Profitability for Bazaarvoice! (our company)

5

I’m proud to announce that our company, Bazaarvoice, has achieved profitability! See our release below.

I wanted to share this with my personal blog audience because part of this achievement is practicing many principles and suggestions I’ve shared over the years here. I’ve even been called a "Cheap Ass Marketer" to help achieve this goal….but I take this as a compliment because it’s really about hitting the marketing bulls-eye!

At the highest level, this achievement underscores the fundamental steps to build a startup that are sometimes forgotten in heady times:

  1. Find a need or a problem in a large enough market that needs to be solved
  2. Provide product or service of value to customer to solve that problem
  3. Keep costs low without sacrificing customer experience
  4. Continue to supply value to client (customer satisfaction), at a cost less than price, and profitability will occur

I like to all this “A Business"!

Prior to Bazaarvoice and Dell, I’ve been through 3 startups in the frothy late 90’s in the Bay Area / Silicon Valley. While my first startup was profitable early on (largely due to Apple’s help), the other two were built on what I like to call "Venture Charity". Here’s how those organizations work…

  • Build something cool that may have value to someone
  • Search for someone willing to pay for that value
  • Keep searching.
  • If still not found, try creating something else until money runs out.
  • 9 times out of 10 — notwithstanding the rare ebay/google —  money runs out

We’re already starting to see a pool party of Venture Charity companies in TechCrunch’s Dead Pool.

I’m happy to say that our clients are happy (and renewing their contracts), our employees are happy, and I’m proud of what we’ve built. An adventure like this is a lot of fun, and it’s one of the reasons I decided to come back to startups. I expect our continued success in the future, as we will focus on the same principles that got us here, many of which I share here. I will occasionally share Bazaarvoice updates here, but otherwise you can keep up with it at my ‘other’ blog (actually, many “Bazaarvoicees” contribute here) at www.bazaarblog.com.

—————————————————————

8
out of 10 of the Internet Retailer Top 100 who outsource ratings and
reviews select Bazaarvoice for technology excellence, product
innovation, and the industry’s
  best customer service and support

                     

Austin, TX – May 2, 2007 –  Bazaarvoice,
an innovator in helping brands use online word of mouth to build their
businesses, today announced that the company continues to enjoy
unprecedented growth and recently achieved profitability. Since coming
out of stealth mode in February 2006, Bazaarvoice has signed more than
90 leading online businesses to its acclaimed rating and reviews
solution. Bazaarvoice currently serves more than 250 million reviews
per month for clients including Bass Pro Shops, CDW, Dell, HP, Macy’s,
Overstock.com, PETCO, QVC, Sears, and The Home Depot.
                     

The
past 14 months have also marked a period of unprecedented industry
validation and innovation for Bazaarvoice. The company was named to the
Red Herring 100, and took home top honors as PETCO’s Vendor of the Year
and ClickZ’s Marketing Innovation of the Year. Bazaarvoice also
launched SyndicateVoice, the first open syndication network for ratings
and reviews, and debuted photo and video reviews, as covered by the New York Times.

                     

“We
are 100% focused on our clients’ success as the key to our own
success,” said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice. “Bazaarvoice
is extremely excited about our exceptional growth in such a short time
period, and we are committed to reinvesting in the company, technology,
and people that drive client success. I am very proud of our team’s
focus and execution in quickly reaching profitability. Clients can rest
assured that we are here to serve them for the long-term and that we
are aggressively reinvesting our profits into further R&D,
innovations, and services based on their needs.”

                     

“As
its client and partner list continues to grow, Bazaarvoice is ready to
scale rapidly,” said Chris Pacitti, general partner at Austin Ventures.
“Brett has carefully assembled his executive team to include seasoned
industry experts accustomed to managing large teams and increasing
complexity. Achieving profitability in less than two years since
founding, on a large base of clients and revenue, is an extraordinary
accomplishment. The company is poised and will continue to lead the
market.”

                     

“Like all of our partners,
Bazaarvoice is an extension of our team,” said Vince Stevens, internet
manager of planning & analytics at Cabela’s. “Despite being the
youngest partner we worked with, we took the chance with them based on
their reputation and existing client success. We’re happy to see them
reach the level of maturity that reduces our risks and increases the
opportunities for future growth together."

                     

Global Growth
In just over a year, Bazaarvoice has experienced unprecedented global
progress with clients and partners, and significantly deepened its
presence in interactive and word of mouth marketing communities:

                     

  • Bazaarvoice now serves 8 out of 10 of the       Internet Retailer Top 100 who outsource ratings and reviews.
  • Bazaarvoice
    has signed over 30 partners in the areas of eCommerce platforms (ATG,
    Fry, IBM WebSphere, MarketLive); site search (Celebros, Endeca,
    Mercado, SLI Systems); Web analytics (Coremetrics, Omniture,
    WebSideStory, WebTrends); email marketing (CheetahMail, ExactTarget,
    Responsys); A/B testing and content optimization (Offermatica,
    Optimost, SiteSpect); personalization and recommendations (Aggregate
    Knowledge, Certona, ChoiceStream)
  • Bazaarvoice
    moved aggressively into the UK and European markets with the opening of
    a London office in early 2007 as well as the internationalization of
    its complete solution.
  • Bazaarvoice
    has attracted industry thought leaders to its advisory board including
    WOMMA founding CEO Andy Sernovitz; Dell’s former senior vice president
    of global online business and global brand marketing John Hamlin;
    respected author and marketing guru Bryan Eisenberg; and customer
    experience expert Tamara Adlin.

