This startup allows you to create the website of your dreams
Websites are an inextricable foundation of the Internet as we live it today. Whether it is for ease of business or personal use, a website is the fundamental form of digital real estate in our time. Some websites run on quick and easy-to-use templates provided by WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace, and others rely on Webflow for its deep customization and advanced features. However, many try to build Notion websites with difficulty. Michelle Marcelline, Kevin Nicholas Chandra, Putri Karunia, Anthony Harris Christian, and Albert Putra Purnama noticed that many people were developing workarounds to Notion’s limitations and created Typedream as a go-to tool. Typedream is a Codeless Website Builder “That is Simple as Notion and Beautiful as Webflow”. The startup is based in San Francisco and has already raised venture capital funds.
Frédéric Daso: What are the factors driving the bifurcation from easy-to-use, template-based website builders (e.g. Squarespace and Wix) and more complex customizable options like Webflow?
Kevin Chandra: Website builders, like any other software, were born simple. They were intended to serve users with simple needs. However, as these users grow their business or audience, they need more features, and it is because of these features that complicated and customizable options like Webflow are born.
Initially, website builders were a tool designed for the hobbyist, but as we have entered an era where individuals, brands and businesses all need digital real estate, that is no longer true. Website building became a job, and with the explosion of web designers and freelancers, tools like Webflow were born.
Today, this choice is no longer binary. With the significant development of rich text editors and design tools, it is possible to combine ease and customization, which is why we created Typedream.
Daso: Of the hundreds of thousands of new websites launched every day, how many of them aren’t built on Squarespace, Wix, Webflow, and similar competitors?
Albert Putra Purnama: According to this source, only about 3.45% of the internet is built using CMS / website builders. This number shows you that most of the internet is still created by code, which most people in this world don’t know how to do. Therefore, there is still plenty of room for more no-code tools to help democratize the Internet.
This is one of the reasons we built Typedream; we wanted to help make website building accessible to everyone. The fundamental design of Typedream is based on one of the most ubiquitous software on a computer, a text editor. We want to make sure that there will be no knowledge barrier to building a website.
Daso: How did you marry the concepts of “what you see is what you get” and cutting edge web design standards to produce Typedream? Which of these elements was a priority during your initial phases of product development?
Michelle marcelline: We took inspiration from Notion, where they combined the easy WYSIWYG editing experience with smart design. It allows users to focus only on their content; However, we took it a step further and created a tool specifically designed for website building. We have incorporated website building elements like section templates, CTA buttons, integrations, and more. in our rich text editor. Beyond that, we’ve made sure our users will use the latest and greatest in design trends, such as 3D assets and gradients.
We knew early on that we had to master the editing experience first. Therefore, we took our time talking to the people who build websites on Notion and asked them how the Notion editing experience has led them away from using all the other website builders out there today. . We learned from them that typing a document is usually the first thing people do when they interface with a computer. Therefore, we modeled our editor on MS Word, Google Docs, and Notion.
Daso: You have already mentioned that you and your co-founders have worked successfully on previous projects. How have these successes and failures of past collaborations shaped the way you all work together on Typedream today?
Anthony harris christian: We never succeeded; we have failed so many times in the past six years. However, the lessons we learned along the way have brought us to where we are today. We came to the United States for the first time as international students with 0 knowledge of how the tech industry works and 0 models that we can take inspiration from, as there are not many engineers or of Indonesian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.
It took us five long years to build projects and tinker together. Looking back, the famous quote from Steve Jobs: “You can’t impatiently connect the dots; you can only connect them by looking back. is an accurate description of our trip. We kept building, not knowing where it could take us, but looking back, our previous projects helped us build Typedream.
We built Typedream based on what we learned at Cotter. Cotter is a passwordless authentication solution. We built Cotter based on our learning by creating a mobile app for developing countries. We entered YC wanting to build Robinhood for SEA. We have been exposed to YC because of our experience working at a YC company. We started working for this YC company because one of our projects was taken over by them.
The many failures we had taught us that no one knows how to succeed; it’s just a matter of cheap, quick, and often failure. Fortunately, in technology we have the privilege of failing cheaply and quickly, which subconsciously leads us to do the right things. We have learned over 1000 different ways to fail; today it’s just a matter of not repeating those mistakes, trying different approaches, and making new mistakes. Hopefully one day we’ll run out of mistakes!
Daso: Why did you prioritize community development for Typedream? How have these efforts guided and shaped the technical development of the startup and your ability to sell to users?
Putri karunia: Community is our ditch, and they will take us far and build a meaningful business. We focus on building community because we understand that software is easily replicated in today’s world. With a community-driven approach, our users help us prioritize the features we build and define our roadmap for the foreseeable future. Listening to and observing our community also gave us a glimpse of what the Web could be like in the next 5 to 10 years. We’re excited to be able to do what Pixar has done to animation, us to websites. Moreover, our users not only like to use the software, but also to build and manage their websites with the community. We’ve created a place for them to easily ask for feedback and early support.
Typedream connects with its users through many memes; we even have a sponsorship type program which we called a simping program. Our community loves us so much that they helped us win Product of the Month on ProductHunt, and since we were able to connect with our users and create a product that they and their friends want, we found it to be relatively easy to sell to them. This initial group of simps allows us not to compete on price but to focus more on giving them as much value as possible.
Daso: What lessons have you learned so far from moving from a key role to another for which a founder is responsible in the early stages of start-up?
Chandra: Meaning a founder means you have to do whatever gets the business going, which involves wearing several different hats. My co-founders and I had mostly technical background, but when it came to building Typedream we had to learn how to talk to users, market the product, nurture our community, among other things.
The most important lesson I learned from moving from one key role to another was the ability to learn repeatedly. Learning involves finding the right mentors and the right content, and spending hours putting what you’ve learned into practice. My co-founders and I made so many mistakes that we are comfortable being a beginner on several occasions.
Today we have documentation for every role each of us has played before. The knowledge base we have is making sure that if we were to change roles or pass a role to a future employee, he / she would be able to move to that role fairly quickly.