As a firm that has embraced investing in companies catering to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) (see recent post on Adaptive Planning), we are excited to announce our investment in the largest online community dedicated to small businesses, Manta. Our investment in Manta not only fits with our thesis on SMBs, but also with NVP’s focus on the broader information services space around proprietary data sets, big data and analytics with investments in companies like 1010data, The Retail Equation, Hadapt, Manthan and InsightsOne.
Manta has built the leading online small business community with 89 million worldwide business profiles that are seen by more than 25 million unique monthly visitors. The community continues to grow rapidly with over 3,000 business owners joining the community daily. Through Manta’s proprietary platform, small business owners are able to create, manage and share their online identity, promote their companies, products and services and access shared knowledge and insights. The company provides unique value to small businesses by creating an efficient online promotion engine and to advertisers by creating a highly scalable and targeted marketing platform. Manta’s comprehensive network provides businesses with solutions to connect, collaborate and communicate with other small business owners to learn about attractive opportunities, actively discuss best practices, and share information. In addition, consumers get tremendous value from the high quality data and information provided on these businesses, owners, products and services.
We are thrilled to be partnering with Pam Springer (Manta CEO) and the rest of her exceptional team because we believe they are solving important problems such as:
- SMB Owners Spending Blindly Online on Marketing with No ROI
As advertising dollars continue to shift online to match where consumers are searching for information and consuming media, many SMB owners find that they do not have the expertise or time to market efficiently and effectively. Manta’s premium business listings offer a simple, low cost marketing alternative to targeting and acquiring customers. Many of Manta’s premium business listing subscribers find that they often get a huge ROI because of the increased web presence that Manta is able to provide. In fact, 80% of Manta’s customer base has fewer than 9 employees, of which half do not operate a website, leaving Manta as the clear choice for them to gain a web presence and be discovered.
- Lack of relevant Social Networks for Small Businesses
The creation of new platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn has enabled social connections and sharing for massive networks of users on a personal and professional level. However, these platforms are currently exclusively focused on consumers and professionals. Many small business owners find it cumbersome to create and update Facebook pages and LinkedIn is not relevant since these owners are not looking to build career networks. Manta provides a unique community that helps business owners establish a discoverable online presence, promote their businesses, and connect with other like minded peers. Manta has developed a collaborative portal to facilitate business contacts and connections, sharing tips and best practices, and social site sign-on. The company also recently announced major enhancements to its platform that help small businesses build their referral network through recommendations and social connections tools. These tools are optimized for mobile, creating a unique first-time view into the relationships and connections these businesses have with Manta members.
- Stale Data and Information on Small Businesses
Consumers who search for information on small businesses are inundated with stale or bad information. Manta allows owners to claim and update their profiles with the latest content and information on their businesses. Manta provides detailed, relevant, accurate and hard-to-find current info on global small business: contacts, products and services, owners, employees and descriptions, including rich media data elements.
Manta is a compelling platform in the highly sought after SMB space. It is targeting a large market opportunity sitting at the intersection of local and social online advertising spend, representing a $40B+ annual opportunity. The team at Manta has built the leading online community for small businesses and continues to add new features to help increase social connections and drive user engagement. We feel fortunate to be partnering with such a talented team and look forward to working together to help small businesses profit, connect and grow.