Yext, the New York-based ‘GeoMarketing’ company, appears to be heading for an IPO after raising a walloping $50 million in Series F.
Product managers who think the word “GeoMarketing” sounds cool but feel baffled about what it means should read on. Essentially, Yext’s Software-as-a-Service capabilities allow businesses or stores to control their listings in local searches.
Synchronizing across local searches
Take the case of a drugstore chain: it might have 60 different stores in a city, each one with slightly different contact information, opening hours, etc. As things stand, they’ll each be listed slightly differently in Google search, Foursquare, Yelp and other location databases. Yext’s platform lets businesses control the content of all those assorted listings from a single dashboard.
The startup launched as a pay-per-call advertising company in 2009, but morphed over the ensuing couple of years to focus instead on developing its unique GeoMarketing software (the ad business was sold to IAC’s Grid Media). And even the most hard-headed product manager will concede that the shift of emphasis has proven a big success. Yext now handles data for over 300,000 active locations and it saw a handsome $34 million in revenue in 2013, a spectacular 116 percent higher than the previous year.
The startup’s co-founder and CEO Howard Lerman told TechCrunch journalist Anthony Ha earlier this month that he’s aiming for a cool $55 million this year. Given that the company has already hit a run rate of $55 million, this doesn’t seem like an improbable target. Although he wouldn’t go into details, he confirmed that the latest round of funding (which brings the company’s total investment to date to almost $116 million) was “pre-IPO financing”, adding only that Yext “makes most sense as an independent company.”
Lerman has his sights set on the burgeoning mobile advertising market, too, which he clearly sees as a major opportunity. He said:
“We’ll never be in the middle of an ad buy, but in order to conduct location-based mobile ads, you actually have to have local content.”
For any product managers out there who are curious about how Yext will spend its new cash, Lerman says it will be ploughed into ongoing R&D and into international expansion. Later this year, the company plans to open in Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia.