Founded in 2007, search engine optimization (SEO) technology firm Conductor started out as a consultancy, growing rapidly to about $20 million in sales. Along the way, the venture-capital backed company built Searchlight, software that helps clients — which include FedEx, Siemens and Staples — manage their SEO. After Searchlight launched in 2010, it took off like gangbusters. “I felt that was the future of the company,” said CEO and founder Seth Besmertnik. “I made a very hard choice to sell the services business.”
That focus on the big picture, supported by the company’s investors, reduced its revenues dramatically to about $1 million annually, almost overnight. But sales didn’t stay at rock bottom for long. The company — which charges enterprise clients from $35,000 a year to hundreds of thousands — expects sales north of $10 million this year.