Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

Trada Update

tradaCompanies rarely grow in a straight line (or the fabled exponential one). Building a business isn’t about getting from point A to point D by passing through points B and C. There are fits and starts. Amazing discoveries and heart wrenching realizations. Huge highs and low lows.

Trada – which has built a large crowdsourced marketplace for search optimization – has been through its version of this crazy growth curve over the past 5 years. We’ve learned a ton and along the way have delighted a large number of customers. But we’re having one of those non-linear moments at the business and came to the realization that we needed to shrink to grow. So we took the harsh medicine and significantly cut back the Trada staff. The result was a business that has real revenue and customers, is growing and bringing on new business, is continuing to build and innovate product and is profitable.

I bring this up because it’s been falsely reported in a few media outlets (and on Twitter) that Trada is shutting down (purposely not linkning here – any reporter who can’t even perform the most basic due diligence on a story doesn’t deserve the extra traffic). Trada is not shutting down. The move the company made last Friday was bold, dramatic and painful. But it was the best thing for the business and its customers. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a business retrench (Gnip, for example, cut back to 6 people a few years ago before profitably growing back to 80 and counting).

As I’ve said before, building a company is often a 10 year + journey. We have plenty of distance to go still at Trada.

November 20th, 2013     Categories: Foundry Companies     Tags: , , , ,

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.