There are 12 million small and medium-sized businesses in the US, but they remain one of the most underserved segments of the B2B universe: this volume highlights a high level of fragmentation and, along with other issues such as budget constraints, there are a number of barriers to scale them to build. Today, however, a startup helping SMBs get started online is announcing significant funding – a sign of how things are changing at a moment when many companies have realized that doing business online is no longer an option, but a necessity .
GoSite, a San Diego-based startup that helps small and medium-sized businesses build websites and, with a minimum of technical expertise, performs other functions of their business online – such as payments, online marketing, appointment booking, and accounting – has selected 40 million US dollars in funding.
GoSite offers users everything from a single source to create and manage everything online. with the ability to feed up to 80 different third-party services into it. "We want to help our customers find anywhere," said Alex Goode, GoSite's founder and CEO. "We're integrating with Facebook and other consumer platforms like Siri, Apple Maps, and search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing and more." It also creates certain features like payments from scratch.
Series B is set against the backdrop of a strong year for the company. Due to the circumstances of Covid-19, companies have increasingly turned to the internet to interact with customers, and GoSite – with "thousands" of SMB customers – said it had doubled its customer base in 2020.
This final round is led by New York-based Left Lane Capital, which also includes Longley Capital, Cove Fund, Stage 2, Ankona Capital and Serra Ventures. GoSite is clearly noticeable as long as the iron is hot: Longley, also from San Diego, led the company's preliminary round, which only took place in August of this year. So far, $ 60 million has been raised.
GoSite is, in a sense, a game of inclusivity in technology: its customers are not companies that “win” other vendors who offer website creation and hosting, and other services normally used by SMBs like Squarespace and Wix or GoDaddy become or Shopify.
Rather, they are businesses that may never have used any of them: local garages, local landscapers, local hair salons, local accounting firms, local dentists, and so on. Accounting firm aside, these are not companies that will ever go fully online like a retailer might, not least because of the physical aspect of each of these professions. But they need an online presence and the levers they have to communicate with in order to survive, especially in times when their old models are under pressure.
Goode started GoSite after graduating with a degree in computer science from college in Michigan, having previously grown up and worked in small businesses – his parents, grandparents, and others in his Michigan town all ran their own businesses. (He moved to San Diego "because of the weather," which he joked.)
He believes that while there are and always will be alternatives like Facebook or Yelp to plant a flag, nothing can replace the value and longer-term security and control of building something of their own – a feeling small business owners would surely understand.
That is perhaps the most interesting aspect of GoSite as it exists today: it does not see anything that already exists as "competition". Instead, Goode sees its purpose in creating a dashboard that would allow business owners to manage all of that – with up to 80 different services currently available – and more from a single place, without the need for technical skills and time learning the ropes .
"There's definitely a lot of small business need for help, and something like GoSite can do that," said Goode. "The room is very fragmented and noisy and they don't even know where to start."
This, along with GoSite's growth and relevance to the current market, has in part attracted investors.
"The opportunity we are betting on here is the all-in-one solution," said Vinny Pujji, Partner at Left Lane. "If you're a carpet cleaner or a house painter, you can't understand or work with five or six different pieces of software. We've talked to thousands of SMBs about it and that was the answer we heard." He said the other important thing was that GoSite has a customer service team and that SMEs that use it like it when they call: "GoSite picks up the phone."