Rand Fishkin

SEOMoz CEO Rand Fishkin may raise a massive venture capital round in the range of $20 million to $30 million. Then, again, he may not.  I guess that’s the luxury of being a fast growing — not to mention profitable — startup company these days. You’ve got options, and Fishkin has plenty of them.

Earlier today, the technology news site VentureBeat incorrectly reported that SEOMoz had raised a new round of financing. (The post has since been corrected).

We were still curious what was going on with the search engine optimization software company so we chatted tonight with Fishkin, who is one of the more transparent entrepreneurs we’ve ever encountered.

Fishkin tells us that he’s considering raising capital, though that’s not too different of a posture from a fascinating and thoughtful analysis that he wrote about the struggles of raising outside capital on his blog last month. In the post, Fishkin wrote that the idea of taking another round of funding is “an arduous, nerve-wracking process.”

That process still appears to be weighing on the mind of Fishkin. VentureBeat suggested that the financing round would close soon, but Fishkin tells GeekWire that nothing is imminent.

“If we do something, I’d think it would be prior to November but probably not in August,” he said. Asked for more detail on the likelihood of a venture capital deal, Fishkin noted that “with unknowns there’s just too much that’s unknown.”

There certainly are a number of venture investors who would love to get a piece of SEOMoz, and we’ve heard through our own channels that several are knocking on the door. After all, its revenues are expected to more than double this year to about $12 million. As previously noted, the 45-person company also is profitable.

That kind of profile appeals to investors who are looking for growth stories in fast-growing industries, of which search engine optimization is one.

Fishkin says that they’ve entertained “some friendly, inbound interest” but “nothing’s a done deal.”

In 2007, SEOMoz raised $1.1 million from Curious Office Partners and Ignition Partners.  This time, if a round does occur, it would be much bigger.

“Given that we’re profitable and growing … much below $20 million wouldn’t allow us to invest in growth in the ways we’d like to,” he said.

The SEOMoz story is an interesting one given that it spun off its consulting business to Distilled last year. Since 2007, the company’s software business has grown from $400,000 to $5.7 million last year.

You can hear more of Fishkin’s story from his talk at the Seattle 2.0 Awards earlier this year. Fishkin also was a recent guest on the GeekWire podcast where he talked in detail about some of the big changes going on in the search industry.

Comments

  • http://www.randfishkin.com/blog Rand Fishkin

    Thanks John! It was an odd day, learning that we’d been funded, then checking our bank accounts and not seeing any cash :-)

    In all seriousness, though, whether we end up closing on something or not, we’re very excited to be growing fast, in a position of profitability and in Seattle, where the summer feels like an air-conditioned mall.

    • johnhcook

      Thanks Rand. What was especially odd to me is that you’ve never been shy about telling exactly what’s going on with your business, frankly at a level of openness that’s quite rare among startup CEOs. It is refreshing. Anyway, keep me posted on whatever you decide on the financing trail.

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