What can you learn to expect about the changes at Bizminer?
A letter from the CEO, Danny Burke
I wanted to take some time to write about the launch or rather relaunch and struggled with how to start and even what to include. Oddly enough, it’s a stormy night here in NJ and the winds are fierce. Feels the way most horror stories start off, but this isn’t a horror story. Far from it. Admittedly, I am full of mixed emotions: anxious, excited, relieved. It’s been about 20 months since I have taken over and we are introducing some major changes. Mixed emotion I believe is the right feeling.
Before I get into the changes, I thought I would give a brief history of how we got here. Can you believe it’s been exactly 659 days since we posted this video.
And 685 days since my team and I took over.
I wrote this post in chunks with fun titles to give a heads up on what’s included below. Feel free to skip around.
Here’s the TLDR version for people not interested in reading this post:
In the summer of 2016, my wife and I were pregnant. I just finished up my stint with a technology incubator/fund. I was with that firm a little over a year and prior to that I was growing fast toward a very promising career in banking at JPMorgan Chase. I gave it up to pursue my dream of being a tech CEO of my own Fintech product. I had a great concept, found some capital and a team. I gave my two weeks notice at the bank and jumped headfirst into the tech company. I ended becoming an executive for the tech incubator (we had about 14 products in various stages of development) and not getting a chance to build my FinTech product.
I learned a lot at the technology firm. I learned how to run a big team, we had over 200 employees in 5 countries with all of the management in Jersey City, NJ. For all the blunders we experienced with that firm, they were excellent at recruiting top notch leadership. I really learned how to build a product from the inside out, from very talented people. It was invaluable experience but not why I left the bank.
Afterall, I left the bank to build my own product and team but that never really came into fruition. It was a blessing in disguise because the role I ended up filling at the technology company really rounded out my experience with finance, leadership and strategic decision making. But in the end, I didn’t get that real start at entrepreneurship I wanted.
I have always been entrepreneurial. Over the years, I have started and tried my hand in a lot of different businesses. If I thought there was an opportunity, I gave it a shot. We had a marble and granite business, a furniture company and a few other ventures. Some success, mostly failures.
I had a decision to make. Was I going to go back into finance or give myself a chance at entrepreneurship. Safe to say which direction I went. I knew this time was going to be different. I had more life experience. I knew I was still going to pursue developing a technology product but I didn’t know which I would go for. I had so many ideas. So instead, I did the most common sense thing, I started consulting. My consulting company was born and officially formed about a month after my daughter was born. It’s nice, they celebrate their birthdays together.
I started calling up old clients and started working on various capital placements and project based work. I wanted to build a tech product but didn’t know what. I knew data would be involved so we started aggregating commercial loan data. Learning to use it. Mining it. I loved it. We still use it and was part of the synergies for the Bizminer acquisition.
After a few successful buy side campaigns for clients, I realized I should be doing it for myself. So I shortlisted about 15 strategic acquisitions with my number one being my favorite. That was Bizminer.
I reached out to Jon, went back and forth a few times on numbers. We were far apart. We ended up not making a deal. I was upset but I moved on and kept building our data product. Business kept growing, bootstrapping and reinvesting.
A few years go by, it was the summer of 2019, I reached out to Jon on a whim. Fate had different plans this time around. He had been thinking of selling again. We exchanged a few emails. The value was still high, higher actually from the previous round. But this time it was different, I was more situated, more confident in what I could do with Bizminer. We still hadn’t agreed to a deal yet, but I drove 2 hours out to meet Jon. It was 2 days before my birthday, we locked up the deal. Came back and took the family to celebrate, this is a picture with my Junior Analyst who helped me lock up the deal.
It took about a year to work through mechanics and funding, and we finally completed the transition in July of 2020. Haven’t looked back since.
I have always loved data. Even before data became a thing like it is today. I was really comfortable with benchmarking data given my career in banking. Bizminer just made sense. Jon and the team really worked out all of the kinks when it comes to algorithms, trend analysis, quantitative and qualitative measurements. They have been perfected over 20 years. Perfection that compounded. The underlying data, the processes and approach, are where the value truly lies.
With all of those amazing things, there was still so much upside and opportunity for the business. It was a great fit. It is a great fit, all of the prepurchase hunches were correct. Those opportunities I believe will start to be realized by our audience now.
I had some ideas on where we can make improvements. I underestimated how many things need to happen before we can make those changes. It was a blessing looking back. It forced us to really examine the business, products, strategy, goals and objectives. So instead, we started making changes behind the scenes. We broke down processes, roles, workflows and began rebuilding.
We picked up quick wins while we got started down the 2.0 path. A big shout out to Victoria, Cali, Galen and Taylor, they really stepped up here.
We have improved everything from onboarding, contracts, to 3rd party tools and people with niche responsibilities.
Behind the Scenes
Our infrastructure was dated. We have spent a lot of time and money making improvements here. These changes are a lot less noticeable now but over the long run, you will really get sense for why it mattered. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, Cloud Computing, all those buzzwords are now possible (and maybe active) with what we were able to complete.
