The first great investment we made at USV was Indeed in the summer of 2005. Brad had been looking for a search engine for jobs and I saw this post on John Battelle's blog in late 2004. I forwarded it to Brad and he reached out to Paul and Rony. It took two tries before we could convince them to take our money. They had bootstrapped the company, launched the service, and were well on their way. They didn't need our money. But eventually we convinced them to take it, along with the New York Times Company and our friends at Allen & Company.

Indeed has always been the quiet one. Nobody really talks about them. But as I have said a number of times on this blog, they are the most complete company in our portfolio. They have it all. Two world class entrepreneurs as founders. A solid management team all up and down the company. A product that is beloved and services more than 80mm people worldwide every month. An engineering team that has kept the service up with literally no down time that I can ever remember. A business model that, like Google's, is the best on the Internet. Revenues, profits, customer satisfaction, shareholder value. They built a fortress and I am just so happy to have had a front row seat watching them build it.

The quiet one is the one that can do a big M&A transaction over the summer without anyone finding out. The quiet one is the one that puts out the news on their blog and goes back to serving customers. The quiet one is the first great investment we made at USV and one that will always have a special place in my heart. Congrats to Paul, Rony, and the team. We will miss working with you.

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    Heard that the best investments by VCs are the ones where they find a great company and have to persuade the company to accept money. Congrats.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. we sold our way into almost all of our best ones.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Nice way of putting it.

      2. LE

        Congratulations on Indeed!”we sold our way into almost all of our best ones.”Would be interesting to do a post on “signals” like that. Since there is definitely a school of though, well proven, where people seem to be attracted more, and assign value to, what they can’t have. I have my own thoughts on that.

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Always a good sign.

  2. Julien

    Whoa! Congrats! It’s good to know that some entrepreneurs are not in it just for the fame =)

  3. DonRyan

    Congrats to you and the folks at Indeed. It is a terrific service and my go to when I’m looking at job openings anywhere. Well done.

  4. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    I thought i should be quiet … but cannot control myself Congratulating the Indeed team :-)Indeed…it is.

  5. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Which one is the actual post meant for today … patent or Indeed news?I suspect the happiness of Indeed news made you post another post … have you done it before fred? 2-posts in a row? (within an hour).

    1. fredwilson

      i wrote the patent post then heard that indeed had put out a blog post. so i posted twice. i won’t charge double for today πŸ™‚

  6. JamesHRH

    Never heard of it. But I am not a target customer, in any way.That’s impressive – and a sign of really focused, air tight leadership.Congratulations all around.PS – never heard of Recruit, but, same comment applies obviously…..

    1. fredwilson

      that’s my point. the quiet one.

      1. JamesHRH

        Yes, I to write try to agree coffee enough not in.;-)

  7. Bruno_dR

    Congrats on the investment – long term commitment/relationship always pays off.

  8. William Mougayar

    Nice transaction. Congrats.Doing business with a Japanese company is a long drawn out process. Their due diligence and patience-minded approach could be gruesome for many. I can’t imagine what an acquisition would have entailed. That’s a great testament to the fine company Indeed is.

  9. andyswan


    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Wow – Fake Grimlock font style – serious stuff, Andy! πŸ˜‰

      1. Techman

        I’ll never know why somme people type in all caps. It looks like they are screaming at you.

      2. AbbeyPost

        Ha, FAKEGRIMLOCK no use possessive pronoun.

    2. ShanaC

      you have too much coffee this morning andy? :p

      1. andyswan

        ha I never touch the stuff!

    3. fredwilson

      it sure doesn’t.

  10. markslater

    loved the product – does not surprise me in the least.

  11. Tom Labus

    That’s a great 8 year run for them.Congrats all around!Why a Japanese co?

    1. fredwilson

      they put forth the best offer

  12. Cam MacRae

    Congrats.Both Rakuten and Recruit have been getting more aggressive over the last 12 months — I reckon there’s a few NA majors who should prepare their cages for rattling.

  13. Seth Lieberman

    Congrats- I love companies that execute off the charts but don’t need to feed the PR ego. It’s a hard jedi trick.

