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Getting it Right the 2nd Time (our investment in SEOMoz)

It’s not often in this business that you get a second bite at the proverbial apple, but with our funding of SEOMoz announced today we got just that.

I first met SEOMoz founder and CEO Rand Fishkin in late 2008. It was a pretty memorable meeting in the lobby of the Vitale. At the time I was deep into the SEM side of the search world and was thinking about whether we wanted to place a bet on the organic side of search (aided at the time by what seemed like a large number of SEO agencies trying to productize their service into some kind of software package). It was clearly a big opportunity.

I liked Rand a lot and while we’re often skeptical about services companies “productizing” their offerings, SEOMoz was never really built to be a services business and as Rand carefully explained, while early, they were clearly seeing product traction. Plus they had great tech and a solid team.

So, clearly we passed.

I actually don’t remember exactly what it was that made us not jump at investing (Brad talked with the company as well at the time). But whatever it was, with the benefit now of a few years hindsight it was obviously the wrong call.

To our luck (and to SEOMoz’s credit and benefit), the company grew organically (apparently we weren’t the only ones to have got this one wrong). And then even more to our luck (and at the time to the company’s dismay, but clearly to their long term benefit) an agreed upon large financing deal fell through at the last minute (Rand’s post on that experience is really worth reading if you haven’t already).

So here we are. Back at the table and with a second chance to get it right. The story of how we ended up investing this time around is a good one – and one described in detail on the company’s blog post this morning.

So welcome team SEOMoz to the Foundry portfolio! And thanks for giving us another chance.

  • http://www.willcritchlow.com Will Critchlow

    Good job guys. You’ve backed a winner IMO (and I’ve seen more of the inside working than most).

    Good luck to all involved – let me know if there’s anything I can do!

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      Thanks Will!

  • http://twitter.com/spencerrascoff Spencer Rascoff

    Congratulations Seth. I’m a big fan of SEOMoz and of Rand. They have done good work for Zillow in the past, and I always enjoy catching up with Rand.
    Congrats

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      Thanks Spencer! Psyched to be involved! And hopefully this will bring me to Seattle sometime soon (Brad is taking the board seat but I’ll be involved) – would be good to see you in person one of these days.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carinsurancechamps Christine Casker

    Huge SEOmoz fan.  Rand is a great leader.  Looking forward to see how they grow now.  Congrats

  • Sheldon Campbell

    Everything happens for a reason, Seth. Maybe 2009 just wasn’t the right time.
    Certainly, the experience made Rand and his team tougher and smarter, and they already had a pretty good start, IMO.  I think Foundry and Moz will both benefit greatly from this union, and I’m looking forward to watching it happen.

    • http://www.sethlevine.com sethlevine

      I agree everything happens for a reason Sheldon. And clearly Rand and the Foundry team have changed in the past years – hopefully that will make us better partners!

  • http://www.paligap.com/ Iain Bartholomew

    Interesting times ahead and, for me, interesting is the best that times can be.