There’s also a super awesome asset inside TechCrunch that doesn’t get much attention. It is Crunchbase. There have been many attempts to build premium databases for the venture capital and startup world. All of them suck. But Crunchbase, which is free, almost open, almost peer produced like Wikipedia, is fantastic. Whatever happens to TechCrunch AOL, please don’t mess up Crunchbase. It is the premier data asset on the tech/startup world and an incredible example of how free beats paid in the online world we live in.
Fred Wilson’s take on Crunchbase – surrounded by musings on the fate of TechCrunch, its staff and its voice – is right on.
In a time when big data has become the new social, AOL can’t for a minute ignore the value they have in the Crunchbase database. Nor can they imagine the time and effort that it would take to recreate it and the user base should it dry up and whiter away.