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Discovery Data vs. Preqin vs. Dakota Marketplace: Which Institutional Investor Database is Right For Me?

By: Gui Costin, Founder, CEO

It can be overwhelming to try and find the right institutional investor database for your business. Even a cursory search will show that there are dozens of databases to choose from, each promising to end your sales teams’ problems by delivering the data and leads needed to drive your goals home.

Each one focuses on a different channel and provides a different level of insight — so where do you start?

At the end of the day, you’re looking to drive results for your business, and to save your sales team from doing the administrative heavy-lifting that comes with prospecting and setting meetings. 

In the investment sales industry, the database question often comes down to a few key players, and it is not uncommon for a firm to narrow their search down to a handful of contenders. Typically, these include Discovery Data and Preqin, along with us here at Dakota Marketplace.

We’ve said before that the word database has become almost taboo in our industry, and we think it’s wrongfully so

For that reason — and because we believe that building trust is the key to any new business partnership — we have no hesitations about giving an overview of the main differences and features between us and our two main competitors so that you can make the best decision based on what you’re looking to achieve for your business.

In fact, we have no problem admitting that Discovery Data and Preqin are great partners that provide their users with the data they need to move their business forward.

This article will give you an overview of the structure of each database, the methods for updating the data, its target audience, the interface, as well as the price of each. If any of this information, like pricing, was not available on their website, we’ve left it off. 

By the end of this article, we hope you’ll feel more informed about your options, and feel empowered to make a database selection that’s right for your team. 

Discovery Data

In their own words, Discovery Data helps companies grow their business in the financial services and insurance industries through data and analytics delivered through cloud-based applications, CRM integrations, and data-driven marketing and market insights.

Size of the database: 

On a weekly basis, millions of data fields are added, updated or verified and made available through data subscriptions and specialized services, including a web application, data hygiene projects, CRM add-on applications, and market insight.

Updates to and thoroughness of the data: 

On a weekly basis, millions of data fields are added, updated or verified and made available through data subscriptions and specialized services, including a web application, data hygiene projects, CRM add-on applications and market insight.

Target audience: 

Discovery data is focused on the financial services as well as insurance markets, and are tailored to RIAs, banks, broker-dealers, insurance companies, etc.

Origin of the platform: 

Discovery Data was founded in 2002, with The Investment Adviser (RIA) product as its flagship offering.


There are a variety of subscription plans, with pricing dependent on the needs of the firm.


The interface of Discovery Data is dependent on which plan you choose: Financial services or insurance representative. Each plan breaks down the data in a variety of ways. This includes demographic, business and personal filters as well as in-depth profiles on a variety of audiences. Finally, you can compile your key audiences into lists for easier access. 

Platform descriptions: 

Discovery Data includes high-level descriptions of their audiences.

Additional platform content: 


Who is Discovery Data a good fit for?: 

Discovery Data is a fit for anyone selling a product to RIAs. That product could be anything from software to insurance to investment management. Also, for anyone who wants a large dataset that enables them to do their own research, Discovery is a smart option. On the fundraising side, more intermediary and institutional retail salespeople marketing to financial advisers and RIAs will benefit from a partnership with Discovery Data.


In their own words, Preqin helps firms keep up to date on market movements with comprehensive data on institutional investors, fund managers, and service providers, and for each fund and transaction across all major asset classes.

Size of the database: 

With over 35,000 firms, 65,000 funds, 18,000 investors, Preqin offers a robust dataset design for alternative investment professionals. 

Updates to and thoroughness of the data: 

Preqin makes over one million updates per year to the data within their system, and encourages a community approach to data upkeep, encouraging subscribers to point out any discrepancies they may find or know about, so that everyone benefits. The Preqin team uses a combination of global researchers as well as artificial intelligence to make sure their data is updated and accurate every day. 

Target Audience: 

Preqin’s primary customer is the alternative investment industry, including private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, private debt, real estate, infrastructure, natural resources, and secondaries.

Origin of the platform: 

Founded in 2003, Preqin was designed for the alternative investment industry.


