PageCloud is not the next WordPress.
In fact, the team behind this Ottawa startup has no desire to be the “next” anything when it comes to shaking up the content management system (CMS) market.
Why? Because it has developed a better, and profoundly different, way to build personal and professional websites.
“Every CMS on the planet is trying to make it easy for the average user to change things, but with cookie cutter templates, that only allow little things to be changed in some places,” said PageCloud founder and CEO Craig Fitzpatrick. “What we offer is true creative freedom that’s never before existed.”
What makes PageCloud so special? A true “what you see is what you get” platform that makes building websites as easy as drag and drop. Users can add photos, text, videos and other elements to web pages using drag-and-drop movements and keyboard shortcuts.
Think of it as taking the same intuitive user experience and creative freedom common to the best desktop publishing applications, and applying it to web design.
Comparing PageCloud to WordPress, or to any other conventional CMS, is like comparing an HD flatscreen TV to an old tube TV, Fitzpatrick said.
Wooing investors, customers alike
He spent three years hammering out the base code for PageCloud as a part-time hobby, before realizing he could turn his own frustration with conventional web design tools into a business.
After a first round of seed-financing raised at home, PageCloud secured a second round in early 2015 from a group of Silicon Valley investors. A third round followed last summer. PageCloud has raised $6.2 million in total to date and is now working on a Series A venture capital round.
"“As a small company, you are under attack on so many fronts. Taking steps to protect your IP is an often underused tool that can be used to create real business value.”"
The PageCloud team has grown to 18. In the six months leading up to its launch last Nov. 30, it achieved cash-flow break even and enjoyed a hugely successful pre-sale, signing up 14,000+ customers in 100 countries. PageCloud also made a splash as a finalist in the TechCrunch Disrupt 2015 battlefield competition in New York.
Creating real business value
Key to it all has been ensuring that PageCloud’s secret sauce – its intellectual property (IP) – is suitably protected. For that, Fitzpatrick and his team rely on full-service business law firm Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall.
“As a small company, you are under attack on so many fronts,” Fitzpatrick said. “Taking steps to protect your IP is an often underused tool that can be used to create real business value.”
It’s also a primary means of defending a tech startup’s competitive differentiator, added Perley-Robertson patent specialist Adrian O’Donnell.
“To build and protect their brand, startups must put in place a strategy that may include patents, trade-marks, trade secrets and other forms of protection,” he said. “It’s a matter of understanding what information to disclose and when, in a manner that best fits the needs of a startup on a budget.”
For example, O’Donnell worked with PageCloud to protect 20 of the company’s key inventions, with only two patent filings.
A startup’s most powerful asset
“I encounter many entrepreneurs who think that just talking to a lawyer about IP is going to cost them money,” O’Donnell said. “But I consult with startups all the time with no obligation, to help them understand that value of investing in a sound strategy, and how the costs can be deferred over a timeframe that makes sense.”
For Fitzpatrick, cost must be weighed against value.
“As we grow, it’s really becoming evident how much value our patent portfolio has, to attract investors, generate positive press, protect our brand against competitors eager to crack our code, and as an asset we can someday monetize,” he said.
Is it time to talk strategy?
To learn more about how Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall can help develop an IP strategy for your business, please visit www.perlaw.ca.