  14. whitneymcn

    Seems like there’s a trend here of USV investing in companies that are more interested in what they’re doing than self-congratulation by press release. I like it.

  15. RetiredinFive

    I think the reason Indeed has succeeded is that it is run more like a blue chip company than a startup. The management team is simply the best I have seen.Their primary concerns are creating a great job seeker experience, providing value for their clients, and doing right for their employees. Long term goals = long term profits.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      James that is a very intriguing concept — running a startup like a blue chip company. I wonder what that looks like?I admit that my bias toward startups often leads me to think of this the other way around.

  16. whitneymcn

    Seems to be a trend of USV working with companies that prefer to do their thing rather than get into self-contratulation by press release. I like.

  17. Richard

    Fred, 8 years is a nice time frame to look at a company from 30000 feet. Can you share a little more about the the employee count over time, best executions, biggest challenges.

    1. fredwilson

      the biggest challenge was when Craigslist asked them to stop crawling. they complied. but it was a tough call. turned out they didn’t need Craigslist. but that wasn’t obvious when they made that call.

      1. Richard

        Seems like there were competitors (monster, simply hired, hotjobs etc.) who were in a similar position to indeed. What steps allowed indeed to execute better?Β Is there a one word take away?

        1. fredwilson

          they focused 100% on having the best product

  18. John Best

    Congrats all round.

  19. takingpitches

    I love Indeed. I have a number of daily searches set up as a daily barometer of what is happening in various verticals that I am interested in. The volume of job postings, what companies are looking for — provides a lot of insights.

      1. takingpitches

        I missed that — so incredibly useful to be able to track over time. I am going to be playing a lot with this. Thanks for pointing that out!

  20. takingpitches

    Also, I love the double post day. In the early days, you might hit us with two or three posts in a day, but I think it’s been years since I have seen a multiple post day!

    1. fredwilson

      yup. it’s hard enough to write one a day. but i almost always write and post in real-time.

      1. takingpitches

        I’ve been trying to do that over the last two years. And while it’s incredibly hard, it’s also incredibly satisfying. What I have found is that writing things down is like tapping a gusher — the more I write, the more new ideas come to mind about things that I want to explore and write about!

        1. fredwilson


  21. howardlindzon

    mazel tov to all indeeders.

  22. Dave Pinsen


  23. jason wright

    Recruit resonates from the 1980s – same company?

    1. fredwilson

      not sure

      1. jason wright


  24. John Rorick

    My company just signed up for a new pilot with Indeed, after I dabbled with them a few years ago. Will be interested to see how it goes. What I find most interesting is there used to be two job aggregators discussed a few years back: Indeed and simplyhired. Management/leadership does matter, because it appears Indeed has “simply won.” (excuse the forced pun)

    1. fredwilson

      yup. simplyhired is good but indeed is better.

  25. Maro Onokpise

    A great post, and cautionary tale on keeping your head down and focusing on your product. The user experience and understanding your users is EVERYTHING! Without that you just have a product that know one cares about. I certainly appreciate the inspiration, and will definitely share with my team. Congrats!

    1. fredwilson

      yup. 80mm people use the product but very few people know of the company.


    Cool, an under the radar type.

  27. harmonyjones .

    ok so the NYT TIMES filing says they made US$ 100M from from their part in the 5M round they co-invested together with USV and Allen & Co.So based on that an acquisition price of 1.1B for Indeed sounds about right or is my math off?

    1. fredwilson

      they sold some of their investment a few years ago to USV and the company. so they had two liquidity events on that $5mm investment

  28. ShanaC

    congrats (i love that site)

  29. mcenedella

    Congratulations to Paul & Rony at Indeed, you & Brad at USV and everybody involved. A great story, a great win, and a great result for online recruitment.

    1. fredwilson

      hi marc. we are due for an update on your thing.

