While Foursquare has been the most hyped location startup out of New York, there is actually another startup that is growing a real business from serving merchants with about 150,000 locations globally.
Yext has quietly grown to 200 employees through a platform that makes it easy for brands and small businesses to manage their location data across more than 50 search engines, mapping companies and on Facebook. They’ve raised more than $65 million to date after spinning out and selling an older pay-per-call business to IAC, in favor of going after this opportunity.
CEO Howard Lerman thinks of his company as the “quiet location giant,” which could eventually become one of the New York tech scene’s serious IPO candidates.
They’re making their connection to the Facebook platform even more seamless today with the launch of Yext Sync. Through a mobile app, businesses can manage their Facebook Pages, whether they have one or one thousand of them. It’s designed so that a local employee at one of a franchise’s hundreds or thousands of locations can update the page with real-time content like photos or status updates.
“If a Starbucks barista is interacting with customers every day, why can’t they manage the local Facebook Page?” said Yext CEO Howard Lerman. He said that Facebook is now a growing source of local search; according to a study from Neustar, Facebook has about 13 percent of local searches now.
The app they’ve built, called Yext Sync, kind of feels like any other social networking app where you can just add photos or updates to a stream (which ends up being the Facebook page). Facebook actually has its own Pages Manager App, but it isn’t multi-platform, Lerman says.
“When a business or brand posts into Yext, it appears not just in Facebook, but also, optionally on our network of 50 sites,” he explained. “So, post once, and it updates more than 50 platforms with one touch. This is better than updating each platform individually.”
Yext is looking to have 300,000 locations on its platform by next year. They have a subscription model with tiers that range from $149 a year to $499, depending on the number of sites a business wants to manage.