Private equity notes and comments

SEOMoz, Most transparent private company on the planet?

SEOMoz, the Saas startup focused on helping businesses get the most out of their online web presences announced last week that it had raised an $18 million Series B from existing investor Ignition Partners, as well as new investor, Foundry Group.

Funding announcements aren’t terribly interesting as most most press releases don’t provide any insight into the underlying health or traction of the business. You might see user numbers, but rarely active users or revenue figures.

For example, Path, the mobile social network also just raised a Series B, a whopping $40 million. However, there wasn’t even an official announcement on the story – just confirmation. No word on how user count is growing. Path is maintaining a low profile.

That’s what makes SEOMoz’s story so unique and interesting. While we’re still guessing Path’s number of active users, here’s what we know about SEOMoz – directly from SEOMoz.


Revenue – $11,467,510 for 2011 (projected $18 to $20 million this year)

Net Income – $121k (clear focus on growth)

Pre-money valuation – $75 million (negotiated up from $70 million)

Cash balance prior to funding – $2,172,232.78 (to the penny!)


85% of new customer via inbound marketing

Paid Users/New Trial Users

14,619/4,075 (as of March 2012)

Conversion Rate

56% (Trial to Paid User)


6.9 million visits in 2012 through April 21.

You can even read emails between SEOMoz CEO Rand Fishkin and Foundry VC Brad Feld and the official pitchbook. And the list goes on – use of proceeds, personnel moves, etc.

If you know SEOMoz, the fact that they are so open about their business is nothing new. Transparency is one of their core values and something they take seriously. Despite the positive news with the recent raise, SEOMoz had a rather frustrating experience going through the same process in 2011. You can read all about that failed exercise on Rand’s personal blog.

The interesting thing is that even with SEOMoz’s continued growth and success, business transparency is most certainly not catching on. Wireframe software provider Balsamiq might be another notable example, but these companies are rare. Afterall, disclosing internal performance metrics as a means to success, is something they don’t teach in business school. Who knows, perhaps they should. is an online database of more than 2,200+ private equity firms worldwide.

May 7, 2012 | - By