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If you're an SEO, chances are you're familiar with SEOmoz.
The Seattle-based company is a brand name in the SEO space, and the company's CEO, Rand Fishkin, a highly-visible figure in the industry.
For all of the company's success, however, growing SEOmoz hasn't always been easy. Last year, for instance, Fishkin revealed on his blog how he almost raised $24m in a second round of funding for his company, only to see the deal fall through.
Fishkin's blog post attracted a lot of attention, and for good reason: it provided an uncommonly honest view of one entrepreneur's view of the fundraising process. "I feel burned," Fishkin wrote. "This is the second time in 3 years that I've gotten excited about raising a potential round of capital, and it turned out terribly both times. I’m not sure what I did wrong or what I should do differently next time."
While SEOmoz didn't close a funding round in 2011, the adage "good things come to those who wait" applied to Fishkin and his team and yesterday, he announced that SEOmoz has raised $18m from Foundry Group and Ignition Partners at a $75m pre-money valuation.
Once again, Fishkin took to the internet to reveal all about the deal, including the metrics that sold his investors on the company. The most notable: since 2007, when the company raised a small $1.1m round of funding, SEOmoz has grown its product revenue from just over $400,000 to nearly $11.5m in 2011. And the company is currently on pace to achieve $18m in product revenue this year.
"The [new] money is going to help us do amazing things, and it's going to mean we can do a lot more of them faster and at greater scale than we could have on our own," Fishkin wrote. He also revealed intimate details about his company, including the fact that he now owns 24% of equity and actually gave up some shares without compensation to keep his employees from being diluted.
Funding, obviously, is no guarantee of success, but in today's frothy market, where twenty-something entrepreneurs raise seed rounds at multi-million dollar valuations with little more than rough prototypes and all-star founders can raise tens of millions of dollars just because, Fishkin's refreshingly transparent chronicles of an experience that is often glamorized by the tech press is a valuable contribution to entrepreneurs everywhere.