Duda Snares $25 Million Growth Equity Round (Video)
September 25, 2019 | Contributed by: Charles Laughlin
The website builder Duda announced this morning a $25 million growth equity round from Susquehanna Growth Equity, bringing its fundraising total to $50 million. Websites have been in the news lately, particularly with WordPress parent Automattic’s recent $300 million investment from Salesforce Ventures.
Duda CEO Itai Sadan spoke with us in advance of the announcement and explained why Duda raised the money, how it plans to deploy the capital, and why he sees such a big opportunity in the website space.
Sadan told us the money will be deployed about where it would be expected. More marketing, more sales, and more R&D. He emphasized the R&D piece, noting a need to accelerate the pace of product innovation.
Sadan tells us Duda has more than 6,000 resellers that have built more than half a million websites, an accomplishment he describes as a “drop in the bucket” vs the opportunity Duda has to deliver website solutions to SMBs. Hence the need for capital to scale up to meet this opportunity.
Why does he think there is such a big opportunity in websites?
Sadan believes strongly in the role of the agency, which for Duda increasingly includes SaaS platforms. He rejects the notion that while DIY tools become easier to use, more and more sites will be built this way. Easier site-building tools means agencies can build more websites in Sadan’s view.
“There is a big difference between putting something up on the web and having a digital marketing strategy,” Itai said. “That is a huge gap and that is where the agency comes to play. Just putting something on the web is not sufficient.”
Unlike some other players in the digital presence space, Duda has chosen not to expand its product suite much beyond websites, choosing instead to invest in innovating on its presence solutions.
“We believe in focus. There is a lot to do in the web presence space,” he said. He also noted that many of the companies Duda is partnering with are offering variations on the all-in-one SaaS platform. He sees Duda’s role as offering a presence solution into these platforms.
Here is a brief excerpt from the interview
Duda was founded in 2009 by Sadan and CTO Amir Glatt. The company is based in Palo Alto with offices in Tel Aviv, Louisville, and London. There is a wide range among Duda’s roughly 6,500 resellers, ranging from freelancers and very small agencies to some very large resellers, including Thryv, Hibu, Sensis, 1&1, Publicar, Broadly, and others.
Itai noted the biggest area for growth in Duda’s reseller network has been with SaaS platforms.
“Over the past year, we have seen the rise of different SaaS platforms serving different SMB verticals. The leading platform for spas and yoga, the leading platform for real estate, for orthodontists and so on,” Itai said. “Each of these is a billion-dollar company and rising, and they are aggregating a lot of SMBs.”
Most of these are build around scheduling, CRM or some core business function, and most are looking to layer services on top of the core feature. Duda is seeing a big opportunity to be the web presence plugin for these platforms.
Itai Sadan is this week’s guest on the LSA’s Above the Cloud podcast. You can listen to the podcast here:
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