Before Yext became “The Next Yellow Pages”, it was once offering pay-per-call online advertising for 15,000 advertisers with the company valued at around $200M. Last year, Yext made a surprising turn when the company shifted its focus to a product called “PowerListings”, a platform that syncs listings across vast networks so consumers can easily locate businesses with optimized search results.
Michael Walrath, founder of Right Media, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2007, now sits as Chairman of Yext. In an interview with Business Insider, Walrath explains, “At Right Media we had a thriving ad network business that was doing tens of millions of dollars a year of revenue but we felt the exchange model was a much bigger opportunity and no one was pursuing it. In this case Yext had a $20+ million dollar pay-per-call business that was clearly valued by the market in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Then, in one of the ballsiest moves I’ve ever seen, Howard decided that the much larger market opportunity for power listings was worth the risk.”
Howard Lermen, Yext Co-Founder and CEO, who is also present in the interview added, “Our product is a hub for local information and it syncs listings everywhere. We basically saw that there was a way to build a product and solve a huge local information problem for 20 million business locations in the U.S.”
Yext “PowerListings” today syncs information in over 35,000 locations and has developed relationships with different sites that host local business information. Business owners who use the system can now quickly and reliably add and update local listings. It’s basically a win for businesses, advertisers and consumers.
“We saw something that would fundamentally transform the local information ecosystem and the market opportunity 100 times as big as pay-per-call.” Lerman said. “Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook Places, and hundreds of different services, they all have their own database of local information that contains business name, address, and phone number. That database is totally disconnected and that’s causing this problem where whenever business information changes, all those databases fall out of sync really fast”
Via Business Insider