InfoArmy: disruptive innovation in competitive intelligence

A few weeks ago, Aqute wrote about InfoArmy and how it might disrupt the competitive intelligence industry.  That was an update to our initial writeup of InfoArmy's launch.

More recently, InfoArmy announced they had published 1,000 reports. Looking at their Twitter feed, we see:

  • Jun 12: 94 reports
  • Aug 7: 492 reports
  • Aug 23: 1,000 reports

So, ~500 reports in two weeks in August. At this rate, they should have ~17,000 reports by the end of 2013. Probably more as they continue ramp up.

If they pick the right companies to write reports about, that could be a significant chunk of the companies that potential customers care about. It would still be a tiny number compared to the 30 million companies on Manta, but most of those are long tail companies that are unlikely to attract the attention of competitive intelligence analysts.

At the same time, InfoArmy is climbing up the traffic rankings. Alexa ranks them around 430,000 (vs Fuld around 970,000). Compete ranks them 1,180,000 (vs Fuld 940,000). So their traffic is higher than, or similar to, Fuld's - and InfoArmy has existed for less than three months. Yes, there are caveats to these numbers, but that is still impressive. It could be even more impressive if their reports were available on PC; a change that would be easy to implement.

If, to speculate wildly, when InfoArmy gets to those 17,000 reports, they sell 10% once a month at $99 each, that means annual revenues of $2 million - in an industry full of small companies (Fuld was valued at $9.5 million when it was sold to Phinma). They would be growing much faster than the incumbents.

Many competitive intelligence incumbents scoff at InfoArmy, but InfoArmy CEO Jim Fowler has a good track record. The reports are low-end, and the choice of iPad platform is a bit weird, but suppose InfoArmy continues its march up the traffic rankings, and when they have a large enough base, start offering bespoke research on top of their reports. That may not appeal to a Fortune 100 company, but there are plenty of smaller companies who might buy competitive intelligence if it only cost $1,500. Or InfoArmy might find a way to package their researchers as a cheap resource that clients can manage to conduct secondary research; something that Fortune 100 companies are already doing for quantitative analysis and news gathering. A Trojan horse strategy is a long shot, but it might have the makings of a threat to the incumbents in it.