Startup Spotlight: Bizible raises cash to elevate businesses in online directories

Aaron Bird

In an era of Yelp, CitySearch, Google Places and dozens of other online directories, it can be especially tough for small businesses to make sure that they are being properly listed and discovered. Bizible, led by former Bing AdCenter veterans Aaron Bird and Peter Thompson, believes it can help relieve some of that pain by making it easier to manage online profiles while at the same time bolstering where those businesses appear in local search results.

The company recently closed $330,000 in funding and just launched the first incarnation of its MegaListings service, which makes sure that the profiles, logos and descriptions of businesses are properly listed in over 150 different directories. Taking things a step further, Bizible then provides search engine optimization services to help companies appear higher in search results.

Here’s more about the upstart in our latest installment of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We build software to help small businesses with effective and affordable online marketing.”

Inspiration hit us when: “While working on a past advertising project serving local businesses. I built a local directory business and found the Bizible opportunity while working with small business customers.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Angel, we felt that we could move faster with some gas in the tank.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “We have a lot of experience building products in the online advertising space and really understand the needs of the local business.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Following the Lean Startup process, releasing early and often. There is nothing more valuable than testing your assumptions in the marketplace. “1 piece of data is worth a thousand amazing theories.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “The few times we’ve waited too long to test assumptions and built too much without validated learning. We’ve pivoted a few times and we could have reached the conclusions faster.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Zuck. We are in the businesses of online marketing and social is directly in our sites.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “We want to build the brand local businesses think of when they want to market themselves online (without giving away 80 percent discounts).”

Rivals should fear us because: “We have a world class team and we are dedicated to the space. We don’t really have rivals, the closest thing to competition in the market right now are local SEO companies. We are about to disrupt that space and drive prices down by 90%. I guess that is something to fear.

We are truly unique because: “We are the only company we know of that focuses on inbound marketing for local businesses. This is the future of effective marketing for local businesses and we are pioneering the market.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “We haven’t come across anything that daunting so far. Startups are really hard, but nothing in particular stands out.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Follow the lean startup process and focus on customers. Figure out creative ways to test your assumptions without writing code, this will make you move much faster. Apply to TechStars and be engaged in the process. We learned a lot, got awesome feedback, and made some great relationships by just being very active in the application process.”

Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send  photos of the founder(s) and company logo to tips@geekwire.com. Past profiles can be found here.

  • Cincinnatistuff

    Bizible submits to  Localeze and UniversalBusinessListing.org for $300. You can submit to UBL yourself for $40 and it will do the same thing as Bizible.

    I don’t really see anything new or revolutionary that Bizible offers. Yext, UBL and others have offered these services for awhile not. Yext is equally overpriced but UBL.org is respected and recommended by many well known SEO and local search experts.

    • http://twitter.com/BirdsTweets Aaron Bird

      You can submit to UBL for $39, and they do offer a great service that we partner with, but it will not do the same as submitting to Bizible.  You will not get as much distribution and you will not get as detailed reporting.

  • Chet Kittleson

    I think it’s a great idea, and one that several small start-ups most definitely need. The question is, do they know this? I grew up working at ma and pa shops, and the owners wouldn’t pay to fix ANYTHING, let alone pay for SEO and spruced up business listings. I’ll be excited to watch your progress, best of luck!

    • Andy Turman

      Great point and thank you for the compliment, Chet.  Working against the status quo is always a hurdle in sales.  Businesses have advertised for years on billboards, in print and on doorstops, ahem, phonebooks.  Ma & Pa get savvier every day and as they look to technology to for their local business marketing, we’ll be there.

      Thank you for checking out our first public local SEO tool, the MegaListings service.  We’re on the verge of opening up the whole tool box, which includes very exciting new toys.

      Best,
      -A
      andy@bizible.com