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Yext is a New York City technology company that enables businesses to update location-related information on multiple websites from one place, thereby providing a centralized Yellow Pages-like service in a more fragmented online environment. The company was founded in 2006 by Howard Lerman, Brian Distelburger and Brent Metz. Customers for Yext's service, called PowerListings, include both small businesses and Fortune 100 companies. By December 2012, Yext's subscriber based had reached 100,000 paid, active locations, with annual revenues exceeding $30 million.
PowerListings addresses the problem of maintaining location-related information stored in multiple online data sources, such as common search engines like Yahoo!, location check-in services like Foursquare and directory websites like SpaFinder.com. These data sources are seldom interconnected, and therefore require that listed companies update each one individually. Yext provides a single point of contact, both for initially listing location information on multiple sites and updating it. Updates include changes of address, phone number, hours of operation, clickable featured messages, and photos or videos. In February 2013, Yext expanded that list to include lists of products or services, calendars, menus, and staff bio information. At that time, the company also provided additional ways of adding new data, which are often in long lists: manually, via a spreadsheet, or by Yext automatically retrieving information from a company website, with subsequent review by a person.
Yext was founded in 2006 as a local advertising business. By 2009, it was generating $20 million in revenues and had moved to a billing model based on generating leads vis a pay-per-call model. In August 2012, the company sold that business to IAC's CityGrid Media in order to focus on its listing update service. Lerman later explained the sale as part of his investment strategy: "You should only take big bets in technology." By that time, Yext had raised $65.8 million in funding and handled 950,000 location updates for 50,000 businesses. Investors include Sutter Hill Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, and WGI investments. In July, 2012, the company took out a seven-year lease on 36,823 square feet at One Madison Avenue in New York.
In March 2011, Michael Walrath, founder of the online advertising exchange Right Media, became Yext's chairman. In 2012, Yext's management team of Lerman, Distelburger, and Wendi Sturgis placed tenth in Business Insider's Silicon Alley 100 listing of "the coolest people" in New York's technology sector.