Storyblok raises $47M to build its headless CMS aimed at non-technical users like marketers – TechCrunch

The world of web development continues to get more democratized (and more creative) thanks to innovations in “headless” systems that provide more flexibility in how a site can look and function – an API-based middle ground between the using rigid templates and building and maintaining each component of a website’s technology stack from scratch. Today, one of the startups creating headless tools specifically for content management is announcing a huge funding round thanks to some significant customer wins.

Storyblok – A startup founded in Linz, Austria, that has created a stand-alone CMS designed for both technical and non-technical users as well as marketers to manage the content that appears on websites, apps, and other digital interfaces for education, commerce, gaming, and other types of publishers: It has raised $47 million, funds that it will use to continue expanding 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 together have created some 120,000 additional projects, including website content that needs regular updates; side quests in games; advertising features in applications and more.

Series B is being led by Mubadala Capital and HV Capital, with participation from 3VC and firstminute capital. The funding follows an $8.5 million Series A 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 providers in the world today (companies like Contentful, Prismic, Contentstack, Strapi, and many more) competing with Storyblok, but CEO and co-founder Dominik Angerer believes his company represents a new wave of innovation on the web. growth.

Years ago, companies like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix broke new ground in the way users could select from a dynamic range of templates when building websites. More recently, a newer set of startups, leveraging innovations around APIs to connect complex technical processes, created a new, more flexible approach to building sites (“headless,” the term was coined by the founder of Commercetools , which as its name indicates). he applied the idea initially to building e-commerce sites). But this still represented a pain point for the organization as a whole: Headless in this regard it may have eliminated the need to build the very technical and complex back-end components to manage payments and databases, but not the technical aspects of build or populate the front-end. of sites

This is where Storyblok enters the story. Their system represents a new generation of headless development, so their platform can also be used by non-technical people like marketers, through modules that are pre-built and work like “blocks” that can be updated but also manipulated. for 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 put a lot of operational pressure on organizations. Modules were their solution to that: the blocks would initially be programmed by developers, but could then be updated and otherwise manipulated by anyone. (Developers who make the initial blocks can be from the company in question, or they can come from a third-party agency. Storyblok offers a network of 1,000 third-parties in a marketplace.)

The end result looks like this, a variety of templates where marketers provide updates to developers, but also work independently on content:

Storyblok has seen a lot of traction in part because of the way it addresses that significant gap that exists in many organizations: Those who need to touch content on sites most often aren’t usually the technical teams, but rather those managing the content. And as digital content proliferates across a wider range of formats and screens—games and apps, smartphones and watches—that requires even more input from less technical teams and more pressure on developer teams.

“We have been a strong believer in Storyblok from day one, and the speed at which the company has scaled 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 created, and we are excited to continue our partnership with the Storyblok team,” said Fatou Bintou Sagnang, partner at Mubadala Capital Ventures, in a statement. .

The company doesn’t see itself as part of the wave of low-code and no-code tools: developers still need to get involved to build the starting blocks that marketers can update.

Angerer sees the development of the headless framework and the focus on those blocks as part of “its core functionality,” he said. “So switching to building tools without code would feel like a betrayal of that mission.” However, third parties have plugged into the Storyblok system to create those tools for others to use if they choose. (One example, he said, is Instant Commerce, which has built an integration on top of Storyblok that combines design components of Storyblok’s content management functionality with Shopify’s ecommerce functionality.)

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