Recommind Estimated 2010 Revenues: Fact or Fiction?

October 25, 2010

Last week I heard that Recommind disclosed its revenues. The information I saw surfaced on the e-discovery 2.0 blog in “Recommind Publicly Discloses Its Revenue—and It’s Less than You Might Think.” The write up contained some interesting information, but I don’t know if the figures and factoids are spot on. Nevertheless, I did find the information interesting and in line with what my Overflight model spits out for a privately-held company in the search and content processing business.

Smash cut to the death of the fox in the jaws of the search hounds: Recommind’s estimated 2010 revenue is $23 to $28 million. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Most of the companies chugging along in the search and content processing rendering yard generate less revenue. And even with the outfits with great visibility and a strong client list, the need for cash is growing. Endeca accepted an intravenous drip from Intel and SAP Ventures. High flying Palantir sucked on a $90 million money milk shake this summer. And BA-Insight—a vendor of Microsoft SharePoint snap in systems—palmed $6 million.

The challenge with numbers from privately held companies is that the data are difficult to verify. Heck, try and figure out what publicly traded Amazon spends on R&D and makes on its widely publicized Amazon Web Services product line. Impossible task in my opinion. Move those finances into a private company and figuring out what’s what is tough. Google allegedly used some fancy dancing to trim its tax bill and that arabesque is only now being evaluated.

With regard to finances, a top line revenue figure or a growth rate are handy hand holds for the arm chair analyst or the azure chip consultant. In the real world, some financial types are interest in the company’s long term expenditures for R&D, the debt, the structure of deals’ payouts, executive compensation, etc. Without more numerical grit, who really knows. I recall looking at financial data for one high profile search system and learned that a number of debts had been rolled together, refinanced repeatedly, and the burden was little more than an annoying payment. The approach was similar to the person who buys a new vehicle by looking at the monthly payment, not the cost of the debt. In the Enron and Tyco world, these were old tricks. In the BearStearns Lehman Brothers world, magic accounting is what makes MBA men men and MBA women get a zest for living.

There were some factoids in the write up. Here are ones I noted:

  • Recommind is placed on a par with Exterro and kCura. Fascinating to me because Exterro and kCura are what I consider next generation systems.
  • Recommind is chasing three markets and according to the write up, Recommind’s revenue from the legal sector is “less than many other companies in the space.” No support but I found this an interesting observation.
  • Recommind had a lousy 2009. No big surprise there.

I am not so quick to chastise Recommind for the alleged revenue. Compared to some of the search and content processing vendors I track, that $20 million or so looks pretty good compared to $1.5 to $3.0 million. We don’t know the cost structure or the net, but at least Recommind is still in business. It is, therefore, doing something right which is more than I can say for the search vendors listed on my Death Watch list. I recall I tried to visit the company, but it was too busy to make time for the addled goose. I suppose that’s a marketing ploy of sorts. I still want to understand the difference between the Recommind approach and the Autonomy IDOL approach. But now I am pretty busy and will content myself with recycling the Recommind revenue figures. And as for the “smaller than you might think”, I don’t think too much about Recommind or its revenues. I am a busy goose indeed. For more information about Recommends, navigate to

Stephen E Arnold, October 25, 2010



One Response to “Recommind Estimated 2010 Revenues: Fact or Fiction?”

  1. Jeff Fisher on November 1st, 2010 4:30 pm

    Stephen: I enjoyed your post. I’m wondering if you’re aware of any statistical data that averages out the cost of the various enterprise search platforms? I’m trying to understand, for example, the cost per lawyer of implementing Enterprise Search (e.g. Recommind) in a law firm.


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