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September 16, 2006

Venture Capital Network Mapping

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I came across a product called LinkSViewer from a company called GroupScope. It is a visual network analysis tool that explores relationships between management teams, outside board members, investors, and companies. It is the first application of the GroupScope network analysis engine (the result of research at Cornell University and the current work of the company).

LinkSViewer is made possible thanks to Link Silicon Valley, who developed the database used for the network engine. LinkSViewer turns data into network maps that are easy to read and learn from. What you will discover are indirect relationships that may not be readily apparent without a network perspective. Using LinkSViewer, people can search, filter, summarize, email, and navigate any map to suit their needs.

These examples assume a case study format that explores the networks in depth based upon on the results of initial map views. A specific format is followed: (1) Map Title; (2) Map Specs (for replication purposes); (3) Initial Observations (at-a-glance key points); (4) map presentation (plus the appropriate map legend); and (4) discussion highlighting main points/conclusions and next steps. In the end the company offers a summary that highlights the main points from the analysis.

Disclaimer: GroupScope does not claim to know much about venture capital and the Silicon Valley. They are network analysts who try to ascertain key network structures from bipartite and tripartite maps. There is a science behind all of this, but they are more interested in enlightening the world about the power of networks. The goal is to simplify the analysis process visually and ultimately to help people understand their networks and hopefully network more effectively.

Here are three examples of the company’s work:

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t quite know what to make of this, but it is cool. One more cool thing: I posted this blog entry while in a Lufthansa plane flying from Frankfurt to Mumbai. I have never had Internet access while flying before.

Here’s another way to look at things: The Web VC Chart.


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It would be great for me to work in your concern.Please help me.

Hi Guy
Chances are you've already breezed through Mumbai. Are you still in India? Are you likely to come lift the lid on Bangalore?
I sure would like to set you up with the local entrepreneurs club.


Connexiti's BizMap data visualization software connects and maps over 100,000 companies globally to their customers, suppliers, competitors, products, geographies, end markets, personnel, financials, institutional shareholders, news, and other data. Connexiti sells to institutional investors and industry. Visit us at www.connexiti.com.

Hi Guy and others --

Great post and comments.

There is substantial open content, tools, worldwide community and industry consortium for value networks and business network visualization. See:

Community : http://www.vncluster.com/
Consortium: http://www.vncluster.com/VNVAC.htm

Value Networks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_network

Value Network Analysis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_network_analysis


Bootcamp for Startups, 2001

Some related info to the above...

Here is a visualization and network analysis using AMAZON data -- on popular political books. Notice the self-organized clusters of books! Echo chambers?

Frst interactive network map of the Internet industry. Lots of players... use right-click options to view the 'network neighborhood' of any company [also check off Hide Unlinked Nodes].

A more recent map using same Java app -- the push and pull of Mideast alliances and conflicts.

Here is a basic intro to the social/organizational network analysis.


I wonder what the links are between big data mining companies like Google and Federal law enforcement & the military?

The same techniques that link VC to startups can probably link terrorists to funding sources.

Oops, bad link. Here it is:
or now click on my name. :)

This is Dean from GroupScope: I examined the VC Web chart linked at the end of this post and found some interesting results: particularly the reltionships between key players involved in the social networking investing space. Check out this network map at our blog at www.linkviewer.com/blog or click on my name.


when will u be in india, will we get a chance to hear u spk or see u weave magic on stage...we'll even settle for an autograph on the art of start book ... do tell us ur schedule of mumbai(or india)


Hi, great post. I wonder if any companies are using AI techniques to extract information from this kind of networks.

regarding WLAN access on flights: Boing decided to discontinue its "Connexion by Boing" internet service that has been used by almost all airlines that provide wireless internet access on their planes. On Lufthansa flights you will be able to use the service until the end of the year. Nothing has been posted, yet, about what happens to that service from next year on. Any company that aquires Connexion and continues the service, other firms providing a similar service, who knows...

it is good.

Guy, this is interesting stuff. Graphs (as the mathematicians call them, "networks" to the rest of us) are everywhere. In fact, I would bet that graph theory (the study of networks) becomes much more important that Calculus and statistics in the whole field of economics in the next 50 years. When we are all old, GDP will no longer be that interesting. What will be is how connected to one another our people are, how many edges one needs to traverse to make an interesting trade, how solid and useful those edges are, whether automation reduces or increases effectiveness of the edges, etc.

But for now, any business scheme based on graph theory is a sure winner, as it's not something everyone has seen in their academic training and can always be applied to solve some problem.

Will you also be speaking at some conferences, or public sessions where non-IBM people can attend your speech? If so, I can recommend my friends in Mumbai to MUST attend your session. I don't want them to miss this great opportunity.

For how long will you be there in India and what different engagements you will be having? Is there anyway we can find your schedule?

I have heard you here in SV, so now want my friends to get benefited by the same.


Brad from GroupScope--> Thanks! That's actually one of the other applications that appeals to us to pursue as a secondary or tertiary application for the engine behind this, even as a little plug-in. The back end of this tool is very flexible for application to other types of relational information, so we hope to apply it to other data sets as well to show its potential with social networking data, or any other communications or relational data set, with the flexibility to define and view the relationships in ways that highlight the information and connections that are relevant for different consumer uses or analytical research objectives. Imagine being able to quickly and visually organize clusters of your contacts according to variables or shared indirect relationships, for example.

It would be great to have something like that within LinkedIn (perhaps a lighter version).

Hey ,

You coming to India. Super Duper cool.
Which all cities you will be travelling. I want to get your autograph on my The Art of the Start book :D .



I'll be in Mumbai for a few days. Speaking for IBM. Ironical huh? IBM hires me to speak all the time. Apple never does. :-)


Thanks for the post !
About visual network analysis : we did that at Agilent Technologies, back in the late 90's, when we were looking at ways to become #1 in a certain market segment (optical network test). We picked the world leader as our model (and target ;-), and conducted a survey on their best practices. Then we came up with a quite complex diagram, but the key elements of success appeared clearly, as clear as the nose in the middle of the face. Without this diagram, they weren't so obvious, at least for the management.
About this post being sent from an airplane : two learnings. a) Guy fly Star Alliance; b) Guy is visiting some exciting new startup in India ;-)
Have fun !

Are you in Mumbai, Guy?


Right now we're flying over Iran, I think, but I will be in a few hours.


Lufthansa still has internet service in flight?  I thought I saw a bunch of news articles about Boeing shutting that down about a month ago.  Good to hear that.



I read that too, but it's working!


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