Today SEOMoz announced that Foundry Group has led an $18 million financing and I’m joining the board. Rand Fishkin (The Wizard of Moz) has an incredibly detailed post up titled Moz’s $18 Million Venture Financing: Our Story, Metrics and Future describing the financing process and company history in great depth. In it, he includes all kinds of numbers that people writing articles about financing are always asking for but never getting – it’s an extraordinarily (in my experience) transparent description of what, why, and how it went down. My partner Seth Levine also has a nice post up about our previous miss on financing SEOMoz titled Getting It Right The 2nd Time. And the official press release has a bunch of Internet Memes (thanks to Cheezburger) along with the liberal use of the word fuck.

Instead of going through the history of the financing, which is amply covered in the other posts, I’m going to talk about TAGFEE. What’s TAGFEE? It’s the tenents of SEOMoz. From the SEOMoz website:

Our goal is to have everything we create and cultivate – be it software, content, corporate culture, or professional relationships – live up to these tenets. We acknowledge that we are entirely responsible for SEOmoz’s reputation; the level of success we achieve, the brand image we create, and the contributions we make to the marketing industry are a direct reflection of our ability to uphold the TAGFEE code.

At my first company (Feld Technologies) we had a set of precepts and at Foundry Group we have a set of deeply held beliefs. When I first saw TAGFEE I immediately flashed to these two concepts. As I got to know Rand, Sarah Bird (COO), and other Mozzers, I realized they lived by TAGFEE. I loved it and it was one of the big factors that attracted me to the company. Following are my observations of how TAGFEE works in practice at SEOMoz.

Transparent and Authentic: Just go read Rand’s post Moz’s $18 Million Venture Financing: Our Story, Metrics and Future. The next time someone says that they are being transparent, call bullshit on them and point them at Rand’s post as an example of real transparency.

Generous: Everyone I talked to about SEOMoz reinforced that the company consistently goes above and beyond the expectations they set with customers, partners, and each other and hold themselves to an incredibly high standard in terms of interacting with and giving back to the industry that allows them to exist.

Fun: When I showed up at the company a week before the financing closed to say hi, everyone was gathered with margaritas and cupcakes. We did a 30 minute Q&A thing where Rand and Sarah went through in detail the deal that was happening and how it impacted everyone. The cupcakes were yummy and there was much laughing after everyone realized I wasn’t the homeless person that Sarah suggested I was (as in “Brad isn’t here – this is just some homeless person who wandered in.”)

Empathetic: I saw this in my interactions with Mozzers, Rand, Sarah, and people near to the company. I also see it in the Moz community. Amazingly direct, clear, and emotionally enlightened responses and interactions to everything, regardless where on the spectrum of “awesome” to “shitty” an issue lands on.

Exceptional: This is one exceptional company, in everything they do. They aspire to build something incredibly important and durable. And exceptional.

I’ve watched Rand and SEOMoz from a distance for a while. I know many people who have worked closely with the company. And I’ve been able to spy into Rand’s life a little through the lens of his wife Geraldine (who we call the hilarious cupcake blogger woman in my house). It’s one big TAGFEE universe and I’m spinning around in circles chasing my tail in happiness that I get to be involved in it.

  • As I said on Seth’s post, I think this is a superb move for all involved. I look forward to meeting you in Seattle at some point and seeing where this adventure goes next.

  • I like your style and choice in brands.

  • As a happy SEOmoz Pro member and rabid Moz fan, this funding is just a beautiful thing. I’m as proud about Moz getting funded as I would if I was a Moz employee. The SEOmoz team and SEOmoz community has done so much for me and thousands of other marketers. Congrats to all involved and here’s to a bright future for all of us. 

  • Sheldon Campbell

    Congratulations on what may well prove to be one of your best investments ever, Brad. Rand and his team do set an example of what true transparency is.
    I think you’ll soon find that TAGFEE is present in equal parts in both his business and personal philosophy.

