Rand Fishkin, right, handed the Moz CEO reigns to Sarah Bird last month.
Rand Fishkin, right, handed the Moz CEO reigns to Sarah Bird last month.

Moz already let people know that 2013 wasn’t its most successful year, and now there are numbers to prove it.

The Seattle-based provider of search-engine and social-media optimization software just publicly posted a detailed recap of its internal business numbers from last year.

Moz, which prides itself on corporate transparency, brought in a record $29.3 million in gross revenue, up 33 percent from 2012. But the startup also posted a $5.7 million loss in 2013 mainly due to a bevy of hiccups endured while launching Moz Analytics.

“We knew we were going to burn in 2013,” CEO Sarah Bird wrote today. “That’s why we took the $18m Series B. This is a bigger loss than we planned on, though, and we’re disappointed we missed our goals.”

Bird, who replaced Rand Fishkin as CEO in December, added that the company still has enough capital to continue growing and expects to be profitable by Q3 of this year.

moz222

Fishkin, who co-founded the company back in 2004, noted in the comments section of Bird’s blog post that Moz approximately doubled revenue of its software business every year since 2007. However, 2013 was different.

“We had a relatively good January-June in 2013, but then made a series of poor decisions and poor execution that led us to where we are now,” he wrote. 

moz_logo (1)Fishkin added that “my personal happiness and ability to contribute positively to morale fell massively.” Like he detailed in last month’s blog post, today he again explained that the struggles in the second half of 2013 made him realize it was time to pass the CEO torch off to someone else.

“For years, I had dreamed of what Moz Analytics could be, and how it would help marketers, and the delays coupled with the launch issues, the performance of the invite list, and the bugs/issues/quality around launch were incredibly disappointing,” Fishkin wrote. “As Sarah said, things have gotten better, but my expectations for this team are high. I hope we are able to do remarkable things in 2014.”

The 2013 year-in-review post reveals several other details about Moz’s performance last year, from web traffic (up 45%) to paying subscriber statistics (25,034 customers) to charitable donations ($105,090). The company also shared where it spends its money:

mozexpenses

Moz, which changed its name from SEOmoz in late May and moved into a new office space in July, now employs 134 employees after adding 47 people last year.

Update, 11:10 a.m., Jan. 31 — Foundry Group’s Brad Feld, who sits on Moz’s board, wrote up a short blog post Friday in support of the company’s transparency.

Brad Feld
Brad Feld

Feld wrote that when most companies talk about transparency, “it’s bullshit.” He thinks Moz, however, is different.

“I know transparency is hard,” Feld wrote. ” … but when you talk about being transparent, it’s often useful to have a standard of ‘real transparency’ to compare yourself too. I’d put Moz at the top of that list in my book.”

Despite Moz’s $5.7 million loss in 2013, which the Seattle startup called “disappointing,” Feld sounded confident in the company’s future.

“Given all the things in motion, they and their team have done an amazing job of navigating another step function in the growth and development of the company,” he wrote. “They are extremely well positioned on all levels for 2014 — product, strategy, infrastructure, financials, cost structure, and team. And they have huge hearts.”

[Editor’s Note: Moz is a GeekWire annual sponsor.]

Comments

  • Guest

    If I were a stockholder (and I’m not) I’d be asking the question of whether this business scales or if it’s really a consulting business after all. Looking at those charts, employee and related expenses are growing significantly faster than revenue, when it should be the other way around. If Sarah and Rand want this company to succeed in the way they say it will, they have to fix that and soon.

    • http://www.extendedresults.com/ Patrick Husting

      Well the age old response is we are investing for future growth! But hey, they have money so why not enjoy it!

    • Jeremy

      Agreed. Their personnel costs are ridiculously high for a company of under 150 employees. Unless they fix this glaring issue, they won’t be able to grow.

  • Guest

    Commisserations to Mozilla on a disappointing year. Although Firefox continues to lose market share and features to Chrome, we believe that emerging markets may benefit from new Firefox OS ‘phones and ‘blets in 2014.

  • booo

    Gonna feel the other edge of the “transparent” sword when their customers start to doubt them. Transparency is very noble but it’s also naive. Private companies need some level of privacy to weather storms. Imagine if MS had practiced this naive “transparency” early on when they could barely meet payroll. Their customers would have walked away.

    MOZ …do yourself a favor and tell the hippies that want corp transparency to go hang out with publicly traded companies. IMHO of course!

  • Guest

    Would be interesting to know how much did their rebranding from SEOmoz to Moz cost them? No only in rebranding but also in terms of perception etc.
    Also it reminds me them going on ward against a startup called Doz.
    http://www.geekwire.com/2013/moz-doz-trademark-issues-play-tragic-naming-dispute/

    How much did they spend on that too?

  • Meh

    Never really understood what the end game was with this company be a site analyzer or Hub Spot clone. And I’m sorry playing around with search terms doesn’t make you competent to run a software company.

  • Sean

    According to the numbers, an average personnel cost of $128K is pretty steep. That is a glaring figure.

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