Today Santa Barbara, CA-based FindTheBest, a data-driven comparison platform targeted at both businesses and consumers, announced that it has closed an $11 million Series B funding round from New World Ventures, Montgomery & Co. and Kevin O’Connor, the founder and CEO of FindTheBest and formerly of ad platform DoubleClick, among other investors. The site currently averages almost 20 million monthly visitors, and the company plans to use the funding to enter new verticals, expand internationally, and further build out its monetization platform.
“The initial focus really was helping people make big decisions quickly and easily, so we’re kind of Kayak for the other thousand big decisions in life. We f focus on highly considered purchase decisions that consumers and businesses make, so it can be anything from CRM software to nursing homes to colleges or smartphones,” said CEO Kevin O’Connor in an interview with BetaKit. “A lot of markets people really ignored, you had your shopping comparison, which is really price comparison, and then you had a really big decision to make in life and nothing was out there.”
Powered by what it refers to as a Data-Driven Content Platform (DDCP), an engine which brings together FindTheBest’s proprietary technology with human curation, the company sources data obtained from public and third-party databases, manufacturer and vendor websites, in addition to expert and user ratings. That data is then presented in user-friendly tables equipped with filters and smart ratings to given consumers and businesses the tools to hone in on what they’re looking for according to their own criteria.
Spread across nine broad categories that includes home and family, health, electronics, and business, users of FindTheBest are able to track down everything from the best dating websites to office printers, all based on FindTheBest’s ratings. In addition, the company also has a network of sites built on the proprietary data content platform that includes FindTheData, FindTheCompany, FindTheListing, and FindTheCoupons.
In terms of the startup’s business model, O’Connor said its revenue primarily is derived from sponsored comparisons and listings. “Really the model is people need to make decisions, they need accurate data to do it,” O’Connor added. “Now when you do that, you gather people who are in the market for highly considered purchased items. I learned from DoubleClick days that there’s no more valuable information from a marketing standpoint.”
And while there are a variety of places on the web for either consumers or businesses to go for product comparisons, with VERSUS IO, Sortable, and Yotpo being a few of the other startups BetaKit has covered in the space, O’Connor said it’s the technology powering the platform that is really its biggest advantage. He noted that though the data may be different with each individual category, the process is the same, and using its platform the company is able to scale out to other verticals and topics relatively quickly.
That holds true for scaling across international markets as well, and according to O’Connor it took the company roughly a week to get ready to launch in Korea, with the startup also gearing up for launches in Spain, New Zealand, and Germany to name a few. The company’s biggest hurdle may just be habits people have already developed by defaulting to Google or any number of other alternatives for research, however if it proves to make the process as quick and accurate as it promises, it stands a chance to tackle the option paralysis most consumers face in today’s market. Whether it can also provide sponsored comparisons and listings without compromising the quality of its comparisons is another question altogether.