This week TechCrunch announced an open API for its CrunchBase database of tech organizations and related information. The quickly growing repository contains structured information on technology companies (almost 7,000 of them), people (over 13,000), and financial information like acquisitions and funding rounds. With the addition of the API it will provide a rich data source for developers.
The CrunchBase API gives programmatic access to the full entity information using a simple REST interface that follows a version/namespace/permalink format, as in these examples:
This is the format to show information - the API documentation also details calls for searching by a keyword, and for listing all the entries of a given namespace - companies, people, financial organizations, products, and service providers. We now have a CrunchBase API profile in our directory.
The results are returned using JSON and contain all the information found in the CrunchBase web page for that entry. The JSON is formatted using an open source Ruby JSON pretty-printer library explained on the CrunchBase blog, so that the results are both machine-readable JSON and easy for humans to read and understand.
There are no restrictions on usage at this point, and TechCrunch will be "publishing all content under the Creative Commons Attribution License or something very similar, which means third parties are free to use it with attribution and a link back to CrunchBase."
The API is read-only for now, but as the TechCrunch team note in the comments on the original announcement, a write API will be added later, along with more options to search the database, and support for XML.
Although the API has only been out for two days, there is already a Wordpress plugin to automatically add CrunchBase profile information to a post and a Google map mashup, Startup Warrior , that's today's Mashup of the Day). Given the depth of data, simplicity and licensing, the initial feedback is quite positive as evidenced by Dharmesh Shah's embarrasingly gushing praise. Expect to see lots of interesting apps built using this API.