Owler (formerly named InfoArmy, Inc.) is a web and mobile Internet publisher of business information, providing news alerts, company profiles, and polls. InfoArmy formerly used crowdsourcing to gather competitive intelligence on businesses. Members conducted research online to create a structured database of company profiles. Researchers were incentivized by a revenue-share and gamification elements. Owler allows its members to follow, track, and research companies in realtime. Members can choose to "follow" a set of companies, and Owler will provide a personalized newsfeed and daily email summaries of the latest news on those companies. When major events occur, such as acquisitions or leadership team changes, Owler members can receive notifications. Owler uses handcurated information from multiple sources across the web, as well as a crowdsourcing model called the "Owler Community". It polls its members to gauge market sentiment and current trends. Owler has 98 employees and is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with an office in Coimbatore, India.
InfoArmy was founded in 2011 by Jim Fowler, Rajan Madhavan, and Tim Harsch. Fowler's previous company was Jigsaw, another crowdsourcing Data as a Service platform that was sold for 175M to Salesforce Inc. in 2010.
InfoArmy launched publicly in June 2012. InfoArmy had 28 employees as of October 23, 2012, the company raised $17.3 million in Series B venture capital, bringing its total funding to $19.3 million.
InfoArmy differs from some distributed crowdsourcing models (such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk) in that each report is built entirely by one researcher team rather than by a contributing "crowd". Senior Researchers check the data and sources of the primary researchers for accuracy.
Members can earn ranks and badges and free access to other InfoArmy reports in return for creating reports, and 50% of the revenue from report sales is split between the 2-researcher team.[clarification needed] InfoArmy keeps the other 50%. CEO Jim Fowler said that stay-at-home parents and online freelancers "comprise many of our most enthusiastic members".
The company published about 1,800 paid and free reports, accessible via an iPad app, within its first four months of operation. CEO Jim Fowler reported that the number of researchers is growing exponentially, with 700 sign-ups in one week alone.
The company is not yet profitable. CEO Jim Fowler said that they are focusing first on growing the reports in their database.
As of January 2013, Infoarmy said that its business model would not be sustainable for the long term while being able to adhere to the rigorous data quality standards Fowler is known for so has re-grouped.
Jim Fowler, Founder and CEO of Owler, also founded and was CEO of Jigsaw, one of the first crowdsourcing Data as a Service (DaaS) models. Jigsaw was sold for 175M to Salesforce in 2010. Owler began as InfoArmy, Inc. InfoArmy was a crowdsourcing provider of competitive intelligence on businesses and was founded in 2011 by Jim Fowler, Rajan Madhavan, and Tim Harsch. InfoArmy launched publicly in June 2012 and re-branded itself as Owler, Inc. on February 1, 2013.
Owler is backed by Norwest Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures, two venture capital firms based in Silicon Valley, California. On Oct. 23, 2012, the company raised $17.3 million in Series B venture capital, bringing its total funding to $19.3 million.
Renaming the company
On February 1, 2013 InfoArmy relaunched as Owler, Inc., with a different business model. Owler offers a free mobile and online platform for company information and interactive business news. Members can choose to "follow" a set of companies, and Owler will provide a personalized newsfeed and daily email summaries of the latest news on those companies. When major events occur, such as acquisitions or leadership team changes, Owler members can receive notifications. Owler uses handcurated information from multiple sources across the web, as well as a crowdsourcing model called the "Owler Community". Unlike other business information services, Owler polls its members to gauge market sentiment and current trends. Owler has 98 employees and is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with an office in Coimbatore, India.
Owler offers two products: a web service and a mobile app. Members can view their personalized newsfeed on either the web or mobile platform. They can also view company profiles, edit profile information, and take polls on either platform. The web version offers additional functionality, by allowing members to create polls of their own. The web version also gives members access to lists that contain data about major events, such as funding rounds or acquisitions. The mobile app sends notifications to members when major events occur at companies that they are following.
- James F. Fowler, Founder and CEO
- Rajan Madhaven, Co-Founder and VP of Engineering
- Tim Harsch, CoFounder and Director of Product Management
- Gregg Lavine, Director of Design and User Experience
- Brett Miller, Director of Product Marketing
Board of Directors:
- James F. Fowler, Founder and CEO
- Jeff Crowe (Norwest Venture Partners)
- Patricia Nakache (Trinity Ventures)
- Patrick Spain (Newser, First Stop Health)
- "Owler, Inc.: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Businessweek.com.
- Don Clark. "Research Startup Raises Money To Fund Its 'Army'". WSJ.
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- "Jigsaw founder Jim Fowler launches InfoArmy". San Francisco Business Times. 12 June 2012.
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- "InfoArmy Retreats After Crowdsourced Research Business Goes Through The Floor. All Reports Now Free". TechCrunch. AOL.
- "Introducing Owler — a New Mobile Business App and Service That Promises to Be the Best Single Source for Up-to-the-Minute News, Information and Insight About Companies - Business Wire". businesswire.com.
- Joachim Bartels. "Owler.com: A New Crowdsourced Company Profiles Venture". BIIA.com.