For businesses, firms, entrepreneurs, and professionals who seek to make well-informed decisions that move the needle, superior market intelligence is crucial. Through market intelligence research, they can establish targeted and data-supported business strategies, help their teams and organizations manage risks, identify new categories and opportunities, and make moves that outmaneuver the competition.
Simply having access to company, industry, or market trend information is no longer enough. Research professionals need market intelligence tools that can surface relevant data with the shortest time to insight. This ability to aggregate data and then filter out valuable signals from the noise is vital not only in laying the foundation for sharp analysis, but in creating an efficient research process.
Those who want to maintain a competitive edge and stay ahead of the curve need a platform that harnesses the power of AI search technology to increase the velocity of insight generation and analysis.
What’s the Best Market Intelligence Software?
When choosing between market research platforms, your search must begin with identifying your organization’s specific needs and challenges. This critical step helps you determine the essential features and benefits that will be a good fit in your workflow and result in improvements in your research process.
Note that the optimal market intelligence solution will vary depending on your organization’s resources and needs. The right research platform should enable you to execute on analysis and strategy with greater efficiency and ease, improve decision-making, and put you in the best position to gain a competitive advantage in your market.
In this article, we will cover two popular market intelligence solutions—CB Insights and PitchBook—to determine how they might suit your business needs. We then compare both with AlphaSense to demonstrate how our platform can fill in the gaps and take your market research to the next level.
We will use the following criteria in our comparison:
- Features, data types, and content sets
- Customer service & support
- Reviews and ratings
Best for: private market financial data for deal sourcing, fundraising, and due diligence
Established in 2007, PitchBook is an award-winning private equity, venture capital, and M&A database used by over 70,000 clients. It is widely recognized for its private market database and reporting and data visualization capabilities, which are mainly used by finance, investment, and sales professionals.
However, PitchBook does have some limitations specifically around the lack of content on regulatory filings, expert research and analysis, and trade journals. Market research professionals who need a tool that extrapolates insights from deep within content sources may not find PitchBook’s search capabilities flexible or powerful enough. It also lacks smart search capabilities, making it more challenging to gather the right insights quickly.
- A comprehensive and reliable library of private company data, including both financial (such as M&A activity, funding rounds, revenue estimates, and more) and non-financial data (such as employee counts)
- Provides insight into the top professionals within private companies
- Offers infographics and market maps
- Powerful filtering and keyword search functionalities that enable the creation of private company screeners and targeted results
- Includes datasets such as patents
- Lacks synonym recognition in search, making it more difficult to find desired insights
- No broker or aftermarket research is available, and equity research incurs an additional charge of $5k plus $500 per user
- Criticized for data accuracy and recency
- Does not provide SEC or global filings
- Offers limited earnings transcripts
- No expert call library is available
- Lacks trade/industry journals
- ESG reports are created in-house
Best for: institutional users who need tech-focused market monitoring, turnkey analysis, and the ability to track existing and emerging tech market trends
Founded in 2008, CB Insights is widely used by Fortune 100 companies as an enterprise-grade product to support monitoring, opportunity discovery and forecasting, and vendor research and evaluation, specifically for the technology markets.
CB Insights is often a vital piece of organizations’ market research solution stacks due to its tech-focused approach. Since its focus is on specific sectors, its use should be supplemented with other more comprehensive market research tools for a deeper understanding of broader market context, trends, news, players, relationships, and activities on both macro and micro levels.
CB Insights Pros
- Tech emphasis, providing valuable data on venture capital, private equity, startups, tech patents, and emerging categories, companies, and trends in technology
- Useful resource for sourcing tech vendors
- Robust data visualization features that produce sleek, easy-to-digest charts, reports, and market maps
- In-house analysts generate regular insights, lists, and forecasts through the CBI platform and client-only content channels
- Wide network of tech companies incentivized to ensure regular updates
- Company health scoring and collaboration tools
CB Insights Cons
- Limited expert call transcripts
- Expert analysis generated in-house
- Enterprise-grade pricing is applied across all subscription tiers, with strict feature-gating per tier
- Platform features not optimized for efficient drill-downs, rather focused on data visualizations designed for overview-type presentations and reporting
- Detailed data coverage is limited to certain industries
- Limited financial data coverage, compared to peers
Best for: comprehensive, in-depth market research for both private and public markets across multiple industries with emphasis on fast, accurate, and useful results
Established in 2011, AlphaSense is used by over 4,000 enterprise corporate clients—across industries that include healthcare, energy, industrials, and technology—to address market landscaping, competitive intelligence, business development, and strategy needs. AlphaSense’s market research platform is also the preferred solution of IR and financial professionals who use it for messaging research, deal sourcing, due diligence, and market monitoring.
