Almost exactly one year after announcing its Series A, website building platform Strikingly said today that it has raised a $10 million Series A+. The new round was led by Cathay Capital, with participation from CAS Holding, the lead investor in Strikingly’s Series A. This brings Strikingly’s total funding so far to $17.5 million.
Co-founder and CEO David Chen tells TechCrunch that the funding is “technically a Series B level round for us,” but the team wanted to call it a Series A+ because the capital will be used to continue the momentum of products launched around the time of its Series A, including a mobile website editor and a reseller program, as well as its growth in China. (Series A+ rounds are also more common in China, where Strikingly has an office in Shanghai and is one of the most popular website building services).
“The A+ is a natural continuation of what we’ve been doing since our Series A,” Chen says.
Founded in 2012, Strikingly doubled the size of its team over the past year from 150 to 300 employees. The reseller program, launched in early 2017 after the company realized many Strikingly customers use the platform to build sites for other people, now has users in 70 countries. This year, Strikingly’s goal is to continue growing the program in Asia and introduce more features to help resellers with customer acquisition. The reseller program allows them to buy websites in bulk and gives them a dashboard to manage their clients’ sites. While Strikingly’s core product will continue being its website builder, Chen says its reseller program has helped boost its growth in many markets, particularly Southeast Asia.
When Strikingly launched back in 2012, it set itself apart from other website builders by focusing on easy to build, but polished-looking mobile responsive sites. Now mobile responsive sites are de rigueur for any website builder, but one of the things that continues to differentiate Strikingly from its competitors (a partial list includes Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and WordPress) is its ease of use. The company claims that the average time to launch a new website with Strikingly’s editor is just 10 minutes.
Strikingly also has another edge over competitors in China, where it’s already dealt with the hurdles faced by content management software providers. “Content is very strictly regulated and just being able to enter China was a big step forward from any of our counterparts in the U.S.,” says Chen. Over the past two years, he says Strikingly has become the leading website-building SaaS solution in China, thanks to partnerships with Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud and ZBJ, China’s largest market for freelancers. For example, Tencent Cloud users were offered free week-long trails of Strikingly and it is integrated into ZBJ’s platform.
“China is a huge market obviously and we have already done the hard work of being able to enter China,” says Chen. “We see a lot of opportunities here even beyond website building, but that being our core product gives us a very good entry point to any enterprise service marketplace in China.”