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No-code platform Webflow (YC) raises $140M at a $2.1B valuation (venturebeat.com)
88 points by brryant 6 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 19 comments

If I had a dollar for every WYSIWYG web dev tool that bit the dust, I'd be able to single-handedly finance this round. Before the downvotes: I get it. Webflow is a nice tool. So was Dreamweaver when it appeared. And everything in between. This is an iterative process, with once tool better than the previous. Maybe Webflow will be the one to make non-trivial WYSIWYG work - but after having used it, I'm not betting on it. Their price point is also a little high for small teams, but that is less relevant to my main gripe here.

To be clear, non-trivial WYSIWYG already works.

Wix and Shopify are both publicly traded companies, while Automattic and Squarespace are both planning 2021 IPOs. Wix shares have gone from roughly ~$17 in 2013 to ~$257 today, while Shopify has gone from ~$20 a share in 2016 to ~$1,184 today. Automattic's flagship platform—Wordpress—is responsible for over a third of all sites on the web, and Squarespace was generating over $300 million in revenue back in 2017.

Webflow has roughly zero chance of replacing frontend developers, but the "everyone who needs a website and doesn't want to hire a frontend team" market is pretty large and has been for a longtime.

What makes Webflow interesting to me, and where it is a gamble, is where it stands on the spectrum of developer-friendliness to "can kind of use a computer"-friendliness. They seem to be betting on a change in the market, particularly around the emergence (or rapid growth) of a certain demographic: people who are familiar with web technologies (HTML/CSS/JS etc.) but who don't want to muck around in them directly to build a site—the "know enough to be dangerous" crowd, if I had to give it a name.

I don't know if that will work out exactly, and I personally don't really find it helpful, but it's interesting. At the very least, I personally know a lot of teams building non-SaaS products (infra tools etc.) that use Webflow for their frontend.

I’ve used Webflow directly and seen it used within companies: although not perfect, my assessment is that they’ve bridged the gap between WYSIWYG and website builder. They’ve got room for improvement but they’re definitely on the right path, I’d bet on Webflow — if you look to how Wordpress is used in most companies, Webflow is all the good parts.

Having used it and subscribed, after their last round. I will not be renewing. Cost is too high for a such a buggy product that continues to not implement features. So little as improved or changed. The most frustrating thing for me is how they deal with different screen sizes and overrides. They made CSS worse, it is beyond frustrating.

Webflow has been around for a long time though. They're doing something right.

There was an explosion of these tools back in 2012. Products like Easel[0] and Macaw[1] came and went. Webflow is still here.

0 - http://easel.io (link is dead, I know)

1 - http://macaw.co

I haven't used it, but I do share your skepticism. I ended up rebuilding the last website that was exported from it because it was horribly slow on mobile, despite it being an extremely simple site.

I think they could be fine if companies were flexible. Too often a tool with finite options is chosen and then the people who selected the tool want all sorts of things it was not designed to do.

We have been assessing migrating from our own Hugo based site to webflow, so that our designers and business folks can more easily make edits and spin up landing pages, etc.

The main hangups right now are lack of transparent pricing around overages (it's "call for pricing") and we currently use AVIF and AV1 and those do not appear to be supported by webflow. I also think paid support tiers would be extremely helpful, like AWS. I'm actually happy to pay for good support straight from the company.

If anyone from webflow is listening, these are my main current requests.

Have you looked into hugo CMS providers? There are some out their with these features, though I can't find the link right now...

Webflow support is ok, feature addition seems to be abysmal. Haven't seen anything significant since the last raise

I am happyu to see this crowd calling webflow for what it is, a WYSIWYG editor, I'm a non technical but tech savvy person and I've built simple sites (some with basic "app" like functionalities) in the past using Squarespace, Wix, Wordpress, and my current favorite: Tilda. Only in the past 18 months has everyone starting to call Webflow "no-code" and I felt like I must have been missing something.

Thunkable, Adalo, Bubble, those are no-code tools Webflow, Carrd (which I like but is also touted as no-code platform when it's basically a landing page builder) and in different categories Notion or Airtable... they're great tools but it feels misleading to call these "no code platforms"

Agree, no-code is a hot marketing term right now.

The only legit no-code project I know of is https://github.com/kelseyhightower/nocode

Thanks for the link, I was able to deploy my first full fledged nocode app at last!

That's awesome, you are now ready for "high code"


* am the author of this one

I used Webflow extensively for a startup a few years ago where I did front-end development and a few non-technical people were trying to write out content pages (e.g. FAQ, features, etc.).

Honestly the whole experience was very underwhelming, but it might have been the team, not the product. Because there weren't components, it was hard to keep a consistent styling. And because the non-technical people didn't have a design sense, I ended up having to "clean" their work, then translate to CSS manually. I guess it was neat to try to explore example ideas, but a lot of those weren't translatable into "responsive" web pages (do people still do that anymore?).

The story of how they got into YC is an interesting one => https://webflow.com/blog/the-story-of-how-webflow-and-y-comb...

I believe that no-code is the right solution in some areas like building quickly a website for those who don't want to hire a developer. I have another use-case in the cloud management which is a product I developed https://www.brainboard.co that generates Terraform code from a drawing and I think no-code will be present in more and more domains.

After watching Vlad's interview on this week in startup, I think the product deserves more success.His story is inspiring.


I really like Webflow. It felt what Squarespace should have always been.

How do they compare with e.g JourneyApps?

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