                     

“Bazaarvoice
has played a critical role in evangelizing word of mouth marketing
through its amazing client success and strong presence in trade
organizations and industry conferences,” said Ed Keller, the respected
author of The Influentials, CEO of the Keller Fay Group, and
former Roper CEO who joined the Bazaarvoice board of directors last
year. “In a short time, Bazaarvoice has helped transform the marketing
landscape by empowering companies to court influencers in new and
innovative ways to share opinions, write reviews, create ads, and build
their business.”

                     

Technology and Product Innovation
Bazaarvoice provides a risk-free way to incorporate ratings and reviews
into the eCommerce experience through the industry’s most customizable
technology, reliable and accurate content moderation, and seamless
integration with over 30 leading eCommerce partners. Bazaarvoice
amplifies the business impact of ratings and reviews through advanced
analytics and branded content syndication to the world’s largest
comparison shopping sites, increasing search engine visibility and
improving overall conversion rates.

                     

Bazaarvoice
launches new functionality every 6 weeks and is committed to
reinvesting capital in development capabilities to provide
industry-leading functionality for its clients:

                     

  • SyndicateVoice,
    the first pay-for-performance online reviews marketing platform driving
    natural search results, launched in August 2006 and was named “the
    killer ad app” by Advertising Age. SyndicateVoice partners include
    popular shopping portals, such as MSN, PriceRunner.com, and Shop.com.
  • Jeff
    Watts, a well-known, 7-year search engine optimization (SEO) expert
    from National Instruments, recently joined Bazaarvoice as a product
    manager to extend the innovation and impact of SyndicateVoice for
    clients.
  • The Bazaarvoice
    Workbench, the industry’s most robust word of mouth analytics platform,
    provides insights into a multitude of performance metrics. The
    workbench allows clients to view individual reviews, and easily
    integrates with client-side Web analytics platforms.
  • New
    product enhancements, including photo and video reviews, analytics
    alerts, and reviewer profiles, deliver significant sales and revenue
    impact to Bazaarvoice clients.
  • Bazaarvoice
    has handled the large scale needs of its clients exceptionally well,
    now serving over 250 million reviews per month.

                     

“Product
ratings and reviews achieve a winning trifecta of increased loyalty,
purchase frequency, and reduced returns for online retailers,” said
Patti Freeman-Evans, senior analyst at JupiterKagan. Freeman-Evans’
August 2006 report, Retail Marketing: Driving Sales Through Consumer-Created Content,
cites user-generated ratings and reviews as the second most important
site feature behind search, and says that retailers who adopt ratings
and reviews as a differentiator and retention strategy will gain market
share. “Bazaarvoice has proven remarkably adept at understanding
retailer requirements and building technology solutions that fit their
needs.”

                     

Client Services and Support Excellence

                     

  • Bazaarvoice
    offers superior community management, support, and content analyst
    teams to ensure each client’s success: Scott Muhlig, a 12-year
    operations manager from Dell who managed a team of over 150, recently
    joined Bazaarvoice as a content operations manager to ensure continued
    excellence in Bazaarvoice’s content and support operations.
  • Bazaarvoice
    launched their new online content management system this year to help
    Content Analysts be more efficient and more exact in ensuring that each
    client’s specific needs are met and their brand is protected.
  • Bazaarvoice
    regularly offers webinars, white papers, and best practices
    documentation to educate clients on the ways to maximize return from
    their word of mouth marketing investments.
  • Bazaarvoice
    Community Managers regularly collaborate with clients to analyze review
    performance and impact to overall site performance.
  • Bazaarvoice
    has helped its clients pioneer ways to leverage ratings and reviews and
    has demonstrated impact with over 20 case studies.

                     

“It
has been rewarding and inspiring to watch our clients embrace word of
mouth marketing and social commerce, and build this new discipline
together with us,” said Sam Decker, vice president of products and
marketing at Bazaarvoice. “We will continue to reinvest our profits in
order to expand all of our solution capabilities and deliver an even
higher ROI for our clients.”

                     

About Bazaarvoice
                        
Based
in Austin, Texas, Bazaarvoice offers outsourced technology, community
management services, analytics, and syndication to encourage and
harness word of mouth marketing, and bring it closer to a company’s
brand and customer experience. The company’s flagship hosted and fully
managed customer ratings and review service allows businesses to
enable, encourage, and analyze customer ratings and reviews on their
website. With Bazaarvoice, companies can empower their customers to
share honest opinions and influence each other to make more informed
and rewarding purchase decisions. Clients like Bass Pro Shops, CompUSA,
Dell, Overstock.com, Macy’s, PETCO, and Sears benefit from a credible
and reliable customer-to-customer community, without having to delve
into complex IT work or the laborious process of community management.
Bazaarvoice was named Marketing Innovation of the Year in the  2006 ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards and received a “Red Herring 100 North  America” award by Red Herring magazine. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.bazaarvoice.com or email
                        info@bazaarvoice.com
                        .

5 Responses

  1. Pete says:

    Wow – that was fast – but no surprise given the momentum you’ve built over the past year. Congratulations!

  2. Patrick Lor says:

    Awesome work, Sam. Killer team + killer idea = success. Congrats!

  3. Redeye VC says:

    Achieving Profitability in 14 months

    Congratulations to Brett and the entire Bazaarvoice team for reaching profitability this month! Because we invest at such an early stage, it’s always extremely rewarding to see one of our portfolio companies reach that milestone, and in only 14 months

  4. Sam, perhaps you could offer some advice to the folks at Austin Ventures? FYI, this quote is from a recent article in the Austin American Statesman — “Investing in Austin tech startups hit a nine-year low in the first quarter, setting off concerns that Central Texas could be losing its standing as an innovation center.”

  5. Sam, huge congrats – this is awesome for your team!
    Jason Alba
    CEO – http://www.JibberJobber.com

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