Y Combinator Companies Copies Us – Drama

We are a heads down, drama free group so today, when a Y Combinator company copied us, it resulted in some excitement for the team. Here is a post on the YC copycat that we published on our team blog earlier today.

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We’re really proud of our data and technology at CB Insights. We’re also extremely excited about what we’ve done on the design and data visualization front to help our clients tell stories and get answers from the data.

And now it seems others are excited by it as well.

Yesterday, a Y Combinator company launched that has a striking resemblance to our own product. You can see screenshots below. Of course, using the exact color scheme and text could be oddly coincidental.

But on top of what is a copy, 12 people from the company have signed up for a CB Insights free trial since September 2014. They include the YC company’s CEO, Designer, Head of Product, Product Manager and Senior Ruby Developer among others. Our terms of service which all these users agreed prohibits this explicitly — You may not access the Services if You are Our direct competitor, except with Our prior written consent. In addition, You may not access Our Services for purposes of monitoring their availability, performance or functionality, or for any other benchmarking or competitive purposes.

 

The CEO also admitted to me via Twitter that they took CB Insights as a reference to launch fast. So copying to launch fast is ok it seems?  He does thankfully clarify that other than the design, their site is very different (phew).

 

TechList asia copies CB Insights

He goes on to clarify later that “only the way data is displayed” was copied.

 

techlist asia cb insight copy

 

While we’ve had others inspired by what we do in the past, this was one of the more egregious cases of a line being crossed from inspiration to plagiarism.

On the bright side, this does wonders for our ego, and we’re flattered that these guys liked CB Insights so much that they wanted one just like it for themselves.

Here are the screenshots. Take a look at our heatmap from Industry Analytics or Investor Analytics and theirs. The color scheme and even the text underneath is copied verbatim from CB Insights.

Heat Map Comparison

And here is an industry trends chart from Industry Analytics as well and one of theirs.  Even the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) above the graph are the same.

Chart Comparison

We’re trying to build a data company you’ll love by combining the best data with great usability and fantastic service. Our customers think we’re on the right track. If you’re not trying to copy us, you should create a free trial below and check us out.

The topic also generated some discussion on Hacker News.

Copier image from rnv123

2 Thoughts on “Y Combinator Companies Copies Us – Drama

  1. I wouldn’t let this be any further distraction to you or your team. Yeah, it totally sucks and is weak, but the fact is, those things they copied are not what makes your company better than anyone else on the planet. If they were, then you weren’t trying hard enough to begin with.

    I suspect that your best clients would tell you that they are not paying you for your UI. They are paying you for something else you do really well. Could be data quality, could be customer service, could be the combined value of the two, or something else. Understand whatever that is and protect your ground there. Don’t waste time on the trolls — it is not worth it. In the meantime, be prepared to be copied again. It means you are doing something right.

    • Anand Sanwal on February 21, 2015 at 2:47 pm said:

      David,

      Sorry for responding so late. Was on vacation and my blog comments in wordpress are mostly a cesspool of spam so miss the few good ones.

      I totally agree. This was a fun diversion for 2 seconds but like you said, a waste of time in the long-term. I mostly felt bad for our team who do a lot of work to create CB Insights and so getting ripped off just was shitty.

      That said, it’s also a compliment.

      But, now it’s just back to work. Time to sell another subscription 🙂

      Thanks for reading.

      anand

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