About a year ago I went to pitch the legendary Ben Horowitz at Andreessen Horowitz for an investment in Yext. They passed. The company was in a weird spot. We had a growing pay-per-call business (Felix) with great technology and a bright future. But we also had a brand new product (PowerListings) that instantly syncs business locations across platforms. We thought PowerListings had the potential to change the world. I wanted to focus on it and we needed capital. Ben’s advice: Why not sell your pay-per-call business and use that capital to grow Yext?
My gut reaction: “that’s a crazy risk”. Felix represented 90% of our revenue, was growing, and pay-per-call was our identity. PowerListings, at the time, was in its infancy– promising early traction, but too soon to completely bet our future on it. A few months later, I realized that’s precisely what Ben did! In pivoting LoudCloud to Opsware, he sold LoudCloud’s hosting business to EDS to raise capital and achieve total strategic clarity in building Opsware. That was maybe a crazy bet, but it turned out to be the right one. But aren’t the best bets the crazy ones? I set the wheels in motion to find a great home for Felix.
Here’s to the crazy ones. Today, we’re announcing that IAC’s CityGrid Media has acquired Felix.
Since that meeting a year ago, Yext has become the undisputed market leader for software to manage and sync business locations across platforms. We’re now bigger than our original business by all conceivable metrics. Already, Yext syncs millions of updates for over 70,000 customer locations, including tens of thousands of small business, and 10 Fortune 100 companies. We plan to invest every penny of the proceeds from our sale of Felix to make it possible for every business location on the planet to instantly sync their information everywhere.
This completes our business transition. Thank you to Ben Horowitz for the great advice. In his honor, I would end with a hip-hop quote, but since I’m more of a 60s music fan, this one comes to mind for the new owners of Felix:
“Take good care of my baby. Please don’t ever make her blue-e-e-e. Just tell her that you love her, make sure you’re thinking of her, in everything you do-o-o-o.”