Last fall, The Orange County Business Journal reported that powerhouse finder-site company SearchCore (SRER) was the “Fastest Growing Publicly Traded Company In Orange County.” At the time, the company had successfully highlighted the scalability and potential for monetization of its finder-site model during a nearly 3-year run with the astonishingly successful weedmaps.com.
Indeed, before it was sold last year, the online alternative medicine resource was grossing about $1.5 million on a monthly basis, and boasted an impressive EBIDTA of over 25 percent. SearchCore instantly recognized the dexterous nature of the weedmaps model, and set out to apply it to new markets. Throughout the course of 2013, this tremendous effort has so far yielded Tattoo.com, a website that services all aspects of the tattoo industry throughout the US. In only the first five months of its existence, the site achieved a major milestone with 500 paying subscribers.
And that's not all. Even before the viability of Tattoo.com was bolstered by numbers, the investment firm Merriman Capital initiated coverage on SearchCore's stock with a rating of "buy," another impressive milestone for the company.
Only two weeks ago SearchCore celebrated the launch of ManufacturedHomes.com, its newest finder-site that connects buyers and sellers of high-quality manufactured residences. In its short existence, ManufacturedHomes.com has already been met with an overwhelmingly positive reception, one that will undoubtedly grow as the site continues to add new features and services.
Equities.com checked in with SearchCore CEO Jim Pakulis for the latest news on this newest venture, as well as what exciting and cutting edge developments the company has in store for the future:
EQ: SearchCore has been a very busy company this year, first with the release of the Sportify App, and then with Tattoos.com going online. By all appearances, these two ventures have gotten off to strong starts, and less than two weeks ago, ManufacturedHomes.com also went online. What has been the response so far?
Pakulis: The response has been positive especially from the manufacturers – they quickly understood the site's value in increasing the overall brand image of their industry. They understood that our dealer-management software would increase the customer satisfaction index, thereby increasing referral business for retailers. They see the value in our ability to produce professional brand-positive digital content such as video and images, and display them to their potential consumers.
EQ: Since it has been up and running, ManufacturedHomes has added a number of new and exciting features, could you elaborate on these?
Pakulis: Yes, specifically the Comparison Feature. It goes far beyond anything the industry has ever seen, with detailed specification comparisons. A consumer is able to compare construction features such as the size of floor joists, the type of floor decking, thickness of carpet-pad, type of cabinetry – pretty much everything including the kitchen sink. The customer then receives a custom quote, and with that quote can continue to compare that home with other manufactured homes. We have the most comprehensive database of retailers available, and with over 150 reference articles to inform and educate consumers, we already have a great industry resource. In terms of floor plans our data is expanding weekly. Again, we utilize the “freemium” model so that we list retailers and manufacturers, and then institute our sales campaign to bring these retailers and manufacturers on as monthly paying customers.
EQ: In what ways do you think the site and the new features will add value to the manufactured homes market?
Pakulis: Access to Information – it allows consumers to have an in-depth look at the quality of the industry's products. With our industry experience and knowledge we can give a precise assessment to a manufactured product, thereby providing a third-party endorsement.
EQ: When we spoke in late April, you said that one of SearchCore’s goals was to have built and monetized 50 finder sites in a period of 5 years. Is the company on track to meet that goal?
Pakulis: Our corporate goal is 50 sites in 5 years. I firmly believe we have the technology and the management team to execute on that goal. Of course, this is all predicated on finding 50 industries meeting our criteria. In other words, we won’t create a finder site for industries that we don’t believe we’ll be successful in. We spend a great deal of time determining in what industries we can become the number one or two geo-targeted finder site, and of course, generate significant revenue. And if we end up with less than 50 sites in 5 years, but are financially successful with the multitude of sites we create, then I think we’ve delivered the value to our shareholders that they’re expecting.
EQ: What can investors expect from the company in the near-to-mid term?
Pakulis: Our model is creating revenue through geo-targeted finder sites.Through Tattoo.com, ManufacturedHomes.com, and sites that we’re currently developing and/or coding, such as Karate.com, Modularhomes.com, Traveltrailer.com, Toyhaulers.com, we anticipate being able to continually expand our revenue streams.
DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer