Watch Out for StealthModeWatch

Curtis Chen
Sep. 20 2010, 08:00AM EDT

There are no secrets on the Internet.  And now, thanks to StealthModeWatch, it's even easier for people to find your secrets--if you're a company with outside investors. The service, which also includes an API, digs through public records to expose new investments and the people attached to them.

StealthModeWatch creator Denis Papathanasiou "was inspired by Josh Kopelman's The Death of Stealth Mode," an article which explains how new start-ups raising capital are required by law to file Regulation D forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  The SEC then makes that information public.  Surprisingly, many lawyers fail to inform their clients that these disclosures are available on the Internet.  This can make for unpleasant surprises and awkward phone conversations, but it's good news for journalists and potential competitors seeking information.

Papathanasiou started collecting this data for his own venture research, and has now made the StealthModeWatch beta freely available, with an API to boot.

API accounts are limited to 40 requests per hour.  All the information comes from the SEC, but StealthModeWatch offers filters and search syntax not available at the SEC web site.  Some examples:

  • limit your search by time (e.g., "since August 15, 2010");
  • find a specific keyword (e.g., "software");
  • only look for companies within a specific industry (e.g., "Biotechnology");
  • only return results where one of the people is named "Doerr;" or
  • only show filings with addresses in "Palo Alto."

Results are returned in an XML format consistent with EDGAR Form D.

To use StealthModeWatch, you'll need to sign up with an e-mail address.  You can try it out first at http://stealthmodewatch.com, but note that the simple search form on the web site will only search the most recent four weeks of filings.  To get full results, create an account and use the API.

Hat tip: TechCrunch

Curtis Chen Once a software engineer in Silicon Valley; now a science fiction writer and puzzle hunt maker near Portland, Oregon. You may have seen his "Cat Feeding Robot" Ignite presentation. Curtis is not an aardvark.

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