AlphaSense’s unparalleled content universe—covering company documents, regulatory filings, news and trade journals, broker research, and expert call transcripts—paired with its robust AI search technology and filtering tools, make it a trusted partner for many of the world’s top corporations and financial institutions. AlphaSense is also consistently recognized as a leader in the industry by G2 and TrustRadius.
- Vast content universe organized around four key perspectives (company, analysts, journalists, vetted experts)
- Proprietary NLP, AI search technology, and sentiment analysis
- Comprehensive market research platform addressing micro/macro, private/public data needs
- User-focused design, intuitive UX
- Integration and collaboration capabilities
- Customizable and automated alerts
- Visualization tools limited to financial data
- Limited collaborative features for knowledge management
Data: Types, Coverage, Source
PitchBook is a go-to provider of private market data, but it’s also working on enhancing its public market data and expert analysis content offerings. PitchBook excels in its private market coverage around financials, stock updates, financing histories, company development information, deals and acquisitions, funds, detailed organization charts, personnel contact, and leadership information.
The company sources data from publicly available datasets, which are then processed through “specialized data operations associates paired with fine-tuned processes and algorithms.” Additionally, their market analysis and company-specific equity research content are provided by their in-house analyst team through the Institutional Research Group, which is part of their parent company Morningstar.
CB Insights is a tech market research company that offers data on financing, valuations, M&A and IPOs, personnel and clientele, and some patent and earnings call transcripts. They collect data points through their Analyst Briefings program and by using machine learning to analyze publicly available sources.
CB Insights’ tech vendor database is comprehensive, robust, and consistently updated. They stand out in the market research category for their data visualization features, which produce easily-digestible content like ranked lists and word clouds. CB Insights is also known for their in-house analysts who publish tech market analysis content and are often quoted in various media channels. Their in-house analysts’ media presence adds a public relations aspect to their Analyst Briefings program.
As an all-in-one market research solution, AlphaSense provides users with access to a comprehensive range of market, company, and investor data from both public and private markets, with its data structured around the four key perspectives of market research—company, journalist, analyst, and expert.
All of AlphaSense’s content is indexed, searchable, and accessible from one place, and also allows users to import their own data to enable querying using our AI-based search features. The platform aggregates primary and secondary content sources, such as international regulatory filings, company disclosures, transcripts of earnings calls and conferences, expert call transcripts, news and trade publications, broker reports, and independent research reports.
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.
PitchBook is designed for ease of use, making the onboarding process fairly streamlined for new users. However, while many appreciate the helpfulness of PitchBook’s high-level filters and search options, others struggle to find specific information as they use more complex queries and filters.
Additionally, the data provided by PitchBook is sometimes inaccurate or outdated, which is a significant problem for those using it for market intelligence, as the lack of reliability creates extra work and reduces confidence in the insights they are gathering from the platform.
CB Insights’ primary focus is on the technology sector, which means it may not be a sufficient resource for researchers and analysts who need comprehensive data on broader markets at both high and granular levels. Notably, users love CB Insights for its visualization tools, which enable users to create visually appealing pitch books, decks, and other reporting outputs.
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 to get a complete picture and support their own analysis.
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
PitchBook offers a personalized onboarding process to its clients, which includes a dedicated account team assigned to each new customer. The account team maintains regular communication with the clients during their journey, and provides unlimited guidance and training as required.
In addition, PitchBook provides live chat and phone support during business hours, and their website includes a self-service Help Center that features FAQs, product video demonstrations, and interactive tutorials.
CB Insights tailors onboarding for each new customer, starting from the quote process, which already requires direct communication from someone from their team. Although their website offers a thorough rundown of their products and services, detailed demonstrations are only available upon request.
