Atlanta-based website building company Makeswift has raised $1.5 million in equity in its most recent funding round. Pat Matthews, founder and CEO of Active Capital, led the round, with participation from 10 other investors.
The four-year-old company, formerly known as Landing Lion, had previously raised $500,000 in a “founder’s round” of funding before joining the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) last year. The company plans to use the funding to facilitate the transition between Landing Lion and Makeswift.
“We have been heads-down in 2019 gathering feedback from an early set of Makeswift customers to fuel product development while simultaneously continuing to support thousands of Landing Lion users,” says Makeswift co-founder and CEO Alan Pledger. “We are preparing a transition path for those customers to Makeswift in early 2020. These funds will give us the runway we need to continue to support Landing Lion customers through this transition and get Makeswift to market.”
Landing Lion set itself apart from other website builders like WordPress with an intuitive interface that let you drag and drop page elements without the need for coding. The company’s automatic SEO optimization feature also gave it an advantage over most traditional landing page platforms. However, the introduction of Makeswift streamlines and strengthens Landing Lion’s existing technology.
The technology that powers Makeswift is a much more powerful and focused version of the Landing Lion tech,” says Pledger. “As a complete rewrite, we decided to drop the features that were holding us back from chasing the vision of an open component marketplace sourced by 3rd party developers.”
“In order to scale with unknown challenges of a growing business, a website has to be extensible, and that’s what we’ve focused on: Providing robust APIs for developers to integrate React components for their non-technical counterparts to use. A new way for teams to work together.”
Makeswift’s no-code website building capability also helps users hampered by similar builders with overly limited or complex options.
“While there are plenty of no-code website builders in the market, they are all either too limiting or overly complex,” Pledger says. “Makeswift is designed to give our customers the ability to quickly get started building highly custom websites from scratch.”
Many of the company’s customers have previously used tools like WordPress to build their marketing sites, which would require bringing on a developer to truly customize them. Makeswift also allows their customers to learn the core concepts required to design a custom site without code in minutes by going through the Makeswift Handbook.
“Our customers have told us that they have been able to learn Makeswift much faster than other tools, not to mention the savings on outsourced development that comes along with custom WordPress sites,” says Pledger.
After the success of this most recent round, Makeswift has no further plans to pursue additional funding at this time. Makeswift is currently invite-only, but the company’s popular Founding Makers program, launched in 2018, offered early customers a chance to access Makeswift at a locked-in discount. “Since closing out phase 1 of the Founding Makers program we’ve been building a waitlist, which currently has more than 1,100 members,” says Pledger.
Several of the company’s initial clients are Fortune 500 companies that have launched their sites via Makeswift, and this raise caps off a year Makeswift has used to learn and perfect their product. “A handful of our Founding Makers [have] provided us with valuable feedback in the process,” says Pledger.