Preqin offers a variety of options, including Preqin Pro and Preqin Insights, and the price varies depending on the needs of the user.


Preqin offers a simple, clean interface that allows users to perform searches across the tens of millions of lines of financial data. Searches can be done in multiple ways, including by keyword, location, activity, and more.          

Platform Descriptions: 

Preqin includes high-level descriptions of their audiences.

Additional Content: 

Preqin offers a variety of research and insights on their website as well as through premium publications.

Who is Preqin a good fit for?: 

Preqin is a good fit for a private manager that is focused on the institutional side, and who is not marketing to RIAs or MFOs.

Dakota Marketplace 

Dakota Marketplace is an institutional investor and RIA database created and maintained by the fundraising team at Dakota investments, who have used Marketplace to raise over $30B since 2006. At its core, Marketplace is a database that allows investment salespeople to quickly find the right contacts to reach out to schedule meetings.

Size of the database: 

With over 9,000 accounts and 31,000 contacts, Dakota Marketplace offers a focused subset of the overall investment sales landscape. 

Updates to and thoroughness of the data: 

Equipped with a team of four database administrators and a variety of software platforms including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Neverbounce, and Seamless, the Dakota team ensures that the data within Marketplace is constantly being updated and added to so that investment sales professionals always know who to call on. 

Target audience: 

Dakota Marketplace targets Investment sales professionals who want deep, granular insight into how allocators invest, how a platform is managed, and how investment decisions are made. Dakota Marketplace is focused on titles and asset class coverage areas.

Origin of the platform: 

Dakota was founded in 2006, and Marketplace was created in 2018 by a fundraising team that uses the data within Marketplace themselves every day. Because of this, by its very nature, the data is guaranteed to be as accurate and complete as possible — we know because we’re using it. 


A subscription to Dakota Marketplace is $13,500 per year for one user, and an additional $1,000 for each user license. 


The Marketplace interface was designed with investment fundraisers in mind. The database is divided into metro areas and broken out further broken out by channels that reside in those metro areas. The details of each firm include the name, the contacts within that firm, as well as metro area, and AUM. 

Platform Descriptions: 

Dakota Marketplace offers detailed descriptions of every account within the database and is focused on what the investment sales professional needs and wants to know. 

Additional platform content: 

Dakota brings the Marketplace data to life with the bi-weekly Dakota Live! Call. Each week, the team hosts one primary call and one alternative investment call. During the calls, an allocator from within the Dakota Marketplace is featured in an interview during which they talk about their platforms so listeners can gain insight. The calls also profile a city every week and brings the database to life by giving listeners something to focus on in each city. 

Who is Marketplace a good fit for?: 

Dakota Marketplace is ideal for Investment sales professionals who are looking for a detailed look into accounts that allocate to outside managers. 

Things to consider when choosing an institutional investor database:

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re researching an institutional investor database, and they usually come down to a few key questions. 

  1. What channels do you cover? (Consultants, RIAs, Banks, BD, Direct Pensions, Sub-advisory, etc.)

  2. What is your product structure? (Mutual Funds, Separate Account, LP, ETF, CIT, etc.)

  3. How much does it cost?

If you cover a wide variety of markets, your best bet would probably be Discovery Data, which can offer a robust collection of data on a variety of topics and markets. 

If you’re focused on selling within the alternative investment market, Preqin is probably the best fit. The prices of these two platforms vary by need, and are not immediately available on their respective websites. 

Finally, if you’re an investment sales professional looking for a laser-focused list of prospects to call on, Dakota Marketplace would be a great partner for your needs. 

While Discovery Data, Preqin, and Marketplace are three of the databases at the forefront of our minds, we also have a more comprehensive list of institutional investor databases for you to consider, so that you have the complete picture. 

We know that if you’re here, you already know the key benefits of an institutional investor database, but we have a quick list that might be helpful to share as you pitch the idea to the bigger team. 

Stop wasting time on prospecting and data administration and start setting up meaningful meetings today with a free trial

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