It was over 6 years ago now, a just several months a rejection email from YC and a few weeks from being essentially bankrupt (my daughter had an unexpected surgery while we had only catastrophic health insurance), we posted a Show HN about Webflow (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5407499). It was our last "hail mary" to show something tangible to the world before promising our partners to go back to our old jobs to actually get some income again.
Luckily, the Show HN took off like wildfire and we stuck to the #1 spot nearly all day. Tens of thousands of people signed up for our beta. This really helped us reapply to YC with tons more traction (and boundless confidence this time), and we were lucky enough to get in to the next batch.
We're now a team of over 120 people across 20 countries, serving billions of requests for tens of thousands of paying customers. I'm very confident that we wouldn't have been able to achieve this had the HN post not taken off here, and we're so thankful for the positive reception. Luckily, we didn't get those funny "I can build this in a day with some bash scripts!" kinds of comments :)
Even though it's been many years since then, we're still on the same mission to empower millions more people to build powerful websites (and increasingly, more powerful software!) without code. We believe that in the end, democratizing software creation will multiply the potential of the internet, likely by at least an order of magnitude.
A HUGE and humble thank you to the community here, and for your support way back when!
The best thing about webflow for me is how it makes advanced features like CSS animations accessible to people. If you resize the website width till you see the mobile version, a hamburger menu pops up. Click on it and you'll see a little animation. I can't tell you how proud Blanka was that she did it herself, was really great to see.
Sorry this sounds like such an advert for you guys - but I'm a very happy customer.
I'm one of the users that signed up when you first posted to HN years ago. I've been a happy customer for several years now. It's the perfect tool for me. Thank you for saving me from Wordpress!
Btw, your story made this news.yc thread one of my favourites of all time: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16409768
I wonder how yathletics is doing...
In my mind the hook into their hosting service is keeping them from their potential. If they had a stand alone tool I could use or a corp lvl tool, it could be big.
That being said, maybe there is more money in it for them to do it this way. But as a designer I see so much missed opportunity to unit design and code for front end work. (And eventually basic app functionalities)
Despite this, I've found that, even with Webflow's brutal price structures, working around those limitations in order to stay on Webflow's infrastructure has generally been worth the pain compared to spending a whole lot more time/money on doing things by hand, especially because my clients have a tendency to completely change their mind several times during the process. I'm not yet aware of anything with a shorter iteration time — there's CodePen, but its hosting features are even more limited than Webflow's...
The closest competitor I've found that is standalone is Pnegrow. It is pretty cool, but still not nearly as intuitive and fast to learn as we flow, sadly.
For completeness, the link to the Pinegrow editor:
Also, I seem to have forgot to point out that one requirement I was looking for was Linux support (Pinegrow runs fine on Xubuntu).
I get there's a need for the long-tail of web traffic (small businesses, etc) to create an internet presence. But is it all that profitable, which I imagine is plenty of competition to undercut your prices? I don't know how a Wix, etc. can stand out or have a competitive advantage in this space. There are so many of them it seems.
Considering how many marketing departments I have seen struggling to pull someone from the dev team to fix a tiny, tiny change, this is a massive opportunity.
One thing to note is that we're also creating visual abstractions over common things that are hand-coded with JS. For example, see our declarative GUI for interactions and animations  – it allows designers to get the same exact effects that you'd build out manually, but without the need to learn how to write that JS from scratch.
> Before you dig in, note that while sites built in Webflow work in all modern browsers, we don’t actively support use of the Designer in Mozilla Firefox.
Given all that has been said about BigTech, it will be awesome if firefox becomes a priority so that we dont need to use Chrome.
One feature suggestion - being able to import CSS and HTML and then work with them. Often I will buy wordpress themes and want to customize them a little bit. Or when I want to move an existing site to maintain it using webflow. This will also open up revenue channel, being able to buy themes from other marketplaces and use them in webflow.
Thanks Webflow team!
But it is NOT hard to start running into barriers. In my experience it's essentially impossible to use it as a frontend design tool with say a node.js backend. There's no templating support, very restricted export (their CMS costs extra per site, and isn't part of the export), etc.
If your website has a login button then I'd be impressed if you designed the whole thing in webflow.
Webflow is an awesome design tool, but the exported code is very messy to work with. If are a designer or plan to stay on webflow for simpler static sites, it wouldn't matter though.
However, It does create a technical debt if you happen to scale up and your needs grow.
I have been using it since its beta days for my blog and some mockups and am not sure I agree. It is one of the finest 'web design tool' that I have ever used. But one that will create a technical debt for the 'real front end developers' in the future.
Amazing story of persistence and focus. Keep up the great work folks!