Search Almost Did Not Make the Graph

January 30, 2016

I read “323 Marketing Tech Startups Fetched over $11B from VCs in 2015 (Research).” The write up suggested to me that a horse racing stable mentality appears to have some appeal for the venture capital crowd. The theory has two parts.

First, the outfits are acting a bit like sheep. Second, the belief is that some of these horses will win the Kentucky Derby. That’s fine. I don’t have to explain to investors where the money went nor do I have to figure out how to repay the investors who want their money back or a payout pronto.

The chart reveals another facets of the data. Here’s a tiny version of the chart:


You will have to consult the original post to read the labels on the y axis. Note that “search” appears, but it is a brushing shoulders in the long tail with SEO and market research. In short, at the far right hand edge of the y axis. Investors supporting the long shots are brave steed owners.

Now check out the title of the write up. Do you see “marketing tech”? I do. It strikes me that research is not important to “marketing tech” as a broad sector.

But what are the top three sectors sucking cash? Answer:

  • Analytics
  • Ad tech
  • Design
  • Social
  • Data infrastructure.

Will search regain its former glory? Probably not. Mules amidst the stallions? Nah, search vendors can just change their marketing lingo.

Stephen E Arnold, January 30, 2016


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