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GeoMarketing startup Yext heads for IPO and international expansion

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.

Big plans

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.

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