Yext, the New York-based company that syncs listings for local businesses across multiple publisher sites, has raised $27 million in its sixth round in as many years. The series E round, which was led by Marker and included investments from Crunchfund as well as a handful of existing investors, values the company at a reported $270 million.
The round comes two months after the company spun-off its original pay-per-call business and co-founder Brent Metz into an independent division called Felix — a move which, at the time, Yext CEO Howard Lerman told Street Fight was in response to the massive growth of the company’s PowerListings product and pressure from the board “to throw all of our weight behind it.” Pay-per-call remains a solid business, but, in the context of today’s announcement, the company appears to have rightly recognized that the local information space offered a substantially larger opportunity for growth.
With the full focus of the company on its PowerListings product, Lerman tells Street Fight that the company plans to invest over $15 million in its publisher network over the next year: “The most capital-intensive part of our business is our deep engineering staff and our publisher network,” said Lerman. “[We’re going to invest] with the goal of continuing to perfect our instant listings sync.”
The network includes over 50 publishers that range from legacy listings sites like Superpages to location-based applications like Foursquare as well as businesses’ owned and operated sites (both web and mobile). The technology currently syncs name, address, phone number, location, promotions, hours, descriptions, and photos but very well could use the new funding to expand into more time-sensitive types of objective information like events.
However, the space is not devoid of competitors. Earlier stage startups like SinglePlatform are taking a similar approach with restaurant menus and data players like Factual are trying to build comparable caches of “objective” local information, albeit through a different model. The biggest threat facing Yext comes from overall market consolidation in local search. Consolidation means less of hassle for business owners to manage their listings and thus, less value from Yext’s sync product. With local mobile search set to surpass desktop in 2016 and Google struggling to replicate its dominance in web on mobile however, consolidation in local search does not look to be imminent.
Steven Jacobs is an associate editor at Street Fight.