Posted on Friday, Aug 18th 2017
An emarketer report published earlier this year estimates the US digital ad spending to grow from $83 billion in 2017 to $129.23 billion in 2021. Mobile is expected to remain the biggest driver of digital’s growth in the current year. The researcher expects mobile ad spending to surpass TV ad spending in the next two years. Recently, digital advertising start-up Yext, went public, confirming its Billion Dollar Unicorn status.
New York-based Yext was founded in 2006 by Howard Lerman, Brian Distelburger, and Brent Metz as a digital Yellow Pages services. Since being founded though Yext has found its place in being more than the yellow pages.
It has transformed itself to a knowledge engine which allows businesses to manage their digital presence in the cloud and be discovered by the end consumers. Yext has developed direct data integrations between its software and over 100 network properties that are used these days to discover new businesses and read reviews. The integrations include tie ups into networks like Apple Maps, Bing, Facebook, Google, Google Maps, Instagram and Yelp to name a few.
Its platform uses a proprietary Match & Lock process that ensures that its customers’ digital knowledge is in sync across its PowerListings Network. It allows organizations to directly control their digital knowledge, instead of leaving it with third parties. Through Yext’s tools, businesses can make changes to a single source of information, and the change to the content is synchronized across the multiple digital sites that the business operates. For instance, McDonald’s uses Yext’s services to ensure that the addresses, hours and contact info for its chain of restaurants are up to date on sites such as Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook, Bing, etc. It is able to update this information on all of those sites with a single click.
Yext has managed to attract a distinguished client portfolio that includes names like AutoZone, Ben & Jerry’s, Best Buy, Citi, Denny’s, Farmers Insurance Group, H&R Block, HCA, Infiniti, Marriott, Michael’s, McDonald’s, Rite Aid, Steward Health Care among others.
Yext operates on a subscription based model. Its cloud-based digital knowledge platform, the Yext Knowledge Engine, is available to its customers for a fee that varies based on the level of access needed. Prices vary from $149-$499 a year based on the number of websites and pages that a business wants to manage through their application.
Yext has seen a rapid adoption of its services and revenues have grown significantly. For fiscal years ended January 2016, revenues increased from $60 million a year ago to $89.7 million. Net losses have also widened during the period from $17.3 million to $26.5 million.
More recently, revenues for the first quarter of the year, Yext saw revenues grow 37% over the year to $37.1 million. Losses came in at $0.40 per share. Adjusted losses for the quarter were $0.13 per share, compared with the Street’s estimates of $0.15 per share.
For the current quarter ending August, Yext forecast a loss of $0.15-$0.13 per share. It expects to end the quarter with revenues of $40-$40.5 million. It forecast the year’s revenues at $169-$170 million and a loss of $0.52-$0.48 per share.
Till earlier this year, Yext was venture funded. It had raised $118 million in investments from Sutter Hill Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Marker, Insight Venture Partners, WGI Group, CrunchFund, Michael Walrath, and the founders Brent Metz, Brian Distelburger, and Howard Lerman. Its last round of funding was held in June 2014, when it raised $50 million in a round led by Insight Venture Partners and participation from Marker, IVP, and Sutter Hill Ventures at a valuation of $525 million.
In April this year, Yext went public on the NYSE under the ticker YEXT. It sold 10.5 million shares at $11 apiece. Since listing, the stock has been fairly stable. It is currently trading at $13.31 with a market capitalization of $1.2 billion. It touched a high of $15.11 soon after listing.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.
This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns
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