Web design startup PageCloud lands $5.4M in Series-A funding

Craig Fitzpatrick is on a mission to “fix the Internet” – one he hopes just got a little easier thanks to millions of dollars in new funding.

Mr. Fitzpatrick’s company, PageCloud, announced Wednesday it has closed a Series-A round worth about $5.4 million Cdn, bringing its total funding haul since the firm was established in the fall of 2014 to about $11.5 million.

Key investors in the latest round include early stage U.S. firms Accomplice and Singularity Invest, along with the Economic Development Bank of Canada and the Toronto-based MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. 

Mr. Fitzpatrick said the new capital will help the 22-person firm that makes drag-and-drop web design and editing software beef up its marketing and development teams. 

He said many of PageCloud’s 15,000 customers are frustrated with more traditional web design platforms such as WordPress and Squarespace, adding there is a huge untapped market of people who might have thought about designing their own websites but have been wary of taking the plunge.

“We’re actually starting to unlock this growing segment of the market that’s never tried (designing a website) before because they were so horribly intimidated by all the technology,” said Mr. Fitzpatrick, the firm’s founder and CEO. “There’s a huge, growing segment who want to do it themselves but never thought they could.”

Investors said that kind of opportunity is what attracted them to PageCloud.

"It’s a very big market that hasn’t changed a lot since the advent of the Web, and it’s time for a new, more agile (web design) option,” Jeff Fagnan, founder and general partner at Accomplice, said in a statement.

Targeting that market has required a few modifications to the software itself, Mr. Fitzpatrick added. 

Originally a “blank page” tool designed to build websites from scratch, PageCloud has tweaked its user interface and is adding features such as pre-built templates with embedded fonts and other graphic elements that can be dragged on to a page to give users a starting point.

PageCloud’s 2016 revenues are projected to hit about $2 million, and the firm is in the midst of an expansion at its ByWard Market headquarters that will allow it to accommodate up to 65 employees. 

Mr. Fitzpatrick said the next 12 months will be a “scale-up year” in which the firm will likely boost its headcount by about 20 in preparation for a steeper growth trajectory in 2018.

With the one-year anniversary of PageCloud’s official product launch quickly approaching, the company is hosting a celebration on Nov. 24 at the Zibi presentation centre in Gatineau – a well-deserved chance to pause and reflect on the journey so far, Mr. Fitzpatrick said.

“Each time we pass through a gate, I think to myself, ‘Holy crap, it’s possible.’ I’m still just as excited as when we started.”