Shorthand raises $8M for its ‘no-code’ Webflow competitor

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Shorthand has raised $8 million for its no-code web design platform.

Creating an online brand isn’t easy. Not only does it require some sense of design and digital marketing; users also need to be able to create a website. Fortunately, that is easier today than ever before thanks to platforms that let users do so without knowing how to code.

Understandably, this method of making new websites is popular since it dramatically lowers the barrier to entry. There are numerous platforms that let users make a website with no coding knowledge required. However, they aren’t all created equal.

An Australian startup called Shorthand has recently raised $8 million, TechCrunch reports. Its no-code website-making platform is geared towards writers and digital storytellers.

Creating a Narrative

The way a website looks and functions is largely dictated by what it is intended to do. If you’re trying to sell something, it should consist of a funnel that drives visitors towards the checkout page. Other sites aim to tell a story. That’s the niche that Shorthand is focusing on.

The startup is buying into the idea of “scrollytelling.” This consists of various visual effects that occur as you scroll down a page. Whether that means revealing new content, playing animations, or facilitating a smooth reading process, it ultimately is designed to give the user a better experience.

The approach also makes using the site more interactive. However, as Shorthand CEO Ricky Robinson tells TechCrunch, the goal is to do so “without asking your audience to learn how to interact with it.”

As noted, Shorthand has fully embraced the no-code approach for its platform. Users can take advantage of a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows them to create custom layouts and elements within their story.

Robinson notes, “The focus should be at the level of story design, not web design, and that’s really what sets Shorthand apart, and it’s why our customers are able to consistently produce highly engaging, award-winning content for their audiences.”

Indeed, Shorthand has already built a notable list of clients. The BBC, Dow Jones, the University of Cambridge, Nature, Peloton, and others all use the platform to create visual stories. That roster will likely expand thanks to the startup’s recent cash injection.

Time to Grow

Throughout a startup’s life, there are certain times where it makes sense to capitalize on momentum and focus on growth. That’s where Shorthand finds itself currently.

The startup saw demand for its offerings increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic. TechCrunch reports that its Q4 2020 usage quadrupled compared to the previous quarter. By raising $8 million in new funding, Shorthand will be able to increase awareness of its brand and obtain new customers to continue that streak.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Robinson said, “We’ve been lucky enough to grow to where we are today through an entirely inbound, organic model that leverages the beautiful content that our customers create in Shorthand to generate leads. But we’ve been testing other channels with some success and the time is right to ramp up those marketing initiatives.”

“That’s where we’ll be spending this funding, while also investing heavily in our product,” he adds.

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