High Alpha takes SEO startup under wing as portfolio company


Indianapolis enterprise studio High Alpha was so impressed by the agency offering it search engine marketing—or SEO—companies, that it took the startup under its wing as a portfolio company.

Demandwell, based in 2019, formally turned a High Alpha portfolio company Tuesday and introduced the rollout of its new SEO software program platform.

Demandwell helps business-to-business software program entrepreneurs flip natural search right into a supply of repeatable income by SEO planning, content material manufacturing and conversion optimization. In less complicated phrases, Demandwell’s software program and consulting companies assist drive visitors to company web sites and assist convert that visitors into income.

At its core, SEO is all about getting your company’s web site to look in search engines like google and yahoo as persons are trying to find issues associated to the products or companies your company supplies. The earlier your web site seems, the higher.

High Alpha’s degree of funding—the primary capital Demandwell has taken on from an outdoor celebration—was not disclosed. The company has been funded thus far from a home sale.

“My spouse and I flipped a home in Cicero and used that as startup capital,” Mitch Causey, Demandwell co-founder and CEO, informed IBJ.

Causey is joined by co-founder and chief know-how officer Sam Smith, who beforehand was chief architect at native advertising know-how agency Sigstr, which was acquired by Atlanta-based Terminus in 2020.

Typically, High Alpha’s portfolio firms are born instantly out of the enterprise studio. But the chance to work with Demandwell was too good to cross up.

“The SEO business is at present present process a renaissance, and the instruments and methods employed over the previous twenty years have been constructed for a distinct period of promoting,” stated Kristian Andersen, accomplice at High Alpha, in a written assertion. “Demandwell has already confirmed there may be unimaginable demand for brand spanking new applied sciences and approaches on this market, and we consider that is the staff that can revolutionize the SEO business.”

Demandwell began by providing primarily teaching and consulting companies. It nonetheless affords these companies, however its enterprise mannequin now depends on its customized software program platform to assist its shoppers obtain a giant chunk of their SEO targets. The new platform providing makes the company extra scalable, Causey stated.

Demandwell has greater than 40 prospects and has seen super income development over the previous 9 months, he stated. The overwhelming majority of its prospects are business-to-business software program firms.

“Organic search needs to be the No. 1 driver of development for B-to-B [software-as-a-service] firms, however it’s so typically not the case,” Causey stated. “Most entrepreneurs we communicate with say they’re publishing numerous content material however not seeing any outcomes. Demandwell provides entrepreneurs confidence that the content material they create will drive income.”

Causey’s exploration for methods to develop his company led him to High Alpha.

Causey had beforehand labored as a advertising chief for education-technology agency Lessonly, one other High Alpha portfolio company.

“The recommendation I’ve gotten from the companions at High Alpha has been invaluable,” Causey stated. “Five minutes with them is like an hour with anybody else. They assist you to assume another way and scale in a greater approach than anybody I’ve seen.”

The capital infusion from High Alpha will likely be used so as to add staff and additional develop and market its platform, Causey stated.

Demandwell has grown from one to 11 staff over the previous 9 months. It has plans to be at 15 staff inside 90 days and nearing 20 over the following 12 months.

Causey, 32, an Indianapolis native and Heritage Christian High School graduate, began engaged on SEO when he was a advertising and enterprise administration main at Indiana Wesleyan University.

“I had a buddy who was creating wealth on-line. So I began making web sites out of my dorm room,” stated Causey, who graduated from school in 2010.

His work with web site growth grew into search engine marketing. Causey stated he taught himself laptop programming and SEO strategies “the onerous approach and by grinding it out.”

Upon commencement, he earned an Orr Fellowship and labored for Indianapolis-based Slingshot SEO the place he honed his expertise. He later turned SEO supervisor for Indianapolis-based safety agency Defender Direct  earlier than turning into Lessonly’s third worker in early 2014.

Causey credit his drive to grow to be an entrepreneur to his maternal grandfather, the late Ron Jackson, a longtime native promoting govt who based Jackson Group a number of many years in the past.

“He was like a father determine to me and took time to show me issues about operating a company even earlier than I knew I wished to run my very own enterprise,” Causey stated. “He confirmed me the right way to deal with individuals who give you the results you want, and the right way to work onerous and work smarter. I keep in mind earlier than he died, I informed him I used to be beginning a company. He requested me how previous I used to be, and once I stated 30, he paused for a second, then stated, ‘Ha! I beat you. I used to be 27 once I began my first company.’

“By listening to my grandpa speak concerning the folks he labored with, I knew I wished to work with folks and have that very same emotional connection to them as he did. He was an superior individual, and I couldn’t have requested for a greater enterprise mentor.”

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