A big shout out to Ray and Ajjay for the work put into this. Especially Ray, spent a lot of time learning new things to improve the business.
We did not change anything about how our data is developed. We introduced new steps around automation and quality assurance but everything you have trusted for the last 20 years is still the same. We made improvements to how things are calculated. I’m not sure if the value proposition is clear with our data, I didn’t truly realize until after I transitioned in and get very involved in our process.
Our data is and products that are generated are in real time. Whenever you as a user pulls a product, you are receiving the freshest and most up to date figures available. If we update a source on Monday and you pull a profile on Tuesday, that profile is going to be updated with the most up to date data available. When our system is loading with the animation, its running through hundreds of algorithms to generate that data for you on demand, custom to the parameters you selected.
That’s huge. That’s a win for everyone.
A big shout out to Ajjay and Nolan who really started to implement the proper steps we need to continue to improve our data.
The updated brand
When we originally took over we had planned on changing the name but after getting to know the team the customers and the products it felt like it would be a poor decision to change the brand name. Instead we opted to give the brand a major refresh that paid homage to the original logo but introduced some new elements.
We wanted to make sure that the Bizminer Iconic Pick Axe was still present. We also needed something that really showed the value of what Bizminer is, a gem for everyone who works directly and indirectly with Bizminer’s products. We also wanted colors that felt modern and trust worthy. We’re really excited about the brand. We’ve already have some great swag, if you’d like something, drop us a note and we can get you something.
Shout out to Ian, Rebecca, Jenna and Ally. You guys really crushed this.
The new website and platform split
We knew that the website needed to be updated for a couple reasons the obvious being that we needed something that would help generate more leads for the team but the less obvious was sometimes it wasn’t really clear what we offered.
Also, we really struggled with measuring data. For a company that is built around data, it felt incomplete or inaccurate. So we decided to split the marketing site and application.
The true objective though, was User Experience. We really wanted our users to feel more comfortable navigating through he products and sites.
Feels like we made the right move.
A huge shout out to the product team, Nolan, Ray, Josh, Luiz, Kristaps and Surajit and marketing team Galen, Taylor, Ian, Rebecca, Jenna, Mia & Ally.
The product consolidation
After spending a lot of time really getting to know the products, interviewing customers and spending time inside of the application, it became clear we have 3 defined categories:
At its core, the granular and reliable data you have come to expect from Bizminer remains largely unchanged. Above is a map of the product consolidation. You will see that as a user, you receive a lot more data inside each product, requiring less products to be pulled.
An Important Concept: Profiles versus Reports
With the application release, we introduce a core concept that our users must understand. The terminology is referenced in all aspects of the platform and business moving forward.
Profiles contain the static Bizminer industry data that you have come to expect from our products and will be shown in blue. Reports take this data a step further and allow you to analyze your client’s inputted data alongside this industry data for an easy benchmarking and comparison process. Reports will be designated by a purple color. Profiles are an output of our Research Category, while Reports are an output of our Analyze category.
A big shout to our VP of Product, Nolan. He could have easily kept blinders on to the old products but he really allowed my vision to come through and provided the necessary bridge between 1.0 and 2.0 with a fresh perspective. I know it wasn’t easy, but he made it happen.
New Products & Other Enhancements
We spent a lot of time improving our prospect tool. We introduced a fresh interface and a lot of filters unique to Bizminer. As we continue to introduce new data and technology, this will improve drastically. We are really excited to see how our clients can compliment their businesses with this tool.
Our company profile is a new product introduction where we will start building and displaying information we have on the 16 million companies we monitor in our database. This is going to be a single, holistic view of a subject company. Will be great for getting to know information about prospects, potential partners, acquisition targets, listings, due diligence and so much more. We are really excited.
Franchise & Market Profiles
We are introducing two additional profiles in our research category. The franchise profile will be a financial profile of a subject franchise and really get a sense of how a franchise is performing. Our market profiles will be industry agnostic and give users a sense of everything happening in a given market. We expect these to be out in the coming weeks.
Web App & Customization
The entire platform has been designed to make things easier for our users. From favorites, to settings, and even customization for some users. We will continue to invest in making the platform better for all users. You will see a lot of improvements here moving forward.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow
Yesterday was the product everybody came to love and trust. We don’t forget our roots or where we came from. Today markets the start of the next generation, Bizminer 2.0. We are full of excitement, ambition and optimism. Tomorrow is the best to come. It represents all of the challenges and opportunities we need to better serve our customers, partners and team.
The best way I can conclude this is a huge Thank you to my family, my team, our partners and our customers. Nolan, Ray, Josh, Galen & Taylor, Kristaps and Luiz, you guys are amazing. This wouldn’t be possible without you.
To our customers and partners, we hope the update is everything you expected and more. I am confident you are going to love what we have in store.
And as always, The Best Is Yet To Come.
Shoot us an email at [email protected]. Let us know what you think!