The Next Yext: Local business listing upstart gets a major facelift

yext local businesses

Hot off of its recent $27 million funding round, New York City-based Yext is today introducing The Next Yext, a massive update to the company’s business listing synchronization service that offers a revamped user interface, as well as a slew of useful new features.

Among those new additions are multi-location features that make the service more useful to large nationwide retail chains; review monitoring, allowing you to glance at user reviews across several sites at once; and a helpful profile builder, which points out where you have missing business info.

The company initially started out as a phone transcription service, but after releasing a feature to help business owners monitor their listings on multiple sites, Yext quickly realized that there was a bigger business in simplifying how people managed their business listings.

“Starting a business is a scary proposition, but it’s even scarier to bet a company that’s doing $30 million in revenue this year — and growing — on a totally unproven business model,” Yext CEO and co-founder Howard Lerman told VentureBeat in an interview yesterday. “To the credit of my team, they didn’t blink when I said we were doing something else. … I’m not even sure we recognized how crazy it was [at the time].”

Now Yext lets you synchronize local business data across 50 publishers, including Yelp, Bing, and MapQuest. The company says it has powered more than 950,000 business location updates since September.

The Next Yext update adds a fine level of gloss across the entire service. Before, Yext’s interface looked fairly rudimentary. Now there are bright colors, nice fonts, and a general sense of polish. Lerman showed off how Yext can now update dozens of business listings at once, as well as just how fast updates made from the Yext mobile app populate across business listings (it’s almost instant).

“One thing I’ve found is that ideas are kind of worthless,” Lerman said, when asked what led him to come up with Yext, as well as what led to the eventual synchronization pivot. “It’s all about the execution. I mean, you need to have a good idea and you have to be smart about it, but everyone has a lot of the same ideas over and over again.”

He added, “There’s a lot of companies out there that have had the idea of synchronizing businesses, but none of them actually work.”

That may sound cocky, but it’s also true. Yext is about more than just getting businesses online — it is letting physical retailers instantly stay connected with all those consumers walking around with smartphones and tablets.  The company claims that 6 percent of businesses change their listings every month, and 20 percent of local searchers by consumers return wrong information. (The hidden message: don’t let that be you.)

Yext has raised more than $65 million so far from Marker, CrunchFund, Sutter Hill Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), and WGI Group.