Media Coverage

Conductor Raises $20M to Help Brands Stay Visible in Search Results

October 30, 2012

By Lora Kolodny

Conductor Inc . raised $20 million in Series C financing to help brands reach prospective customers online, wherever and however those customers search for them.

Investor Growth Capital led the round, joined by FirstMark Capital and Matrix Partners . The Series C investment brings Conductor’s total venture capital raised to $35 million. The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The chief executive and founder of Conductor, Seth Besmertnik , said he plans to use the growth capital to expand the capabilities of his company’s software as a service, and his engineering and sales teams.

Though he declined to disclose a specific valuation, the executive told VentureWire that “We are close to a high single-digit multiple on our current runway revenue, which is pretty high.”

Citing a 2011 report from Forrester Research, Mr. Besmertnik said the market opportunity for search engine optimization technology is tremendous, with spending on it expected to exceed $600 million by 2016 in the United States and more than $1 billion globally in that time frame.

Conductor competes against a handful of SEO technology firms, including Searchmetrics GmbH, Actonia Inc. doing business as seoClarity and the Foundry Group-backed SEOmoz Inc.

“Globalization and localization” of Conductor’s service will be a focus for the company this year, the CEO said. “Most of our customers are English speaking. But they have to manage global sites and global properties… They need our help solving more of those localization and translation problems,” he noted.

The New York start-up’s flagship product, Conductor Searchlight, helps marketing professionals “measure, manage and optimize their content for global search engines,” like they already can with email, advertising and paid search campaigns, Mr. Besmertnik explained.

Conductor’s technology examines natural search queries and results in dominant engines– Google , Baidu, Yandex, Bing and Yahoo –in more than 50 international markets. It also tracks the results of search-optimization efforts in real time, so that marketers can tweak their content rapidly to respond to any number of trends or needs.

With 85 full-time employees, most in New York (with additional offices in Boston and San Mateo, Calif.) Conductor’s client roster includes: FedEx Corp ., Best Buy Co ., Siemens AG , General Electric Co ., 1-800 CONTACTS Inc., HSNi LLC doing business as the Home Shopping Network and others.

Conductor’s average e-commerce client can begin using its technology within seven days and attain measurable results inside of 90 days. The company’s average e-commerce client saw organic traffic results increase 30% over six months, Mr. Besmertnik said.

While the company doesn’t yet optimize content for mobile app-store search results, one day, he said, “Conductor will make it so anywhere there’s a search box, we’ll be able to help.”