Monday, April 15, 2013

A Tool for Open VC Data

A week ago I posted an idea for VCs to share their investments in machine readable form from their own websites. This is the simplest possible way to open up that data without relying on an intermediary that might either become a middleman or a bottleneck.

The first pushback on the idea was that VCs valued being obscure and so wouldn't cooperate. I wrote something in Forbes yesterday in response. The subtext is that some VCs won't share data but there's nothing you can really do about it except recognize that the ones who do share are probably better partners for entrepreneurs.

The other criticism came from Greg Yardley who emailed me to tell me that the sample investments file I put up had a syntax error. I had missed a bracket. Javascript is fiddly. To help me out he put up a tool with a user-friendly front end to create the portfolio objects. This should help you out too if you're going to put one up on your site.

He also improved the spec. He renamed the file from portfolio.js to investments.js--a more accurate description--and added things to the spec that real computer people have, like a version number. The new spec is here.

The tool is at It does several things:

  1. You can create a new investments.js file. This also has the very cool feature of being able to import your existing Crunchbase data to use as a starting point. Huge time saver.
  2. You can edit an existing investments.js file, the site copies the data from your website.
In both cases the result is a investments.js object. You need to copy this onto your computer and upload it to your website.
  • Copy-paste it using a text editor or some-such,
  • Save it on your computer as "investments.js",
  • Upload it to your site using an FTP client, then
  • Let me know! Email me, tweet me (@ganeumann), tweet to @VCdelta, comment on this post or whatever and I will put you on the list of known investments.js files.
Note well: The site does not save your investments.js file, you need to do this yourself. If you leave the site without creating a js object and copy-pasting it to your own machine, you will lose your work. The whole idea is to have us all own our own data. So own it.

Thank you Greg!

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