How do I identify competitors?

Researching a market? Our free online course Introduction to Market Sizing offers a practical 30-minute primer on market research and calculating market size.

Finding competitors is easier if you’ve already identified at least one before you begin your research. With one competitor name, you can look for profiles or news that may list their – and your – competitors, and build out from there.

If you haven’t identified a competitor, try asking around—or connecting with a MaRS advisor to see if they know of any companies you should have on your radar.

This page consists of the following sections:

I. Competitor Startups

II. Other Competitors

I. Competitor startups

Here are your best bets:

CrunchBase: Use the Browse companies feature to view companies within broad industry segments or use the advanced search feature to search for keywords. You can also use CrunchBase’s tags to further refine your search. Some—but not all—CrunchBase company profiles list competitors.

YouNoodle: YouNoodle is a relatively new service that allows you to browse startups by category and follow those of interest.

AngelList: This resource provides lists of startup companies by continent, by country, and by city.

If you’re struggling to identify competitors, try setting up a Google alert or Yahoo alert to monitor keywords tied to your startup. You might locate new entrants into your space.

Twitter has also become an important pre-launch and launch channel for many startups. Use a Twitter monitoring tool such as twazzup to track keywords relevant for you.

II. Other competitors

If you are looking for more established competitors OR are in the enterprise space, you can use these sources to identify relevant companies:

  • directories
  • periodical directories, rankings, and buyer/supplier guides
  • associations’ member directories, and buyer/supplier guides


Kompass: Kompass is a business- company directory with over three million listings and global coverage. Search by keyword against descriptions of company products and services or browse by categories. If you know the relevant SIC or NAICS industry code (these are codes used to categorize industries), you can search by these as well.

Periodical directories, rankings, and buyer/supplier guides

Many periodicals that target a specific vertical publish directories or rankings of companies within their own industry or of key vendor groups. They may also publish guides to vendors, technology or suppliers in their industry. This kind of content may be published as a special issue or as a feature article, and is usually published annually and at the same time each year.

Not sure what these are or how they could add value to you? Here’s an example:

STORES Software Sourcebook: If you’re developing a solution or app in the retail space, this special supplement to STORES magazine, published by the US National Retail Federation, lists software by category.
To get you started, try one or more of these links:

PennWell: PenWell is a leading B2B publisher that covers the following industries: oil and gas, power, water, fire, dental, IT, electronics, optoelectronics, renewable energy, aerospace and defence, LEDs and lighting.

Penton: Penton is another large B2B publisher. It covers digital media and communications, electronics, electrical systems, energy and construction, food, restaurant, wealth management and other industries.

Connectiv – The Business Information Association is the global business information association that accelerates innovation for leading and emerging content, data and technology companies. It navigates the evolving content technology landscape to help member companies manage change.

Magazines Canada – Business Media: Here you can click through to the online versions of most major Canadian B2B magazines.

Return to the top