The world of web development continues to become more democratized – and more and more creative – thanks to the innovations of “headless” systems that offer more flexibility in how a site looks and works: a compromise based on the API between using rigid templates and creating and maintaining every component of a website’s tech stack from scratch. Today, one of the startups creating headless tools specifically for content management is announcing a major fundraising round thanks to major customer wins.
Storyblok – a startup founded in Linz, Austria that built a headless CMS designed for both technical and non-technical users such as marketers to manage content that appears on websites, apps, and apps. ‘other digital interfaces for education, commerce, games and other types of publishers – raised $47 million, funding it will use to continue to expand its CMS platform with more functionality. The company’s tools are already used by 74,000 other companies, including Netflix, Adidas, T-Mobile, Happy Socks and Deliveroo, which have collectively built some 120,000 projects, including website content that requires updates. regular days; side quests in games; in-app advertising features and more.
Series B is led by Mubadala Capital and HV Capital, with participation from 3VC and early stage capital. The funding follows an $8.5m Series A round in February 2021 also led by Mubadala. Storyblok has raised $58 million to date and does not disclose its valuation.
There are a number of headless CMS vendors around the world today — companies like Contentful, Prismic, Contentstack, Strapi, and more — that rival Storyblok, but CEO and co-founder Dominik Angerer believes that his company represents a new wave of innovation in the web. development.
Years ago, companies like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix pioneered how users could choose from a dynamic range of templates when building websites. More recently, a new set of startups, harnessing innovations around APIs to integrate complex technical processes, have created a new, more flexible approach to building sites (“headless,” the term was coined by Commercetools founder, which, as the name suggests, applied the idea initially to building e-commerce sites). But these were still a pain point for the entire organization: in that sense, without a head, he may have removed the need to create the highly technical and complex back-end components of managing payments and databases, but not the technical details of building or feeding the front-end. of building sites.
This is where Storyblok comes into the story. Its system represents a new generation of headless development, where its platform can also be used by non-technical people like marketers, through pre-built modules that function as “blocks” that can be upgraded. day but also manipulated by them. Angerer and his co-founder Alexander Feiglstorfer came up with the idea in 2017 when they saw that the systems in use at the time still required developers to create and maintain content, which ultimately still imposes a lot operational constraints to organizations. Modules were their solution to this: Blocks would initially be programmed by developers but could then be updated and otherwise manipulated by anyone. (These developers doing the initial blocking may be from the company in question or from a third-party agency. Storyblok itself offers a network of 1,000 third parties in a marketplace.)
The end result looks like this, a range of templates where marketers provide updates to developers but also work independently on content:
Storyblok has been very successful, in part because of the way it fills this important gap that exists in many organizations: those who most often need to touch content on sites are usually not technical teams, but those who manage the content. And as digital content proliferates across a wider range of formats and screens – games and apps, smartphones and watches, it demands even more input from less technical teams and more pressure on developer teams.
This, in turn, gives designers and developers more time to focus on the components they are best trained to develop.
“We have been firm believers in Storyblok since day one, and the speed at which the company has managed to scale since our Series A investment has been remarkable. Storyblok’s strong organic traction is a true testament to the quality of the product that Dominik and Alex have built, and we are excited to continue our partnership with the Storyblok team,” Fatou Bintou Sagnang, partner at Mubadala Capital Ventures, said in a statement.
The company doesn’t see itself as part of the wave of low-code, no-code tools: developers still need to be involved to build the initial blocks that marketers can then update.
Angerer sees developing the headless structure and focusing on those blocks as part of “his core functionality,” he said. “So moving to building tools without code would feel like a betrayal of that mission.” However, third parties have plugged into the Storyblok system to create these tools that others can use if they choose. (One example, he said, is Instant Commerce, which built an integration on top of Storyblok that combines design components from Storyblok’s content management functionality with Shopify’s e-commerce functionality.)