Startup aims to revolutionize website creation

June 27, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

In Silicon Valley, a entrepreneurial hotbed defined largely by elegance and simplicity, Strikingly, a mobile-friendly website creation service, has taken a circuitous but ultimately promising route to defining itself within the market, aiming – in the words of one previous slogan – to “conquer the world with one page.”

Originally conceived of as a Kickstarter-like crowd-funding platform, the startup pivoted in focus as its founders encountered a relative shortcoming in projects’ ability to showcase their initiatives online. The team subsequently coalesced around the idea of enabling effective and simple online presentations, responding to a shared desire among their prior users.

“Right around this time, the one-page style was taking off, as mobile devices started to become the main browsing channel,” noted David Chen, Strikingly’s CEO. “We got inspired by the simplicity of the one-page design, and saw an opportunity to build the simplest website builder and actually solve the most fundamental problem on the Internet: how to build a website.”

Strikingly’s product, a single web page, which users can scroll through as if moving through a presentation, targets organizations, generally small businesses, that currently lack a web presence and that would benefit from simple and mobile-optimized outreach to potential customers.

The startup has enjoyed success in both fundraising and expanding its user base, graduating from the Winter 2013 Y Combinator Class while raising a $1.5 million seed round and witnessing growth of more than 40 percent in revenues and users over the past seven months.

“It was certainly unexpected, especially given that we haven’t done any marketing,” Chen conceded. “We were focusing on products and users exclusively starting from day one and the growth has been pure word of mouth.”

Chen emphasized that, despite the startup’s mobile-first approach, few features have been omitted from the desktop or tablet experience.

“Although the mobile-first approach simplifies website format itself, it leaves enough room to incorporate most of the features a regular user would need,” Chen said. “It has not been a problem for us so far.”

Looking toward the future, Chen said that the Strikingly team plans to integrate a payment processor into the site, as well as encouraging user-driven developments through an app store and, internally, expanding the firm’s staff.

Check back in the weeks to come as The Daily looks into more of Silicon Valley’s most exciting startups.

Marshall Watkins is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily, having previously worked as the paper's executive editor and as the managing editor of news. Marshall is a junior from London majoring in Economics, and can be reached at mtwatkins "at" stanford "dot" edu.

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