By Carlo Versano
Software company Yext, which helps companies control their public-facing information online, is making a big bet on voice assistants ー and its latest earnings report suggests the tactic is working.
Yext posted sales of $55 million in its latest quarter, a 35 percent rise from a year ago. Its loss of $0.10 a share was smaller than analysts expected.
The company "lets companies control their information on intelligent services like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant," CEO Howard Lerman, who founded the company in 2006, said Friday in an interview on Cheddar.
Lerman said his company was built on the profound changes modernity has made to information consumption ー what he called a "platform shift" from documents to voice-controlled databases. So instead of Googling information, users can rely on their digital assistants to get them what they need.
With reading, "it's up to you to do the thinking," Lerman said. But connected databases are rapidly becoming smart enough to understand what people want when they ask for it.
The company uses a software-as-a-service platform that allows its customers, which include Jaguar Land Rover, Home Depot, and Domino's Pizza, to edit and update facts about their brands in almost real-time. For instance, if McDonald's wants to change the calorie count of a sandwich, it can use Yext to make sure that a voice assistant like Alexa announces the correct number to customers.
Allowing businesses to maintain control of their own information protects them from "the tyranny of user-generated content," Lerman said.
He's betting that as machine learning advances, consumers will shift from search to voice for their most pressing, complex queries, and Yext will be there to help steer the information.
Yext, which made its market debut on the New York Stock Exchange in April 2017, has seen its share price more than double since its IPO. But the stock closed down Friday about 1.7 percent.
For full interview click here.