Webflow’s next chapter: multiplying the internet’s potential

Read all about our Series A funding round, led by Accel, and what's ahead for Webflow.

Vlad Magdalin
August 7, 2019
Announcements

Today, I’m very proud to announce that Webflow has closed a $72M Series A round of funding from Accel, Silversmith, and several other amazing investors. We’re doing this to help us multiply the potential of the internet by empowering people and businesses to create powerful websites and applications themselves — without having to write code.

We’ve come far, but with every step in the journey, we’ve realized that there’s so much more we can do to make creation for the web dramatically more accessible to more people. For example, it’s become clear that focusing solely on website design was barely scratching the surface of our potential impact as a product, platform, and company. 

Before I get into the details of what this all means, I want to take a step back and reflect on our journey as a company so far.

A (brief) history

Six years (and one day) ago, Webflow launched to the world. Over 10,000 people had signed up on the heels of our beta. Several months later, Sergie, Bryant, and I were accepted into Y Combinator, a prestigious startup accelerator. From the outside, it might’ve looked like we were on top of the world.

Behind the scenes, the picture wasn’t so rosy. We’d all left our previous jobs and had no meaningful income. I had just cashed out my 401k to pay for one of my daughters’ urgently needed surgery. My wife and I had racked up over $50K in credit card debt. 

We needed income. For startups, that comes in two forms: revenue or investment. Since we didn’t have many paying users, bootstrapping simply wasn’t an option. So we started looking for investors.

It was a slog. After weeks of anxiety-ridden pitches to many skeptical investors, we started to question whether we were working on the right thing. Most investors would tell us that Webflow was either too hard to use for non-technical people, or not powerful enough for professional use cases. Many claimed that we were in a dead zone as a business, that bigger companies would crush us, it was only a matter of time. Yikes!

Eventually, we did find a small group of investors to take a chance on us, and we raised $2.9M from several seed funds and angels. Without them, Webflow simply wouldn’t be here today and we’re immensely grateful for their support. We're especially thankful for the support of Rainfall Ventures, who believed in our vision so much in the early days that they contributed more than half of our seed round, and have supported us in every step of the journey.

While we now had some money in the bank and could focus on growing the team and improving Webflow, the experience left scars. It reminded us that relying on others’ money was not the most reassuring way to create a sustainable company. 

So, we decided to buckle down and focus on making sure that we’d never have to ask for more money out of desperation. Since then, we’ve surpassed 45,000 paying customers – including web design freelancers, agencies, product designers, marketing teams, entrepreneurs, and even people building entire software products from scratch. 

We created the world’s first completely visual CMS, pushed the envelope on production-grade interaction and animation tools, built a highly customizable ecommerce platform, and created a world-class hosting infrastructure that now handles billions of page views for our customers.

Most importantly, we did it our way. We attracted a team of over 120 amazing humans, and established a culture that values our collective humanity over mere numbers in a spreadsheet. We established a set of core behaviors that describe not just what we say we believe, but how we actually act when no one is looking. We also saw a passionate and thriving community sprout up around Webflow, with thousands of people supporting each other, attending events in real life, and pushing us to make our product even better. And we’re thankful to each and every one of you members of our community.

Where to next?

In the years since our launch, we’ve moved from a simple landing page builder to a robust platform for rich, complex websites. We’ve seen freelancers move over their clients’ sites from competitors in droves. Marketing teams have completely switched over their code-based sites to doing everything visually with Webflow. Large enterprise teams have adopted Webflow to rapidly build thousands of landing pages without waiting for engineers to code up sites. People started using Webflow to design, build, and launch entire applications. We’ve even seen dozens and dozens of products created in Webflow posted to ProductHunt — all without code!

And, there is so much more we can do to allow more people to build for the web, without needing to be fluent in code. While it’s true that more than half of the world has access to the internet today, the power to create for it hasn’t kept up at all. For far too long, if you wanted to build truly unique and complex solutions for the web, you had to know how to write code, a skill held by less than one half of one percent of the world

As a result, we’re left with an internet — a world of apps, websites, and software — that’s miles behind its true potential. So, we intend to push the idea of no-code forward as much as humanly possible. To prove that removing complex barriers to creation can lead to a renaissance of innovation and creativity, to help more creators bring their ideas into reality, and to help more businesses find success without roadblocks.

We will multiply the potential of the internet by empowering people and businesses to create powerful websites and applications themselves — without having to write code. 

What it will take to achieve our mission

While our business is profitable and growing quickly, we've realized that with more resources we can take the big bets required to make our vision a reality sooner. 

We’ll invest a lot more in Webflow the product, so that it can solve more problems for people and businesses. We’ll invest in extensibility, accessibility, performance, security, and data privacy. We’ll also invest even more in the people who work at Webflow, because they’re the ones doing the hard work to make our product and platform even more valuable to our customers. We will invest more in our customers, our Webflow community, and the communities in which we live and work.

These investments are based on our strong conviction in rejecting the notion that solving for “shareholder value” is the end-all-be-all goal of any business. Of course, the goal is still to build a thriving and sustainable business. But that business exists to serve people — not the other way around. The first time we raised money, we were faced with skeptics who didn’t share our vision. Now, as we grow, and grow quickly, we need not only a shared vision, but also a true partnership rooted in principles, not in financial return at all costs. 

That’s why we’re recruiting the help of Accel, who as the earliest investor in some of the most successful and impactful companies — such as Atlassian, InVision and Slack — helped realize their visions while building companies centered on kindness and inclusion. We’re also proud to have Silversmith Capital, Rainfall Capital, FundersClub, and Draper Associates join this round as existing investors who are doubling down on their belief in Webflow’s mission of empowering creators. These firms are genuinely interested in solving for maximizing positive change in the world, and empowering teams, because they believe that’s the best avenue to building foundational and impactful companies. 

We’ve found exactly this kind of partner in Accel’s Arun Mathew, who will be joining Bryant, Sergie, and I on Webflow’s board of directors. Arun joins as a true partner, a mentor, an advocate, and – very importantly – a friend. After months of radically candid conversations, it became obvious that he truly values what we value, and sees a vision of the future that matches our own. I can’t wait for you all to meet him in a future Q&A!

Multiplying the potential of the internet

In our very first blog post in 2014, I wrote that designers will rule the web, and that story has only expanded in the years since. I now believe that it won’t be just designers – everyone who wants to will have the ability to harness the power of the internet. From entrepreneurs dreaming of creating their first products, to existing businesses looking to speed up their workflows, to big enterprises moving much faster through the power of visual development – we want to make all that a reality sooner.

If we can invent an easier way for people to create for the internet, we can truly democratize access to the world’s most powerful medium, and in turn unlock an unprecedented wave of innovation and entrepreneurship that will have a huge positive impact on the world.

It’s clear that we have our work cut out for us, but we have the help and resources we need to take on this huge and fundamentally important challenge. At Webflow, we have never felt a stronger sense of purpose, and we’re excited to have you along for the journey ahead!

Vlad Magdalin

Vlad is the founder and CEO of Webflow.

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