Exclusive: Flashy Website Creator Wix Raises $40 Million

Israeli startup Wix, which allows users to build flash websites, has just raised $40 million in Series D funding led by Insight Venture Partners and DAG ventures, with Benchmark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Mangrove Capital Partners participating in the round. This brings Wix’s total
funding to $61 million.

Founded in 2006, Wix provides a simple mechanism for anyone to create Flash-based websites. Users can customize their Wix websites with a drag and drop editing tool and pretty templates, making the site user-friendly for users who may not be tech savvy. The site makes its money from a freemium model where users pay for extra customization and design features.

Over the course of 2010 Wix, which has nine million users, has doubled in size and the company added a West-coast branch to its existing Tel Aviv and New York offices. To date, Wix has developed 8.5 million individual sites.

But making a big bet on flash websites is a risk when you consider mobile. Many companies are scrapping Flash all together and betting on HTML5. Wix founder and CEO Avishai Abrahami tells us that Flash is the best platform for websites being viewed on PCs and other computers but that Wix will be rolling out a mobile site creator in the next few months, which will leverage HTML5 technology for mobile devices (a.k.a. will work on iOS devices). The company is also launching a Facebook application that allows users to integrate Wix websites with their fan pages.

The new funding will be used towards Wix’s new social and mobile product launches in the coming months. Wix faces competition from Weebly and Yola.