First Analysis is unique: it’s both a venture capital platform and investment banking organization; within those two branches is an integrative research team. “We're constantly pushing out deep industry white papers across our major sub-verticals that Kenny and myself do a lot of work on,” said Chris Stiegal, a Vice President with First Analysis.
Before beginning his career in finance, Stiegal spent his collegiate years jumpstarting and founding a million-dollar construction company and after college a technology startup. He joined First Analysis in 2017.
Kenny Guerrero, is an Analyst who joined the First Analysis team in 2021. Kenny spearheaded the Grata implementation. According to Stiegal, “Guerrero’s done an amazing job with new business prospecting and leading the charge with our outbound approach.”
First Analysis is currently investing from a ~$100 million VC fund. On the investment banking side, First Analysis focuses on four types of transactions: core strategic buyouts, minority / majority recapitalizations, and large growth equity raises.
Due to First Analysis’s deep, integrative research, they unearth high-growth, disruptive, bootstrapped businesses. To augment their proprietary research, they use Grata as a tool to find other bootstrapped businesses. To be first in the door with founders, dealmakers need private company data that other databases aren’t collecting.
Before Grata, First Analysis struggled to find a data platform that could display more company details for bootstrapped, very early-stage businesses. “We tend to initiate a conversation when a business might only have two to five, maybe 10 employees, and build and nurture that relationship until we invest in them on the VC side,” said Stiegal.
“Outside of the companies identified through our proprietary research, finding privately owned, bootstrapped businesses was a challenge. We were doing a lot of Google searching and referencing G2, but it just wasn't a scalable way for us to build an additional business outreach strategy,” said Stiegal.
Grata is the leading deal sourcing platform equipping dealmakers with the data they need to find hidden middle market companies. First Analysis uses Grata as a tool to search millions of companies, by keyword, industry, location, employee count and more.
“The biggest selling point was the massive volume of companies and data points that Grata has and the way the data is scraped. What is it now, 8 million plus companies and growing?” said Stiegal.
“Another key selling point for us was how Grata went about finding the company data, the way the search engine is set up,” said Guerrero.
Grata’s ML-AI driven platform means that private company information is consistently being added and each company profile is updated quarterly. First Analysis sees the freshest information available about companies in their target sectors and sub-sectors.
“I was using Grata every day for the first six months. During that time, I exported thousands of companies and contacts, and we ultimately ended up reaching out to 225 of them. Grata has been really valuable in providing net new names for us to reach out to,” said Guerrero.
According to one of the analysts “I may not use Grata necessarily every day, but I use it often enough that I see the value. Every time I use Grata, it saves me time. If I plug a website link into Grata, I can instantly find contacts, conferences attendance, valuations, and a lot of other information. It saves me hours per list. I probably get 5-10 hours back per month thanks to Grata.”
A large portion of First Analysis deals are inbound thanks to the network their research supports– whether it’s their referral partners or people reaching out cold because of First Analysis’ industry expertise.
“We focus on application software and some hardware types of businesses within healthcare, HCIT, e-commerce, cybersecurity, go-to-market technology, HR technology, enterprise productivity, and IoT. You name it, we've got industry experts dedicated specifically to each one of those core verticals. And so what excited us about Grata was being able to unearth even more companies within those specific sub-sectors and create a more complete market map. We can then push out the research to our network to add value,” said Stiegal.
Grata’s similar company search allows First Analysis to create a list of competitors in seconds. With one button click, Grata automatically pulls in companies based on business model and website descriptions. To refine the list, First Analysis can filter further based on location, size, and more.
Grata houses millions of executive contact information, alongside a quality rating of each email address.
“Before Grata, whenever we would have to find contacts, we would first have to find the company on one platform and then use another to find the contact info. But with Grata, we can just download our company list and we already have the employees count, the amount they've raised, and the contact information, which are three key attributes,” said a First Analysis analyst.