Conductor raises $150M at a $525M valuation to build out its search-based, organic marketing technology

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conductor — a marketing technology company that was snapped up by WeWork at the height of the latter company’s expansion ambitions, only to then buy itself out in the wake of WeWork’s collapse — once again made its first round as an independent startup. Funding has been increased. It has used the $150 million, funds to continue investing in its technology and build out its business: an organic marketing platform aimed at SEO, content and web marketing teams, search traffic to help create more accurate marketing Takes advantage of insight from Strategies.

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Conductor CEO and co-founder Seth Bessmertnik confirmed to us that the deal — led by Bregal Sagemount, along with other investors not disclosed — was done at a post-money valuation of $525 million. By comparison, that’s a huge leap, considering that management’s buyout for himself and others in the company was led at a cost of $3.5 million, according to data from pitch book,

He said that about half of the investment would be in the form of secondary shares going to the employee-owners of the business; And half is new equity to put in the business.

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For those who may not be familiar with Conductor’s backstory, here’s a brief summary, as it is relevant to what the startup is doing today:

Conductor’s appeal to WeWork, back in 2018, was based around WeWork already being one of Conductor’s big customers. The highly capitalized WeWork was using Conductor’s marketing technology to figure out what businesses might be looking for when it came to office space, and it ensured that its marketing aligns with that so that there will be more businesses for WeWork. can be prepared. This proved to be a very successful partnership, enough to give WeWork the idea that if it owned Conductor itself, it would be able to provide its “virtual” real estate presence to its existing business clients as their physical presence. Can leverage their technology to help you grow. , as did WeWork itself.

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For Conductor, the deal also made sense, Besmartnik said, because Conductor already counts several enterprises among its customers, and WeWork could potentially provide another route to reach more of them. .

Those growth, as we know it now, never quite came to fruition as both companies thought it might. Fortunately, the acquisition never touched Conductor’s already existing business. So when it started to become clear that the division’s workforce could be laid off as part of WeWork’s massive cost-cutting, Besmertnik and the current team planned to buy the business to give it a shot at survival. When it became independent again in 2019, Conductor retained its subscriber list, and has built on it ever since. Between then and now, the customers it has added to its list include Microsoft, GlaxoSmithKline and AT&T, with other customers including Visa, Twitter, Comcast and LG — about 450 big names.

At its heart, Conductor’s technology will typically be one of many tools – perhaps dozens these days – that a marketer will use to both collect and analyze data to design and run a campaign. And to that end, the company integrates with dozens of other sources and platforms to make that management and use easier for customers (the list includes insights tools like Dragon Metrics, Google Trends, Talkwalker, Deepcrawl, and SEMrush. Management platforms such as Jira, Asana, Trello and Workfront; and measurement technologies from Adobe, Google, Webtrends, and more.)

But what’s interesting is that its approach in focusing on search is probably more relevant today than ever: not only is the number of controls to protect data growing (be they regulatory measures like the GDPR, or alternatives to Apple’s). such as those created by platform providers), but we’re also seeing a rapid growth of walled gardens in specific apps: viewers spend a lot of time in gaming environments or social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, and this gives marketers little visibility. When it comes to understanding what users want, or what they are doing.

The search inevitably breaks through it, and the conductor believes it is a large enough area that it provides a window into those activities and needs.

“No one ever lies to a search engine,” said Besmartnik. “Whenever someone needs to buy something or look for something, they are searching on Google. Big social media companies are turning a blind eye to other forms of media, but when you want to do something or find something, search gets in our blood. They still go to search engines.”

Traffic is going to be more searches than ever, he explains, in part due to COVID-19 and the change that has brought more and more people to take their lives online, which has created a huge impact for the conductor’s business. Has acted as a big incentive, and especially around how companies are taking advantage of Search.

“Covid has hit the accelerator on digital for many companies that were not digital-first before,” he said. “You can no longer have a great digital experience. It has to be discoverable. It has to be able to be found.”

There are plenty of other Martech companies out there that have explored the power of search – especially search-engine optimization specialists like SEMrush, Botify, BrightEdge, DeepCrawl and many more. Conductor’s customer list is one way that it stands out from the crowd and appears at the top of results, so to speak.

“At Bregel Sagemount, we pride ourselves on working with market leaders. The feedback we heard from Conductor’s customers and the market was certain—Condor is a leader in organic marketing,” said partner Michael Costi in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Seth and the entire Conductor team to advance their technology and help people transform their mission of empowering brands into marketing.” With Kosti this round joining the board.

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