What you need to know about Semrush

Online visibility operator Semrush is eyeing a New York IPO in 2021. Discover the history of the company, its strategy, and its plans for flotation.

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What is Semrush?

Semrush is a US-based business offering online visibility solutions through its analytics tools, which are primarily used by marketing professionals.

The company sells features such as insights into the strength and weaknesses of a company’s competitors’ domain, web traffic analytics, keyword research and link building tools, along with a dashboard, client manager, marketing calendar, and a range of other options for managing and administrating an account.  

Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, the company has more than 800 employees across five offices and four countries, and saw revenues of more than $125 million for its latest accounts filed in 2020.

How does Semrush make money?

Semrush makes money through a tiered subscription service. Its basic plan is the $99.95 a month Pro version aimed at freelancers and start-ups, offering 40 advanced search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click and social media marketing tools.

The $199.99-a-month Guru package adds a content marketing platform, historical data and extended limits. Finally, the premium $399.95 Business package allows customers API access with extended limits and sharing, integration with Google Data studio, and a ‘share of voice’ metric to help them understand their market share in relation to competitors.  

Is Semrush profitable?

Semrush is not currently profitable, with a net loss of $7 million in 2020. However, this figure is down from the $10 million net loss suffered by the company in 2019.

The business spends a considerable proportion of its revenues on marketing, according to its Form S-1 statement, with outgoings of $54.5 million on this alone in 2020. This suggests that a shift to profitability could be heavily dependent on cutting costs/boosting efficiencies in this area.

Who are Semrush’s competitors?

Semrush’s competitors include fellow online visibility solutions Ahrefs, Moz, Serpstat and Accuranker, which operate a similar subscription model for businesses and marketing professionals, with some providing free versions too.

Some products are perhaps known primarily for their free services, such as Ubersuggest and AnswerThePublic. These players offer a few of the SEO functions available through the paid services of competitors, but also allow users to upgrade to paid plans that deliver more of the features covered by Semrush and others.

What is Semrush’s strategy?

Semrush set out in 2008 to ensure fairness and transparency in online competition. In the beginning, the company’s freemium product was simply distributed among the friends of the founders, a plan which expanded to prospective customers.

The initial years were heavily bootstrapped, with no significant fundraising till a $40 million round in 2018. This cash enabled the company to expand its machine learning market intelligence and proprietary database, as well as fund strategic acquisitions and scale the executive team. Future plans would entail bigger databases, more keywords, and a greater variety of digital marketing tools.

According to its website, rather than following a strict plan the company approaches its strategy from an agile perspective, with a focus on individuals over processes. This could be said to be a prudent approach in an era of unpredictable Google algorithm updates impacting the search results of millions of businesses worldwide. In such uncertain market conditions, the importance of a high level of expertise matched with a strategy born of flexibility cannot be understated.

Who are the directors of Semrush?

Semrush was founded in 2008 by Oleg Shchegolev and Dmitriy Melnikov, with a small group of SEO and IT specialists. In addition to the core founders, there are a number of prominent board members including former Zynga CFO Mark Vranesh and Dylan Pearce, partner at venture capital firm Greycroft, which contributed to the sole 2018 funding round. Here are the key personnel:

Position

Name

CEO and co-founder

Oleg Shchegolev

Chief Financial Officer

Evgeny Fetisov

Chief Technology Officer

Oleg Krasnov

VP, Strategic Growth and Development

Maryna Hradovich

Head of Global Marketing

Olga Andrienko

Head of Communications

Fernando Angulo

When is the Semrush IPO?

In March 2021 Semrush announced an initial public offering planned for the New York Stock Exchange, with the intention of selling $252 million of Class A common stock under the ticker ‘SEMR’. 

The company in total will sell 16.8 million shares at a proposed price per share of $15.

Take a look at some of the other top IPOs for 2021.

How much is Semrush worth?

Determining a value for Semrush both pre and post-IPO is difficult since public data on the percentage of the company that will be sold in the IPO is not available. A common percentage for a business to give away in such a transaction is around 20-30%, which could value the company at more than $1 billion based on the price per share. However, the proportion sold can vary wildly from company to company, making an exact valuation at this stage highly speculative.

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