Centzy Becomes Locality and Announces $4.3M Series A, Aims to Fix Local Search Once and For AllNovember 21, 2013
by Michael Carney
Here’s a newsflash: most local small businesses still aren’t online. And even for those who are, searching for granular business information like hours of operation, menu of products and services, and pricing remains a fantasy. Sure Google knows the address and phone number of most small businesses. And in rare cases, a PDF or a photograph of a businesses menu may exist on some third-party site like MenuePages, but actually searching through this information is nearly impossible. It sounds like a 2005 problem, and yet, it’s 2013 and these are the facts.
Locality (fka Centzy) has set out to solve this the messy, but unsexy “comprehensive local search” problem. Today, the company announced its expansion to 10,000 US cities and the closing of a $4.3 million Series A funding round led by Matrix Partners. The round brings Locality’s total funding to $6.7 million, with existing investors including Lightbank, ffVC, Cowboy Ventures, and Founder Collective.
Matrix general partner and former Square, Google, and Slide exec Jared Fliesler will join the company’s board of directors. This is Fliesher’s first investment since joining the firm last spring. In conjunction with the completion of its fundraising, Locality is relocating its headquarters and the majority of its team from New York to San Francisco.
One of the reasons this local search problem remains largely unsolved is there is no technology hack for getting this information online and then keeping it up to date, at scale. Locality is simply the first company willing to do the block-and-tackle work of calling millions of small businesses and manually collecting this information – a process it repeats several times per year to capture any changes in a business’ information. Seriously. All so that consumers can search for dry cleaners within a 5 mile radius of their home that are open until 7pm and offer next day services and compare prices and reviews.
“Locality does for local services what Kayak does for air travel,” says co-founder and CEO Jay Shek. “We show consumers every service that’s available around them in a way that makes it easy to find the right one for them. Local search represents 43 percent of all internet searches, but less than 10 percent of businesses post their menus, prices, and hours online.”
Today, Locality provides verified information on approximately 1 million local merchants covering 60 local services. Among these categories are things like hair and nail salons, spas, tanning salons, dry cleaners, gyms and yoga studios, chiropractors, dentists, eye doctor, oil change, daycares, preschools, and pet boarding, among others. Shek describes these as “errands,” or high-frequency of use services, excluding exclude restaurants, bars, and complex and expensive services, or those with variable pricing.