October 6, 2015
Before we broke for lunch on the final day of this year’s Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference Danielle Morrill took to the stage to give a keynote speech all about data. More to the point, she spoke about her role as cofounder and CEO at Mattermark, detailed some of her journey, and told us why it’s important to give people broad sweeping access to data we all want and need.
“All I’m going to be doing the rest of my life is organize all the world’s business information,” says Morrill.
For her, data is important because it sometimes supports a hunch. This is especially important when it comes to discovering, tracking, and quantifying high growth companies and private investors – that is, in a nutshell, the directive Morrill has set for the crew at Mattermark.
“Did you know you can’t even get a list of all the companies in the world? Sure, you can find out from your chamber of commerce who the locally registered companies are, but not a combined list for the globe,” says Morril.
What she’s getting at is that it’s hard to get the data you need to analyze, no matter what purpose you’re trying to get it for. Note: that’s not just an applicable statement for startups but rather businesses in general.
For example, she showed us a few Google queries that turned up relatively no information. Specifically, she asked Google which startups raised VC in 2014 and what’s the market size for SaaS.
The problem, as she explained, was that this data is something a low level person in a firm is going to need but not going to be able to get. That is, these queries are actually blocking them from answering their initial question. That’s the absolute worst thing, because that’s your most surface level question.
Usually, in business, you answer one question and it leads directly to another one, and then yet another one. This chain of questions runs all the way until you finally get to the one you really needed to ask in the first place. However, it’s far down the list and with data being locked into private spreadsheets, it’s near impossible to answer.
Why is this an issue? Morrill explained it perfectly:
“Say im an associate at Grelock and I need to see the deals that happened last year. I’ll make my own spreadsheet, but how many other people made the exact same spreadsheet? It’s nuts that we do this in the modern age because our time is precious,” says Morrill. “That’s the whole reason we should care, because I want to go home at five and do my job well.”
When Morrill first founded Mattermark a lot of people told her she was building something that was too small. As the platform was built out though, she realized that they were only scratching the surface of something much, much bigger.
From a data collection standpoint, as she tries to collect the world’s business data, Morrill admits that she’ll buy whatever she can to help fill the gaps. However, she’s dedicated to building the rest: the real value isn’t in workflow here, it’s in taking people through a process.
For example, if you’re an investor you need to make sure you’re taking meetings with people you actually want to invest in. You wouldn’t invest just with data alone, albeit it’s a great jumping off point.
“Everything comes down to relationships: human beings being good at connecting with one another,” says Morrill.
On October 4-6, Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference is gathering hundreds of attendees, industry leaders, and inspiring speakers in downtown Vegas to meet the hottest startups and investors from around the country, learn and collaborate with others turning their communities into startup cities, and enjoy music, parties, and llama spotting. Check out more Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference coverage here.
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