NYC-Based Marketing-Tech Company Yext Raises $50 Million
Marketing-technology company Yext -- which makes software for brands to manage local business listings -- has raised a $50-million Series F round of funding.
Founded in late 2006, Yext pivoted toward its current business model in 2011. Its software lets corporate customers like Citibank, Equinox, Publix and FedEx update and manage listings for locations across directory sites like Yelp; Google Maps; Facebook; and their owned-and-operated sites, where they might have a store-locator tool, for example.
For the first years of its existence, the company operated a pay-per-call ad business, whereby it promoted customers' phone numbers across the web and charged for responses. It sold that business off to IAC in 2012 for $30 million, which it reinvested in the current incarnation of Yext.
The 270-person New York company now makes money by charging customers an amount per location per year, and it's currently on course to make $55 million this year, up from $34 million last year, according to CEO Howard Lerman.
While the company's business has been squarely focused on location-based marketing via listings, Mr. Lerman sees an opportunity in the growing mobile advertising pie, though not as a media seller. To that end, Yext recently launched localized landing pages that contain information about a brand's closest location, which people can see via clicks on mobile ads.
"We're infrastructure, and we'll never be ad tech and have media buys flow through us," he said. Mr. Lerman is also a co-founder of Confide, the ephemeral messaging service aimed at business professionals.
Including the new round of investment, Yext has raised a total of $116 million. The company is planning for a 2015 initial public offering.
Insight Venture Partners led the new round, with participation from three existing investors: Marker, Institutional Venture Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures.