WeWork acquires SEO and marketing company Conductor

WeWork is acquiring Conductor.

The two businesses might not seem like an obvious fit. Why would a coworking giant buy a company that’s best known for search engine optimization?

Well, Conductor co-founder and CEO Seth Besmertnik said that he and WeWork CEO Adam Neumann went to college together, and they’ve “kept reconnecting and reconnecting over the years.” More importantly, the companies are already customers of each other’s services.

WeWork President & Chief Financial Officer Artie Minson elaborated on that idea in an emailed statement:

There’s a lot that make WeWork and Conductor a natural fit. Seth and his team built Conductor to provide the insights, education, and resources their customers need to succeed — in other words, Conductor helps their customers do what they love, and do it better. Conductor has made it easier for us to reach potential WeWork members who are looking for workspace. It’s also helped us get the word out about the services and amenities that we offer to companies of all sizes.

And now that Conductor is part of WeWork, Besmertnik said, “We’re going to be building a marketing cloud to go after the enterprise market.”

Besmertnik argued that “search data is human data,” so it makes sense to use that data to power content creation — and the company was already adding content marketing tools to its core SEO product.  Moving forward, Conductor plans to expand into other types of marketing and advertising.

He added that this shouldn’t change anything for existing Conductor customers.

“It’s only going to be better,” Besmertnik said. “We’re going to be investing in the product even more aggressively.”

Conductor will continue to operate as an independent business, with its own clients, and Besmertnik will continue to serve as CEO. At the same time, it will be looking for ways to bundle up its services for WeWork’s Enterprise customers. (And these are genuinely huge businesses — WeWork says its Enterprise members include 22 percent of the Fortune 500.)

WeWork’s two most recent acquisitions were Flatiron School and Meetup, which also continue to operate as independent businesses.

According to Crunchbase, Conductor had raised more than $60 million in total funding from investors including Matrix Partners, Firstmark, Investor Growth Capital, Blue Cloud Ventures and Catalyst Investors. The financial terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, but Besmertnik described the deal as “a great outcome for everybody.”

Both companies also discuss the deal in their own blog posts