May 1 2012

Getting it Right the 2nd Time (our investment in SEOMoz)

It’s not often in this business that you get a second bite at the proverbial apple, but with our funding of SEOMoz announced today we got just that.

I first met SEOMoz founder and CEO Rand Fishkin in late 2008. It was a pretty memorable meeting in the lobby of the Vitale. At the time I was deep into the SEM side of the search world and was thinking about whether we wanted to place a bet on the organic side of search (aided at the time by what seemed like a large number of SEO agencies trying to productize their service into some kind of software package). It was clearly a big opportunity.

I liked Rand a lot and while we’re often skeptical about services companies “productizing” their offerings, SEOMoz was never really built to be a services business and as Rand carefully explained, while early, they were clearly seeing product traction. Plus they had great tech and a solid team.

So, clearly we passed.

I actually don’t remember exactly what it was that made us not jump at investing (Brad talked with the company as well at the time). But whatever it was, with the benefit now of a few years hindsight it was obviously the wrong call.

To our luck (and to SEOMoz’s credit and benefit), the company grew organically (apparently we weren’t the only ones to have got this one wrong). And then even more to our luck (and at the time to the company’s dismay, but clearly to their long term benefit) an agreed upon large financing deal fell through at the last minute (Rand’s post on that experience is really worth reading if you haven’t already).

So here we are. Back at the table and with a second chance to get it right. The story of how we ended up investing this time around is a good one – and one described in detail on the company’s blog post this morning.

So welcome team SEOMoz to the Foundry portfolio! And thanks for giving us another chance.