There’s no hiding the fact that design and collaborative softwares are two of the most exciting software verticals right now.
On the design front, take a look at Figma, who just raised $50M at a $2B valuation, even amid the uncertainty of COVID-19. They have completely flipped the design space on its head in just a few years. As Figma CEO, Dylan Field stated, most of their competitors were “trapped in the 90’s,” requiring users to download softwares or special operating systems. Figma brought a modern approach to prototyping with the premise of creating a collaborative, cloud-based design tool that would be the Google Docs of design, forcing bigger players in the space, such as InVision and Sketch, to race to keep up.
On the collaborative side, Slack has transformed how organizations operate, not by creating online messaging, but by taking a modern, customer-focused and product-led approach to the space. With this mindset, they have become an even more dominant company since organizations were forced to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Take a look at this tweet that Slack’s CEO, Stewart Butterfield, made on March 25th discussing how COVID-19 has impacted their business. As a result, Microsoft is investing heavily in Microsoft Teams to try to prevent Slack from completely taking over the market.
As for video communications, one of the most talked about software companies of the past few months has been Zoom. Their stock is up about 75% since the start of the pandemic, even with some major security concerns. User growth has continued to climb in the face of these concerns that would have otherwise crushed most software companies, because the alternatives are confusing, unreliable, and incredibly outdated. Today, ‘Zoom’ is now a verb, a major milestone for any software company. They weren’t the first video conferencing software, but they’ve quickly become the de facto option for businesses and consumers alike.
So we’ve seen all of these amazing softwares and not a single one was the first in their space. However, they all took a similar, product-led and bottoms-up approach, focusing on the customer first. They weren’t looking to grow rapidly out of the gate, but to grow steadily. Their success is a tale of focusing on simplicity, rather than overwhelming their users with countless features; making their products affordable for all users, not tricking them into paying more; and most importantly, asking the question, “What is best for our customers?” first, not “What is best for us, as a business?”
At MarkUp, we are taking a similar approach to the process of collaborating and collecting feedback on all forms of digital content. We realized a massive gap in the market: the process of going from a mockup or wireframe to a live website is riddled with frustrating, outdated, and inconsistent processes. Processes that involved a painful combination of long meetings, phone, or video conferences, email, Slack, Invision links, PDF’s, and more. Nothing was centralized or streamlined.
MarkUp was born within Ceros, a cloud-based design platform that allows marketers and designers to create immersive content without writing a single line of code. Ceros is a 200+ employee company, working with some of the biggest brands in the world. It was such a persistent and large problem not only with Ceros customers but the entire digital creation community that we decided it needed its own dedicated team and platform to solve it.
Only a few months removed from launching, we’re about a year of development away from a point where we believe we will have achieved total product-market fit. We are focusing on steady product-led growth, simplicity, ease of use, and instantaneous time to value.
In a recent survey we conducted, MarkUp users stated that they save, on average 55% of time on web design projects. We plan to increase that to 75% within the next year. That is the impact we want to have in the market.