“If your business is not on the Internet, your business will be bankrupt.”
These words from Microsoft founder Bill Gates couldn’t have been truer, especially for small businesses post-pandemic. Lockdown-induced restrictions have accelerated digital adoption among SMEs, with 65% now online compared to 37% in 2015.
None of these businesses can survive without a website. However, an Amity University alumnus Imaran Khan found that there was no strong Indian website designer brand that would meet the needs of small businesses.
In 2014, he created— the name derived from the style sheet language that formats website layouts.
The Noida-based startup builds and provides website design and development services that combine high-level UI/UX designs with web solutions tailored to the needs of all businesses – startups, SMEs and large enterprises.
A serial entrepreneur, Imaran started the education portal Edhole.com in 2011 to give students free study materials. Two years later, he launched RationHome.com, an online grocery store.
The idea for starting CSS Founders came about when Imaran was looking to build a website for Edhole.com in an affordable and hassle-free way. However, it took him two years to get the desired results, which made him realize that there was a gap in the fragmented market that presented him with a huge opportunity.
“Due to the lack of a reputable brand in the web design industry, the biggest hurdle was that small web design companies had issues with timely delivery and quality of their offerings. Large web design companies were charging amounts that were unsustainable for startups and freelancers, and were often unprofessional,” said Founder and CEO Imaran. Your story.
To fill these gaps, he launched CSS Founder with the vision of becoming a one-stop destination for all things web design.
“We’re currently focused on being the go-to website building destination for all types of businesses, and that’s our core and unique offering,” he adds.
How it works?
CSS Founder offers all kinds of website building services, including after-sales and renewal services, as well as 24-hour maintenance support.
Essentially, the entire business model is automated and leads are generated through requests the platform receives daily from potential customers who find them on the web. Nearly 90% of its leads are organic and come from Google rankings, while the remaining 10% come from referrals.
It works on a project-by-project basis and offers customers the option of an Annual Maintenance Agreement (AMC), which requires customers to sign a contract with the startup for website building. Later, the platform puts a nuanced focus on requirements and deliverables.
“AMC is the after-sales service that a customer can opt for if they are satisfied with the deliverables. AMC is the long-term renewal contract of the website, which implies that we will renew the website for the customer, in creating a long-term, recurring relationship that promotes word of mouth for our business,” he explains.
The startup claims that 90% of its business comes from AMC and website renewal services. He also has AMC contracts with companies such as Samsung C&T, Vigilance Hair Studio and others.
To control website hacking, the startup creates secure code and continuously monitors websites. In the event of a security breach, the team resolves the problem within hours.
CSS has worked with startups such as Hello Healthy, Tumble Dry, Gohoarding, Nicheshoe, Global Policy Insights, and Savin Communications, to name a few.
He has also worked with organizations like Samsung C&T, Ministry of Telecommunications, Luxor Pen, Gaur Builder, Saya Builder, Exotica Housing, Idus, IIT Delhi and others.
CSS Founder fees start from Rs 10,000 and can range up to lakhs, depending on the needs and requirements and the customizations involved. The AMC fee is 30% of the total cost of the website.
“However, our prices are the most affordable in the industry because we strongly believe that everyone should be able to afford a website,” says Imaran.
He says the average cost of building a website is Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh as per industry standards, while CSS charges Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000.
“Price variation is a huge factor in the web design industry. At CSS, we aim to reduce it and make the pricing policy fix it for everyone,” he adds.
The Indian market is full of web design companies like Acodez, TISIndia, K2BIndia, Axis Web Art, Web Destiny to name a few.
“Our core competency revolves strictly around web design,” says Imaran
The founder initially launched the startup by investing between 70,000 and 80,000 rupees from his savings.
Since its creation, the startup has created more than 12,000 websites. In FY21, it generated revenue of Rs.2 crore, and in FY22, this increased to Rs.4 crore, a growth of 200%.
He is also present in Dubai where he has developed more than 500 websites. The region helps her generate Rs 60 lakh per year.
“With our strong customer growth and our recurring projects, the team is optimistic about reaching the defined figures,” he says.
Currently, the team has more than 50 employees.
Talking about challenges, Imaran says, “In the beginning, it was difficult for us to market our business due to the shortage of funds as we were a start-up business.”
“So the only thing we could do – at the lowest cost that allowed us to reach small businesses – was to paint the walls near the roads to advertise our website with our contact number,” he adds.
Globally, there are about 200 million active websites in 2022, and the web design and development services industry includes more than 75,000 companies, according to technology websites Slowin and Techjury.
The web design industry in India is growing at 23-25% annually.
CSS Founder has bold plans for the next three years. “We want to create a monopoly in this industry that is not autocratic but a standard of quality and on-time delivery,” says Imaran.
The startup aims to generate revenue of Rs 12 crore by next year and is aiming for Rs 100 crore in the coming years.
It plans to onboard over 1,200 customers in the coming year. It also plans to expand the size of its team to 400 employees in the near future.
It aims to grow nearly 10,000 websites in a year and aims to increase that figure to one lakh websites by 2024.
“We strive to provide safe, secure and personalized websites, based on current industry trends. We are below the average industry price for website design and the value proposition has given us a competitive advantage in our industry.”, he signs.