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Alright, so you’ve got your deciding factors down.  What next?  Well you need to figure out what companies fit your deciding factors.  For starters you should be reading some tech blogs or participating in communities that discuss some of these companies.  Places like Techcrunch, AllThingsD, VentureBeat, Hacker News, etc etc.  They tend to highlight companies receiving funding, launching new products or changing direction.  It’s here that you will be able to find a good anchor company to start your search with.

Let’s say for example that you’re interested in companies that deal with online backup of your data.  You came across an awesome company called BackBlaze after seeing an article in Techcrunch on how they’re able to build storage pods on the cheap.  Sounds pretty neat, maybe I should explore this online backup niche a bit further.  Where to start?

  • Related searches in Google – Simplest way to find similar companies to your anchor company.  All you have to do is type out “related:backblaze.com” and Google will bring back other websites (companies) that look similar to your original search.  Go ahead and try it out.  At the time that I performed this search I was able to see the results below.  I was able to find out that Mozy, Carbonite, ElephantDrive, IDrive and JungleDisk are all competitors.  That’s only the top of the list too, but it’s another five companies that you can take a look at and see if they fit your deciding factors.

  • Crunchbase – Pull the company info up in Crunchbase.  If you pull up BackBlaze in Crunchbase you’ll able to again see a list of competitors, any funding received, and any Techcrunch articles that were written about the company.  Going through the articles and the list allows you to see that Crash Plan and Sugar Sync are competitors as well, two new companies to consider now!  Plus the additional press allows you to learn more about the company itself. (note: Crunchbase data is crowdsourced and may not always be up to date or accurate)
  • Linkedin – Pull up the company’s profile.  Then click on ‘Check out insightful statistics about [company name] employees’.  Scroll down and you’ll see a section titled ‘People who looked at [company name] also viewed’.  Just below it you’ll ten companies that other people were looking at in relation to the company in the profile.  This is interesting signaling because those companies share something similar.  Maybe employees are moving from one to another, maybe they are competitors, or maybe they are companies that do a lot of business together.  This section will definitely broaden your horizon.  It’ll also help you if you’re trying to find a lead into the company, a close connection or an alum of your school.
  • Quora - The wisdom of the crowd is always helpful.  Search through questions and see if you can find some that are discussing who the competitors are for company x or why one service is better than another.  Don’t see a question?  Ask one yourself.
Those are four good starting points for finding a company you would want to work for.  The last part of landing an awesome business development role is how to be properly prepared for the interview.
July 22, 2011