$150M Fundraising Round Like No Other: The Organic Marketing Revolution is Here
- Conductor News
- By Seth Besmertnik
- 7 minutes read
Exactly two years ago today, it appeared the glory days of Conductor had come to an end.
As the ship we were attached to (WeWork) started to sink, we feared losing it all—our jobs, our customers, and our company. Fortunately, most challenges are opportunities in disguise. And for us, there was an opportunity to regain control of Conductor and create an independent, employee-owned, mission-based company.
After months of the most challenging days of my life, as well as Conductor’s, we pulled off a miracle and started a new company with 250+ employee co-founders called Conductor Founders, Inc. We saved jobs, continued to support 400+ customers, and refueled the engine behind our mission of transforming marketing into a force for helping people.
As momentum started to build, we found ourselves entering another crisis—this time with the rest of the world—when the pandemic hit. We had no investors. We had no finance team. We had no idea what was going to happen. At the time, it felt like another knockout punch that came just as we recovered from the last one.
But it didn't matter. Because Conductors don't give up. We’ve achieved the unthinkable over the last 20 months—from adding 100+ Conductors to winning countless awards and recognition and achieving the greatest net retention and customer engagement rates in company history. On top of all of that, we continued to grow every quarter at an accelerating rate. This was not luck. It was the outcome of our team pouring their hearts into our product and our customers.
Today, we announced one of the most significant transactions ever in SEO, Content Marketing, and the entire Organic Marketing Category: $150M in Series A funding led by Bregal Sagemount (opens in a new tab) at a near half-billion-dollar valuation of Conductor.
This capital will allow us to invest aggressively in our vision of building the world’s #1 Organic Marketing platform for enterprises. Additionally, every Conductor shareholder—past + present employees—will have an opportunity to benefit financially from this transaction for their years of hard work and dedication.
The Organic Marketing Revolution is Now
This moment is not just for Conductor; it’s for the entire Organic Marketing industry—all the SEO experts, content marketers, digital marketers, and the organizations that support them. Over $2 trillion dollars is spent every year on marketing. But most of these dollars aren't spent on how to help customers; instead, the focus is on selling them stuff. The days of a captive audience with customers ready to listen to your message are over. Buying your customer’s attention will no longer be possible; you have to earn it.
With over 25 billion searches happening across the web every single day—from the smallest problems in your life to the biggest decisions you will ever make—it’s clear people aren’t looking to be sold an answer; they want to be helped. There is an opportunity for companies to be the answer, to gain the trust of their customers by using their wisdom to help solve these problems.
This is our vision for marketing—a future where great marketing is about helping, educating, and empowering customers. The incredible people that make up the SEO & content marketing industry have been leading the charge on this for over a decade. They are the experts that know what your customers want. They are helping rally the resources internally to help brands get found where their audience lives—while making the best and most informative content for the customer.
It’s been an uphill battle. Getting resources. Getting engineering support. Getting leadership buy-in. This $150M capital is a true testament that the tides are changing. What we (YOU!) do is important, and it’s finally being recognized. You have the chance to be the leaders of your companies and pioneer the path to the next generation of marketing. We are at the forefront of a new world, and it’s time to dive in as Organic Marketing finally makes its way into the boardroom.
We are so proud to be a driving force behind this marketing revolution and help raise the bar on what technology can and should do to propel this transformation. We are 10 years in, but we are just getting started. This is literally our Series A!
Customers-First For Life No Matter What
We are only here because of our customers. Just like our employees, they didn't give up. They have supported us for countless years—continuing to give us honest, generous feedback and sticking by us through all of the changes over the last decade. Because they believed in our product and this revolution just as much as we did. We are so grateful to you. We will show our thanks in our actions and investments.
We’re going to continue to invest every dollar we make BACK into the business. Back into the product.
We’re going to be investing in larger data collection efforts, advanced AI, new content assets and channels, and more experimentation and testing solutions—while also bringing the best technologies in the market together.
For us, this is like Day 1 of Conductor and we are so excited to continue innovating and perfecting this product for all of you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are our motivation.
Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders, & Decision-Makers: Do Right By Your People
In late 2019, I vividly remember sitting in a room praying over and over to myself, “if we get Conductor back, we will do everything we can to take care of our people.” And we did exactly that.
When we first sold Conductor to WeWork, our employees owned ~4% of the company—fairly common for a venture-backed company. On the first day of regaining ownership, we made it our priority to provide every single employee with significant equity; we shared over 35% to take care of our people. Why? Because we aren’t Conductor without them.
Throughout Conductor’s life, we always focused on doing right when it came to our employees in the good times and the hard ones—even if we were letting them go. We built a culture on transparency where feedback is a gift. We built practices to support people instead of giving up on them. And while we’ve won countless workplace awards, we are constantly working to build a better place for our people and live up to our mission (our second mission) of transforming the workplace into a force that helps people grow.
Culture is great when times are great. But culture matters the most when the going gets tough. When things got tough at Conductor, our people didn't hit the eject button, instead, they doubled down and helped each other. I think about cultivating a people-first, successful culture like planting the seeds of a forest. Good actions are good seeds. Selfish actions are bad ones that produce toxic results. Eventually, you live in a forest—which kind of forest do you want to build?
Challenge yourself. Make the hard decisions when it counts to take care of the people that help make it all possible. Share in the success. Share in the upside. Round up in their favor. Make your people your partners. When you do this, magic will happen and everyone—from customers to investors—will reap the rewards.
Let this historic vc funding be an inspiration to overcome your greatest fears, tap into your greatest potential, and inspire unwavering confidence that conviction always overcomes negativity.
Marketing will never be the same and we are honored to be a driving force behind this revolution.
So, come join us, become a customer, or go do something awesome.