Centzy, a local search engine which provides prices, reviews, hours, and ratings for nearby businesses, is announcing a rebrand to Locality, and $4.3 million in new funding led by Matrix Partners with Cowboy Ventures and ff Venture Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to over $6 million, with prior investors including ff Venture Capital, Cowboy Ventures, Lightbank, Founder Collective, and others. Matrix partner Jared Fliesler has joined the company’s board of directors.
Locality, which launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2012, has ambitions of making every local business searchable online. ￼Local search is 43% of all internet searches, but less than 10% of businesses post their menus, prices, and hours online. Locality wants to change that and the startup is going after the businesses that generally don’t post their info online.
Jay Shek, co-founder and CEO of Locality, tells us that 90 percent of Locality’s pricing, services and hours data is not available anywhere else online, because these businesses don’t put this data online to begin with. For example, in a recent random sampling of 700 nail salons across the nation, Locality provided operating hours data for twice the number of nail salons as Google. This is an especially helpful service for smaller businesses which have never gotten around to launching a web page, or providing their business details to a service like Yext.
Locality uses a proprietary crowdsourcing platform online that collects data from public listings. But the startup also extends its reach beyond what its web crawler can find, and actually calls each business to get accurate information on pricing, hours and more. And Locality brings in reviews from Yelp for each matching listing. Initially, the company tried using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, but found the data wasn’t accurate enough. So it built its own, in-house system instead.
The startup now covers 10,000 U.S. cities, and over 1.5 million people use Locality one or more times each month. Locality covers 60 services in 15 categories. Shek says that currently over two-thirds of traffic comes from mobile devices and in terms of engagement, one-third of consumers engage with a merchant onsite, after searching through Locality.
“Locality does for local services what Kayak does for air travel. We show consumers every service that’s available around them in a way that makes it easy to find the right one for them,” says Shek. “Whether it’s finding the best yoga class in a new city or searching for a spontaneous mani-pedi near the office, Locality connects consumers to services for everyday life, giving them the power to find services wherever they are, whenever they need information.”
As part of the rebranding, Locality is also moving its headquarters to San Francisco and will maintain a satellite office in New York.
Locality has the opportunity to own local search and information for businesses that aren’t covered by Yelp or Google, like spas, manicure salons, dry cleaners and more. While these companies may show up on Google search or Yelp, Locality offers more information like hours and pricing of various services. It wouldn’t be surprising if Locality ended up owning some of the transactions and bookings at some point, making the startup a local marketplace.
As the mobile era only scales further, local search is becoming a big market for Google, Yelp and many others that provide data on local services. But Locality puts a big piece of the puzzle together when it comes to actually bringing key information like hours and pricing to the forefront of search results. With that in mind, it should be interesting to see whether Locality is complimentary to Google or Yelp, or actually competitive.