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How Pinecrow is building a new way to analyze data

Vinu Narayanan

Data collection is challenging enough, but pulling actionable insights from that data is a separate beast. Massive amounts of data can be tricky and time-consuming to sort, categorize, and analyze. Without a comprehensive understanding of the stories baked into the data, that data is hardly valuable to businesses.

Entrepreneur Vinu Narayanan created Pinecrow, a Portland-based startup that can find, curate, and share insights from primary and secondary research data. Those insights are then turned into an easily searchable, analytical database.

According to Narayanan, Portland was the perfect place for the company to be headquartered due to the surplus of market research talent in the area and the close proximity to technology companies in the Seattle and Bay Area (who are the target customers of Pinecrow).

Pinecrow works by automating research project workflows and has already acquired customers like software maker Adobe. It makes sense of a variety of data points (be it surveys, user interviews, focus groups, videos, transcripts, etc.), categorizing and cross-checking them to help market researchers develop insights. It’s a cloud-based platform that integrates with other tools.

“Pinecrow is also exploring machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms that can be applied to research data. Initial results are encouraging and we have identified a handful of new use cases to our product roadmap” said Narayanan.

Narayanan launched Pinecrow in late 2019, and had to navigate the challenges of not only leading a startup, but also navigating the pandemic.

“Of course, the timing of Pinecrow’s launch was challenging,” said Narayanan. “However, Pinecrow has been a fully remote company since inception, and continues to be so. In fact, the pandemic actually helped us accelerate product development and the cost savings has allowed us to extend our runway and remain in bootstrap mode until now.”

Pinecrow is raising a round and plans on hiring in the Portland area next year.

Looking to the immediate future Pinecrow will be exhibiting at the Market Research Event, a data insights event in Nashville, Tennessee, this month.

“We couldn’t be more excited to participate in such a massive event in the data industry,” said Narayanan. “Research is a fast-paced and changing field, especially with Gen Z coming into the workforce, so it’s important for insights focused companies to stay ahead of the curve and monitor trends in the industry.”


This is part of a regular guest column written by the Technology Association of Oregon in the Portland Business Journal.

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