Bootstrapped Brisbane startup acquires WordPress technology to solve web design headaches
A Brisbane startup set to help millions of web designers generate recurring revenue is gearing up for a capital raise after acquiring world-class software and gaining 20,000 users.
maekit is a cloud platform allowing freelance web designers and small agencies to manage multiple websites and the entire lifecycle of a client through one simple platform.
The startup has just acquired WP Remote from UK-based WordPress development agency Human Made, which built The Sun newspaper and USA Today websites. The product allows web designers to manage and upgrade a multitude of WordPress websites in one click.
maekit founder Matt Holme said the startup addressed a global problem in a billion dollar market.
“There is currently no single platform for designers or small agencies to centralise a web design project from start to finish. Web designers focus on the front end and are not necessarily technically minded – they don’t want to think about security or hosting, for example. This is where maekit comes in,” Mr Holme said.
After launching in 2010, WP Remote quickly developed a cult following with designers, developers, and agencies around the world, who were using it to manage 126,000 websites. But with a lack of resource and focus, the product languished on the sideline, and when Human Made sought a buyer, maekit was a perfect fit.
maekit acquired the much-loved software for $40,000 last month, growing from 25 to 20,000 worldwide users overnight to offer a true one-stop-shop platform for web designers to focus on what they do best – designing websites.
maekit includes a customer relationship management (CRM) engine to manage leads and clients, invoicing and payment functionality integrated with numerous payment gateways including eWay and Paypal, a system to deploy content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress in one click and domain management functionalities to allow web designers to manage multiple domain registrars.
“WP Remote remains free and easy to access. But if designers want access to more features to develop and deploy their website, they can now access maekit’s full range of functions,” Mr Holme said.
Designers pay a simple, monthly fee for each website they deploy through the platform, which they pass straight onto clients with their own mark up.
“maekit doesn’t cost a cent until designers start making money, which is crucial for freelancers from a cashflow perspective,” Mr Holme said.
Dabbling in technology and websites from a young age, Holme started a website dedicated to the FIFA soccer video game aged 15, which grew into a leading news and content provider focused on the sports video games industry. As a result he went from being a fan to being hired by EA Games Canada in his early twenties to become a producer on the FIFA series.
After four years in Canada spent producing a string of number one Playstation titles, Holme returned home to Brisbane to start his own business. He launched Brisbane web design agency MyWork in 2009, which has grown to a team of 25 people that have collectively rolled out 6,000 websites for clients across Australia.
MyWork built maekit to manage and automate the entire web building process for its clients, which he credits for MyWork growing at the rate it has.
“maekit was born out of MyWork’s IP. The platform helped us grow into a successful business with a multi-million dollar turnover. We realised the value it could bring to businesses similar to ours, which is what led us to commercialise it,” Mr Holme said.
Bootstrapped internally, funded by MyWork’s profits, maekit is now looking to raise an initial round of funding to further grow the platform’s customer base.
The web design services industry has experienced solid growth over the past five years. Industry revenue is forecast to reach $1.1 billion in Australia alone in 2017-18 and $26 billion in the US, with increasing web traffic from mobile devices driving demand. WordPress is used to power an estimated 28 per cent the world’s ten million largest websites, including world-leading brands from TechCrunch to TED, CNN and the New York Times.
“As the world moves online, company websites have become an increasingly important opportunity to reach customers for small and large businesses alike, which means the market opportunity is huge,” Mr Holme said.
“Brisbane has become a bit of a WordPress hub in Australia. Along with maekit’s investment in WP Remote, Human Made have also established a strong Southern Hemisphere foothold in the river city.”