Today San Francisco-based Bislr launched its platform to help SMBs build websites and campaign pages, aiming to help companies increase social sharing and mobile viewing, while also helping them generate more qualified leads. The company also announced that it has raised a $3.5 million Series A funding round led by Southern Cross Venture Partners and participation from Draper Associates and other private investors. The product has been in development for over a year, and the startup will now use the funding to continue adding features as well as market to SMBs.
The company was co-founded by Michael Sharkey, Pete Sharkey and Chris Sharkey, and Chris previously co-founded Stayz, a holiday rental directory in Australia acquired by FairFax Digital. Over the course of their own experience running and scaling startups, the duo experienced first hand how website marketers and small business owners were struggling with what they should be doing online, and how to find the time to fit it in.
“We’ve had the same problem over and over again while running our startups. There’s all these different things we knew we should be doing like building our website out, having lead forms, making those forms pull to our CRM…all these different things that were best practices and knew we should be doing,” said Michael Sharkey in an interview with BetaKit. “All these things were time-consuming, we ended up finding we were using 5-6 solutions to get the job done…and we’d be paying 5-6 times the subscription cost for each application we would use.”
Bislr as a platform attempts to provide an intelligent marketing layer to power what the company refers to as smarter website marketing. It integrates with a company’s existing CRM solution and marketing automation efforts, allowing marketers to use a drag-and-drop interface to build websites, campaign pages, and embed social channels right on their site to better connect to their content on YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. They can also conduct A/B testing on their calls to action, view analytics, segment leads, and send out email marketing messages.
Anything created using the Bislr dashboard is optimized for any mobile or tablet device, which is key for SMBs who don’t have the budget to build separate mobile apps. The SaaS startup offers an Economy package starting at $99 per month, and has an Enterprise package that runs upwards of $999 per month, but this would be in addition to existing subscriptions to CRMs and online services.
The solution faces direct competition from companies like Unbounce, which lets companies build and test landing pages to optimize lead generation with A/B testing and analytics. While there are other startups targeting even more time-strapped SMBs such as Glyder, with its mobile-only approach as well as Smore, which lets users quickly build online flyers. Aware that several existing solutions intend to do what Bislr promises, Michael Sharkey believes the company’s integration with tools a company is already using, in addition to pages generated on Bislr being completely mobile-friendly, are a few of the reasons why it stands out.
With online marketers increasingly looking to tie their social web activity with sales, the company’s all-in-one approach may have some appeal for resource-strapped SMEs and startups. However, given the wide array of tools that promise to do either the same or fragments of what it offers, it will have to cut through the pack by showcasing that it’s either easier to use, or that users can save money by subscribing to Bislr as opposed to paying for multiple services.