Launch Pad: Anand Sanwal ENG’97/W’97, Founder of CB Insights

This week on Launch Pad, Karl Ulrich interviews Anand Sanwal, ENG’97/W’97, Founder of CB Insights.

What CB Insights does sounds daunting: a software and data company, they mine immense amounts of unstructured data, like patents, venture capital financing, news media, or government grants, to try to predict technology trends.

Frankly, it is very impressive. Basically, CB Insights helps large corporations—mainly corporate strategy, corporate innovation, product groups—that are trying to figure out what markets to enter or what companies to invest in or acquire.

There are, of course, lots of analysts out there doing exactly the same thing, using what Sanwal calls the 3 Gs: “Google searches, gut instinct, and guys with MBAs.” But, as he goes on to explain, “there are things that machines are better at doing, that are just beyond human cognitions.”

Using computers to do these analyses also allows them to mine data for hundreds of thousands of private companies, instead of manually looking at just one or two at a time.

Listen to hear more about how CB Insights mines this valuable data—as well as why the original name for the company—Chubby Brain—didn’t last.

Bonus: Hear Karl make fun of Survey Monkey’s name.