  • I can’t say enough great things about Rand, and his entire staff. They are the real deal, and care about more about people, then the bottom dollar; which in turn helps their bottom dollar. 

    They are the real deal.

  • This is excellent news. My love for SEOmoz is great (Pro member) and I believe their integrity is important and unique not only in their field but in business as a whole. As a MozCon attendee and seeing you at Silicon Flatirons multiple times, this collaboration makes so much sense. 

    Will we be seeing you at MozCon this year?

    • I’m going to try to come – if I can’t make it this year, I’ll try again next year.

  • TAGFEE is awesome. Love the idea, and will hopefully steal it soon… 🙂

  • Congrats Brad!

  • Fantastic news, and welcome to the Foundry gang, Mozzers. The thing that boggles my mind is why investors would pass on this company not once but twice??!? What were they thinking? Of course, Foundry were just the team to get the deal done. Awesome. 

  • I’m a Seomoz Pro member and I’m glad that the deal went through. Win win for all those involved.

  • ‘The wizard of Moz’ has built a brand based on solid values and a belief system that will stand the test of time like all great passion brands. We look forward to seeing a great future to all those at Seo Moz

  • As my grandfather used to say, “Great things come to those who wait.” From what I can tell Rand and company were patient… now they are rewarded. 
    Kudos to all involved. Wishing you both a very profitable relationship. 

  • Have never come across a company that generates so much loyalty from it’s customers – and for me, forget everything else they do, it’s posts like today’s and one Rand did a few months ago that blow me away – the transparency creates enormous trust, and trust has never been more important. Well done and great investment, amazed you weren’t fighting off other potential investors.

  • Well Brad, certainly I can see why you are so pleased to be involved directly with Rand and SEOMoz. I must admit I recently saw a Fri video by Rand and I was taken aback by how sincere and genuine he is. I really like the guy and like everything he stands for. I agree with you, TAGFEE is a wonderful philosophy and I embrace it fully!  I’m sure you will enjoy your time with SEOMoz!

  • So great. Really pleased for those guys. Read the earlier posts about the miserable experiences they had had. I’m sure it now feels all the sweeter.

  • James Mitchell

    How about talking about their product? What does it do? What does it not do? Why should I buy it? SEO in general interests me and SEOMoz has always had a good reputation, but I’ve never been quite clear about what exactly they do.

  • iainbartholomew

    It’s going to be very interesting to see in which directions Moz choose to push over the coming months/years.

  • All I can says is congratulations!!!

  • jerrycolonna

    Of COURSE I love TAGFEE. I hadn’t seen it before but I’ll be damned if I don’t steal it and incorporate it into everything I do and recommend from now on. Congratulations on the deal. It sounds like a great group of people getting together to make stuff that makes the world a little better.

  • His post gives Transparent and Authentic a new name… I’m not even that honest with myself. Having read his post about funding misadventures, my expectations were already high, but he blew those out of the water.

    The blog post, funding deck, and screen captures of text messages, emails, and bank statements is unheard of! All I can say is WOW!

    • Feldguest

      Was thinking the same thing 🙂

    • Thoughtful_Guest

      @hegranes:twitter At least you’re honest with yourself about how honest you are. 🙂

  • I’m so glad you chose to write about TAGFEE first in announcing your new partnership with moz.

    My favorite thing about SEOmoz is tagfee. If you’re tagfee in your personal life, then you’ll be drawn to work with a company that’s tagfee. We’re certainly not perfect, but we try really hard to live and work in a manner consistent with these values. It’s our great work. That’s why SEOmoz attracts such motivated, enthusiastic, and positive employees and customers. It’s why I love my work.

    Brad was tagfee before he found out about TAGFEE. That’s why this is a beautiful partnership.  🙂

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  • Great to see the two powers emerge, SEOMOZ are an innovation in our industry and just keep on pushing the bar!

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