Equity crowdfunding has become a new phenomenon and lets startups and private businesses raise capital from the crowd, allowing everyday people to invest for as little as $100. Everyone can be an investor, not just VCs and private equity firms anymore. We were inspired by an entrepreneurial mindset and the desire to create an even playing field for investing in startups. Venture Insight is an easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate platform to find information on start-ups.
What it does
Venture Insight takes inspiration from sites like kayak.com or priceline.com. Venture Insight scrapes information from platforms like WeFunder, SeedInvest, and EquityZen, to provide the user with information about the startups, such as fundraising and company highlights, so the user can find the best startup option to invest in. By aggregating data from other investment sites, Venture Insight is the one-stop-shop for start-up information.
How we built it
We started by creating mockups in Figma to create a low-fidelity prototype. We then used HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Python, and Django to create the frontend and backend interfaces. To aggregate the data we used Beautiful Soup for web scraping. Our last step was connecting the database that stored our parsed data to our application.
Challenges we ran into
The team faced challenges working with web scraping, connecting data to accurately feed into the database, and creating signup/login/logout functionalities. The majority of us have never worked with Django or web scraping so it was a learning curve. We also ran into problems with creating a virtual environment and working with the views in Django. The last challenge we ran into was hosting our application on azure. We created a Docker container to push our application to azure and we created an azure domain but ran into an application error that we found could be related to our static files. We are hoping to continue solving this problem even after this hackathon.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of the pursuit of the lofty goal to create a complex information aggregator as well as each member's commitment to learning new, unfamiliar technologies in a short time frame. We added functionality to our sign-up and login pages and a logout feature as well. We are also proud of our user-friendly frontend and the web scraping we were able to complete and learn how to accomplish with the help of mentors.
What we learned
Through our work on the project, we learned how quickly new skills can be developed. This experience also provided us with an appreciation for product development and the nuances that are required to create a platform that requires many parts to connect harmoniously. Overall we all gained a better understanding of Django, web scraping, databases, and how to connect the frontend and backend.
What's next for Venture Insight
The team would love to continue to work on developing additional features for the platform to enhance our front-end user experience and web scraping database. We would love to have filtering and sorting functionality on the dashboard page and a fully working ‘add to favorites’ functionality. We would also like to implement our search bar feature.