Botify, a Rising Star in the SEO Space, Gets $55M and Plans to Double Team
When it comes to running a successful company nowadays, it’s hard to overstate the importance of search engine optimization, or SEO — the process that draws traffic to your website when people Google something. In fact, last year, businesses spent about $47 billion on SEO-related services, and the market is expected to be worth more than $103 billion by 2025.
Botify, a software startup helping businesses turn organic online searches into increased revenue, is in a position to take a big bite out of this burgeoning industry thanks to a fresh $55 million funding round. The Series C was led by InfraVia Growth, with participation from Bpifrance’s Large Venture fund, Eurazeo and Ventech, and will be used to scale the company’s operations amid increasing market demand.
Prior to developing Botify, French entrepreneur Adrien Menard was heading a large marketing agency in Paris. While there, he says he realized that an average of 50 percent of its website was ignored by sites like Google and Bing, meaning the agency was losing big opportunities to drive traffic and revenue. So, he teamed up with co-founders Stan Chauvin and Thomas Grange to figure out a way to help big companies drive incremental traffic and revenue from these search engines.
Botify does this with three different products. The first is Botify Analytics, which collects and analyzes data from every phase of the search process. The second is Botify Intelligence, an AI-powered engine that uses the data from the analytics product to provide recommendations on ways to not only protect the traffic a company already has, but also grow it. Finally, there’s Botify Activation, which turns all this data and insight into actions automatically, allowing companies’ SEO teams to focus their efforts on other tasks. These tools, coupled with Botify’s strategic partnerships with platforms like Google Cloud, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Microsoft’s Bing, gives users what they need to get the most out of their online presence.
What Botify says sets the company apart from its competitors is its ability to help companies make their site organically searchable on sites like Google, without any of the tricks typically needed to maintain a high SEO ranking. At the end of the day, Menard says, organic traffic is more sustainable and generates more revenue, which is why Botify is so attractive.
“Organic search marketing represents, on average, about 70 percent of the online traffic and revenue that our customers are doing, so organic search is very important for them and they are going to evaluate Botify on our capacity to support their growth in the revenue coming from the search engines,” Menard told Built In. “[With Botify], they are going to equip their teams with the capabilities to analyze, decide and implement their organic search strategy much faster than if they don’t use Botify.”
After getting its start in Europe for a few years, Botify entered the United States market in 2016, which now accounts for more than 60 percent of its revenue. The company has an office in NYC, where it is continuing to hire, and will be expanding to Asia in light of this funding round. Menard says Botify has about 200 employees globally, and plans to more than double its headcount in the coming months.
“Botify is a French-American startup. What I like about the team that we built over the years is [that] I think we are all sharing this ambition to work together, even if we are coming from different countries, from different teachers, cultures, from different backgrounds and experiences,” Menard said. “And New York was an obvious choice because it was a great entry point to some of the most successful companies in North America.”
Today, Botify has about 500 customers globally, including major brands like Expedia, L’Oreal and Conde Nast. These companies stem from industries like publishing, retail and travel — all areas that have been experiencing accelerated online traffic amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[During the pandemic], we’ve spent tons of time online, searching all the time for anything. Anything that can be part of our life,” Menard said. “The consequences [of this] for our customers is that they had to accelerate their digital transformation. And when you are accelerating your digital transformation, you cannot ignore organic search marketing, simply because it drives such an important part of your online visibility, traffic and revenue.”
To get ahead, you have to “own” this capacity, explained Menard, which has caused demand for Botify’s platform to dramatically increase.
“We have been impressed by Botify’s rapid growth and the fact that they are enabling some of the largest and most sophisticated websites in the world to drive measurable revenue growth through organic search,” Antoine Izsak, the investment director at Bpifrance Large Venture, said in a statement. “The quality and scalability of the Botify platform sets it apart as a leader within the search landscape.”
Looking ahead, Menard says the search industry is headed for a big disruption, and expects the innovative companies being born today could potentially even dethrone Google.
“This environment is moving all the time,” Menard said. “Building a website in 2021 has nothing to do with the way websites were built a few years ago. This means that we constantly have to adapt to the reality of the internet, to the reality of the search engines. And it makes our day-to-day exciting, because you can never take something for granted.”