Demise of Library House shows databases are heading to the cloud/crowd

Cambridge-based technology VC deals tracker Library House, which went into administration last month, has had its database of deals sold to Dow Jones. The Library House database and customers will now go into Dow Jones’s VentureSource, a larger, similar service.

The news confirms a couple of interesting trends.

First, it’s clear that with the downturn Library House’ main client base of Venture Capitalists could no longer afford Library House’s fees – thousands of pounds for just one subscriber account – and this was the first thing that has been cut from their budget. They are also increasingly less interested in early stage companies, the usual fodder for LH’s research. All that remains is the rump of an – albeit promising – events business.

Second, information about business sectors is now pretty easy to get to. The kind of information Library House dealt in – small startups, who’s About pages usually had more information – is increasingly an area filled by crowd-sourced databases like Crunchbase. Clearly TechCrunch has an interest in saying this, but over the next few years I predict we’ll see many more “CrunchBase copies” appear, all targeting differing sectors. Why? Because it’s easier and cheaper to get the companies to do it for you, so long as the resulting content can have someone cast an eye over it and verify the information. The “heavy-lifting”, the data entry, can easily be done by the companies themselves via RSS, wiki-style approaches, you name it. After all, that’s more or less what Library House was selling: grad students hammering phones to check the startup’s postal address, for instance.

Meanwhile the demise of LH means a double blow to founder Doug Richard, former BBC Dragons Den judge. His Trutap venture is pretty much life-support, having cut to a skeleton staff just before Christmas. However, Richard had long since become a hands-off Chairman at LH and I daresay he’ll be back – he is usually working on several ventures at once.

And in an unrelated development, watch out for an interview with him on TechFluff.TV later this week (TechCrunch UK is a media sponsor).