(Updated to reflect comment from Squarespace)
A lot of the CEOs and entrepreneurs I talk to, especially in emerging tech spaces, have a similar goal: take something that was once intimidating and, seemingly, above a lot of people, such as coding, Web security and targeted marketing, and make them easy enough for even non-tech savvy people to understand.
That seems to be the same idea behind website publishing and e-commerce platform Squarespace, which has raised $40 million in Series B funding, it was announced on Tuesday. The funding came from global growth investor General Atlantic. With this latest round, Squarspace has now raised a total of $78.5 million.
The company, which currently employs 285 people, says that it will use the funding to scales three of its departments: engineering, design, and infrastructure. The company added 75 new staff to the team in the first quarter of 2014 and is looking to grow to globally to more than 400 by the end of the year, more than double the size of company in 2013.
Founded in 2004, Squarespace provides tools and templates that make it easy for businesses, even those without any technical knowledge, to build their own websites.
"Squarespace’s mission is to provide creative tools that help anyone give a voice to their ideas," the company says on its website. "From the designers and engineers who are creating the next generation of web and mobile experiences, to anyone putting a website together for the first time, Squarespace provides elegant solutions that set new standards for online publishing."
Those tools and features include template designs, custom domains, social integrations, SEO management, analytics, hosting, Dropbox integration, podcast support, pricing tools, and the ability to add a store to ther site. The company only added this in February, with the release of Squarespace Commerce.
The platform charges a minimum of $8 per month for 20 pages, galleries, and blogs with 500 GB bandwidth, 2 GB storage, two contributors and the ability to sell one product. There is also a $16 a month option, which comes with unlimited pages, galleries, blogs, storage, bandwidth and contributors, as well as a developer platform and the ability to sell 20 products a month.
The most expensive option costs $24 a month, comes with unlimited products, as well as real-time carrier shipping, label printing via ShipStation and integrated accounting by Xero.
While there are other companies that provide similar services, most notably GoDaddy and Wordpress, there are three things that set it apart, Casalena said.
First, it is an all in one platform.
"Squarespace was designed from its inception to be an all-in-one content management system. We effortlessly handle blogs, stores, pages, calendars, and more within a single platform. No plugins are required," he noted.
Second, is the company's focus on design.
"Design has always been at our core, which may be rare for a software company like ours" said Casalena. "A website is like your online clothing - it influences people's first impressions of you. We'll continue to push the envelope when it comes to design and ease of use in our space."
And third is the customer experience it provides.
"We try and design every aspect of our customer experience with our service. Half of our company is dedicated to customer care, and we serve our customers 24/7 with an average response time of under 10 minutes."
The company currently has employees in both New York and Dublin, and is planning to open a Portland office at some point later this year. It is currently used by hundreds of thousands of customers in 121 countries, and has been used to collectively create millions of websites.
In addition to the funding news, it was also revealed that Anton Levy, Managing Director and head of Internet & Technology at General Atlantic, will be joining the company's board of directors.
(Image source: squarespace.com)