  30. bransun

    Fred, I have always loved reading your blog and is a huge fan when it comes to the work you do. You were actually the reason why I chose to work at Indeed. When a recruiter first contacted me I didn’t even know what Indeed was! After a little digging, realizing its potential AND finding out that USV had backed it…. I JUMPED on the opportunity. Just want to thank you for always posting fresh content on this blog, it has definitely help broaden my outlook on business overall. So thank you Fred!

    1. fredwilson

      wow. that’s so great to hear. i am thrilled to have had a hand in that.

  31. Roger Chabra

    Congrats Fred & team, love the under the radar ones that end up big.

  32. FlavioGomes

    Great story. Congratulations Fred and team

  33. RichardF

    nice job Indeed. An eight year overnight success story.

  34. Donna Brewington White

    Indeed! Congratulations — what a great story. The right people, doing the right things, rightly.Don’t you love it when a plan comes together.

    1. RichardF

      you’ve been watching too much A Team πŸ˜‰

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Ha! Not even once.

    2. Max Yoder

      The right people, doing the right things, wrongly. <– That would be a shame!

      1. Donna Brewington White

        It happens. And it is a shame.

  35. Chad Dinzes

    As an Indeeder, I am truly grateful for being part of this company. Our main focus is the job seeker experience and we never stray from our morals. I read your blog weekly Fred and we all appreciate the catalyst that has brought Indeed to this point. I see the future and look forward to it.

    1. fredwilson

      and i am grateful for all the good and hard work you put into Indeed

  36. Guest

    The indeed

  37. David Petersen

    I’ve never used Indeed, but I’ve checked it out a couple times because of posts about them on avc. is blazing fast. Unbelievably fast. I send all of my programmers there just to show them how fast a fast site can be.

    1. fredwilson

      they certainly believe that speed is the number one feature

    2. Chad Dinzes

      2nd fastest website to Google…and climbing…

  38. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    Wait a minute – you mean a startup needs to wait more than 3-6 months to get acquired πŸ™‚ congrats to the Indeed team. I just read the link to their blog and it looks like a great move to get into the Asian market.

  39. andyidsinga

    thats amazing

  40. Techman

    Guess Disqus isn’t so strong, is it :-/ on another note, @fredwilson:disqus can you get Disqus to please add CSS support for D2012? That is litteraly the thing they haven’t done already. I could use JS code to inject CSS into the iframe, but I don’t feel like doing that. I can and will, though.Anyways, nice company. Still don’t wxactly understand what they do.

    1. fredwilson

      They want the comment threads to appear identical site to site to create a consistent user experience

      1. Techman

        There are plenty of reasons why I want to style the new disqus to make it look better on my site.Guess I’ll be making some JS

  41. Marissa Fry

    Classy. Congratulations to the Indeed team.

  42. John Revay

    WOW,I missed that news (I was off line yesterday)…. 1. I have visited Indeed often over the years, great simple/easy to use site/app. The look & feel reminds me of the basic Google search page.2. We just posted a power engineering job search last week – pay per click – we got some interesting candidates. – It works for employers.3. Allen & Company – I attended the annual awards dinner for my college Alma mater this past spring in NYC – they raised $1.4M for multicultural scholarships – the key note was given by George Tenet – he was GREAT – think what it would have been like to have his seat @ the CIA during 9/11 – I walked up to him at the end of the evening and shook his hand. Side note he stayed to the end of the evening – my sense is a lot of speakers like him would bolt after their talk.

  43. David Fleck

    This must be the most quiet acquisition of a truly game changing company. I adhere to the philosophy of ‘actions speak louder than words’ and, obviously, so does Indeed. Congratulations to the team. Some rumors had a $1B plus IPO on the near-term horizon, so I’m still astonished that this has flown so under the radar.

    1. fredwilson

      bigger than that but who cares. silicon valley only wants to focus on silicon valley companies.

  44. George A.

    congrats. Scraping other people’s content and representing it as your own is pretty awesome.

    1. fredwilson

      well they don’t represent it as their ownneither does google

  45. Max Yoder

    Agreed. I’m assuming the next 6–12 months of their lives are going to be pretty hectic, though.

  46. fredwilson