CB Insights disseminates most of their product information in an overview format across their various channels, such as their website and YouTube channel. The website also includes articles that provide comprehensive guides on how to leverage their products for maximum value, but these resources are only available to paying customers.
AlphaSense provides extensive assistance and training to all new and existing users to ensure customers get maximum value out of the platform. The product and customer education teams personalize onboarding and training for each customer, involving hands-on training and demos. Every user has access to a dedicated account representative for any questions or concerns. Users can also get help with custom searches and workflow optimization from the product team.
For all users, AlphaSense holds regular training sessions, maintaining a full calendar of live, virtual, instructor-led education webinars. Users can also rely on real-time help from product specialists through the Live Help button within the AlphaSense platform, a feature unique to AlphaSense. Through these customer support channels, AlphaSense demonstrates its commitment to providing exceptional service to users.
Ratings & Reviews
- Comprehensive data on private market financials, deal flow, and market transactions
- Public market data can be improved
- Daunting interface for new users with features not synced with typical market research workflow
- Hard to drill down and isolate insights due to incomplete data and delayed updates
- Misleading trial terms
- 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
- 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
- Patented AI search technology leads to quicker, more accurate insights
- Visualization tools are limited to financial data at this time
- Collaboration tools are limited to users with AlphaSense licenses
Pricing & Billing
PitchBook is priced at an average of $12K/user or $25K/3 users per year, with an additional 7K for every subsequent user. Prices go down as seat numbers go up, and a free trial may be available upon request. Equity research is available but comes at an additional fee.
CB Insights provides customized pricing based on their core services. While public-facing pricing for CB Insights is hard to locate, software pricing aggregators suggest that the core offering starts at $60,000 per year. Additional feature upgrades such as Market Map Maker, Mosaic Scores, Expert Collections, and proprietary data and analytics offerings are available, with corresponding price increases per tier ranging from a couple to tens of thousands.
According to CEO Anand Sanwal, CB Insights’ pricing demonstrates how it’s geared toward institutional customers and may not be affordable for startups, angels, and similar organizations.
AlphaSense users can access the all-in-one market research platform including unparalleled access to market data and expert analysis, proprietary AI search features, and a better, customer-centric user experience at a competitive price point. AlphaSense users have the option between enterprise and per-seat pricing, making it more accessible for businesses of all sizes.
AlphaSense: A Better Alternative to CB Insights and PitchBook?
Both PitchBook and CB Insights position their platforms for enterprise users, offering dedicated customer success managers, and a fully personalized experience from onboarding to implementation.
PitchBook is a valuable tool for those seeking market data for venture capital research, including deal sourcing and due diligence on startups and other businesses. The platform is also ideal for networking, fundraising, benchmarking competitors, and for those looking for more data to inform investment allocation across different asset classes.
However, it lacks certain features such as an extensive expert call library, and it provides limited access to earnings transcripts. The platform does not provide access to regulatory content such as SEC or global filings. Its research capabilities may also be hindered by a lack of advanced AI search functionality or sentiment analysis.
CB Insights, on the other hand, is a market intelligence platform that specializes in tech. It leverages in-house analysts and machine learning algorithms to provide predictive analytics on private companies across specific industries, with a heavy focus on trending markets in the tech sector. It is a valuable resource for investors seeking insight into emerging trends in the tech space, but not so much in the financial space. CB Insights offers various plans for different user groups, but certain features are heavily gated, only accessible by paying more.
For those needing a market intelligence tool with access to both private and public company data across various industries, CB Insights falls short. Additionally, lack of broker research and expert calls, as well as advanced search capabilities, make the high price of CB Insights hard to justify. Moreover, CB Insights only offers licenses for five people at a time, leading to higher unnecessary costs for those who would prefer to purchase an individual license.
Both CB Insights and PitchBook serve their purposes for market research, but for professionals and firms looking to be more proactive, confident, and comprehensive in their research process, AlphaSense is a better option.
AlphaSense is the smart choice for those who seek an all-in-one solution that eliminates the need for off-platform search (Google, or other consumer-grade means) or tedious manual research tasks. With AlphaSense, users have access to a vast content universe that encompasses private, public, premium, and proprietary sources. AI search technology separates the signal from the noise and eliminates research blind spots to help you uncover crucial information faster, make better, more-informed business decisions, and outpace the competition.