Durable raises CA$18 million to help service businesses operate on autopilot

The startup claims six million sites were created with the platform in its first year.

A month after the soft launch of its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered website builder in fall 2022, Sustainable had already created 26,000 websites.

“I want to reach those 100,000 [and] million, and I think we have the opportunity to do that,” Durable founder and CEO James Clift told BetaKit at the time.

A year after this initial launch, Durable has far exceeded these two objectives. According to Clift, the platform has facilitated the creation of six million websites, and that’s not the only milestone the Vancouver-based startup has achieved.

Today, Durable revealed that it has raised CA$18 million (US$14 million) in Series A funding and is now looking to become a complete “business in a box” platform » for service-based entrepreneurs.

“We’re trying to build a world where anyone with a skill can simply turn it into a business in minutes. »

James Clift

“This goal of a fully autonomous company is really where we want to get to,” Clift said in a recent interview with BetaKit.

Durable’s Series A funding, closed last month, was led by Spark Capital with participation from existing investors Torch Capital, Altman Capital, Dash Fund, South Park Commons, Infinity Ventures and Soma Capital. To date, the startup has raised more than CA$27 million (US$20 million).

Unlike e-commerce platforms, which typically support product-based businesses, Sustainable exclusively targets small service providers, such as personal trainers, landscapers or freelancers.

The website builder allows users to enter information about their business, and in less than 30 seconds, Durable generates a complete website with a banner, service listing, elevator pitch, and more. From there, users can sign up to customize their new site.

Clift explained that Durable achieved six million website creations in one year by allowing access to the website builder without user registration, meaning these websites do not necessarily represent six million customers. Clift didn’t reveal exact numbers for BetaKit, but a statement from the startup said “millions of business owners” are actively using the platform for building websites, and Clift outlined the company’s revenue. startup as “important”.

The CEO said the startup also employs a “viral marketing» approach using platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram to generate social buzz for the product. With Clift’s experience in search engine optimization, he said the platform has also seen significant search traffic.

RELATED: How CIOs can prepare for the “tectonic shift” in generative AI

The startup monetizes its website builder with a free model. The free version offers a three-page website, a subdomain, email support, standard stock images, and three monthly blog posts. Paid monthly subscriptions are available for additional features, including more pages, custom domains, and premium widgets.

Durable may have been recognized for its ability to quickly build websites, but as the startup looks forward to next year, it’s already expanding beyond website building. Clift explained that to start a service business, entrepreneurs must learn many skills outside of their core competencies, such as accounting, taxation, marketing and sales.

“We’re trying to build a world where anyone with a skill can turn this into a business in minutes,” he added.

Business-in-a-box solutions refer to comprehensive packages that provide the tools and services needed to start and operate a business. They are designed to streamline the process of creating new businesses or facilitating the operations of existing businesses. The main Canadian player in this space is Shopify, although it generally targets e-commerce or online retail brands, while Durable gears its platform towards smaller service providers.

In addition to the website builder, the startup currently offers customer relationship management software, a billing tool (in beta version), a AI Assistant to automate administrative tasks and be powered by AI blog creator. In addition to its core services, the startup offers various resources for entrepreneurs, including tips on starting a blog, tips for starting a business in specific jurisdictions, and a range of website templates.

Durable’s current focus is on developing the “back office” features that small suppliers need to run their businesses, such as marketing, accounting and insurance. The startup also launched a “brand builder” in beta, capable of generating logos, business cards, signage and other assets using AI.

Over the next year, Clift hopes to develop the “third stage” of the Sustainable product, which he described as “full automation.” This means that when users enable it, the platform automatically optimizes the entire business in the background, including making website updates, updating blog posts, creating marketing campaigns, obtaining new leads, etc.

The Series A investment will be specifically used to bring these products and capabilities to life, as well as expand the startup’s 15-person team. Clift said he plans to double the size of the team in the coming months, although he noted that headcount growth is not an explicit goal for Durable. “I think the other benefit of starting a software company today is that you can do a lot with a very small team,” he added.

Image courtesy of Durable.

Matilda Baker

"Evil pop culture fanatic. Extreme bacon geek. Food junkie. Thinker. Hipster-friendly travel nerd. Coffee buff."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *