertising strategies, keywords, ad copy, and landing pages
- Social Media Management tools for monitoring, scheduling, and tracking posts on social media accounts
For users seeking a comprehensive market research and competitive intelligence solution, Semrush is the least ideal option. Semrush does not aggregate any premium content sets necessary for full-scale research, and it has no advanced AI search technology that would help uncover actionable and differentiated insights.
Semrush is most fitting for users looking to optimize their online presence across search engines and social media, while also monitoring competitors’ web presence.
- Provides a wide range of digital marketing tools and services
- Offers detailed insights into competitors’ online marketing activities
- User-friendly interface with easy-to-use features
- Provides in-depth analysis of website traffic and rankings
- Offers customized reports and recommendations for optimization
- Utilizes sentiment analysis in its media monitoring
- May be overwhelming for beginners due to the wide range of features
- Some features are only available on higher-tier plans
- Keyword data accuracy may vary
- No real-time data access
- Lacks advanced AI search technology
- No access to content sets necessary for market intelligence, such as company documents, news, broker research, and expert calls
- Not suitable for financial services or corporate professionals looking for advanced market insights to drive business strategy and decision-making
Best for: Competitive intelligence across multiple functions, including supplier, risk, media, and opportunity intelligence
Contify is another market and competitive intelligence platform for businesses and professionals. It helps you keep track of competitor strategies, as well as sales and marketing metrics. It also provides unique customer insights and market research from over 500,000 sources.
The Contify platform uses AI and NLP to collect and analyze data from company websites, regulatory portals, job boards, social media, and market research reports.
It can give you intelligence on your competitor’s business and financial performance, as well as track competitor business expansions, products, services, social media posts, operational and legal challenges, and job postings. Contify also monitors key market players, thought leadership blogs, case studies, and recent trends to help you steer your business in a profitable direction.
Contify provides access to a wide range of data related to market and competitive intelligence, including:
- Global and regional industry trends
- Mergers and acquisitions analysis
- Significant market changes
- Regulatory changes
- Emerging threats and opportunities
- New technology and innovations
- Company and executive profiles
- Current and future business priorities
Contify comes with a variety of features that include: news tracking, market intelligence, competitor tracking, and customer insights.
Users can collaborate and share knowledge using the news API, which enables teams and co-workers to collaborate more effectively and make better data-driven decisions.
Contify serves businesses of all sizes and across various industries, including financial services, healthcare, technology, and consumer goods. It can track multiple companies at once, making it particularly useful for companies looking to expand their market presence, launch new products, or stay ahead of the competition.
- Uses AI and NLP to collect and analyze data
- Real-time updates and customizable alerts
- Provides a centralized platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing
- Offers a user-friendly interface with easy-to-use features
- Offers intelligence on multiple functions, including regulations, innovations, M&A, Industry themes, and patents
- Features smart translation feature for over 100+ languages
- Pricing ranges from $1000 to $10,000/month, making it a restrictive CI platform
- Some users have reported issues with data accuracy and customization options
- No broker research
- No expert calls
- Lacks sentiment analysis
Best for: Customer relationship management
Another Valona alternative is Salesforce, a cloud-based customer relationship management platform. Salesforce helps businesses grow by managing customer relationships, sales, marketing, and customer support.
Salesforce offers tools businesses can use to automate sales and marketing processes, as well as track potential leads and conversions. In addition, Salesforce can help businesses retain new customers, manage customer relationships, and analyze collected data to improve business processes and decisions.
Salesforce key features include:
- Marketing Cloud to manage all marketing activities, including email and social media advertising, PPC, and customer journey mapping
- Sales Cloud for all sales activities, including lead generation and conversion opportunities. It can also project future sales and manage the customer pipeline
- Service Cloud enables you to manage customer interactions, including customer self-service, case management, and knowledge management.
- Commerce Cloud helps you manage all e-commerce activities for your online store, including product catalogs, orders, returns, shipping, and customer experience
- Community Cloud helps you build online communities, including customer, partner, and employee portals
Salesforce also offers a range of integrations and add-ons that allow your workflows to remain seamless across your business organization.
Businesses of any size can streamline their sales, marketing, and customer service using Salesforce CRM, especially if they have complex sales processes or manage massive amounts of customer data.
However, unlike the other solutions on this list, Salesforce is not a market intelligence or competitive intelligence tool. While it can improve business, from the customer management perspective, it lacks the content sets or advanced search technology to help users launch a full-scale market research process.
- Comprehensive set of sales, marketing, and customer service tools
- Highly customizable with a range of add-ons and integrations
- Cloud-based, allowing for easy collaboration and access from anywhere
- Robust analytics and reporting capabilities
- Active community of users and developers
- Steep learning curve for new users
- Can be expensive, particularly for smaller businesses
- Requires ongoing maintenance and updates to ensure optimal performance
- Limited support for certain industry-specific needs, such as healthcare or financial services
- No access to proprietary or premium content sets like broker research and expert calls
- Lacks necessary content sets and features to qualify as a robust market intelligence or competitive intelligence tool
- No advanced AI search technology
Choosing an Alternative to Valona
Valona is a great option for corporations looking for a web and social media listening tool for competitive intelligence purposes. However, due to its lack of certain premium and proprietary content sets and search features, this platform cannot function on its own as a full-scale market intelligence solution, especially for enterprise-level firms. Those looking for a platform that goes beyond just competitive intelligence insights will need to consider other options.
When choosing an alternative, consider the following criteria in your search:
- Data coverage: What kind of data do you need access to in order to gain a complete picture in your research? Some platforms will come with premium content sets like broker research and expert calls, while others may only come with lower-value public data. Consider what type and volume of data is necessary for your goals.
- Data quality: When choosing an alternative to Valona, opt for one with accurate, up-to-date, and reliable data. User ratings and reviews from websites like G2 and TrustRadius can help you make better decisions here.
- Pricing: Consider your competitive analysis budget when choosing an alternative. Some tools are more expensive than others, although they serve identical functions. Choose a platform with flexible subscriptions or one that falls within your budgetary limitations.
- User interface and user experience: A market intelligence platform should streamline your workflow and enhance your research process. Make sure that the solution you select is truly benefiting you, whether by saving time, increasing confidence, widening the breadth of your research, or all of the above.
- Additional features: Consider what additional features, other than content sets, are paramount to your process and workflow. Might you benefit from advanced AI search features like synonym recognition and sentiment analysis. Or maybe you need automated monitoring, company tearsheets, or customer analytics? Make sure the platform you choose supports your unique business needs and makes your job easier.