Why 800+ WordPress Believers Invested Over $1M in a New Approach To Hosting WordPress

March 17, 2020 | By Tom Fanelli | No Comments
March 17, 2020
By Tom Fanelli

No Comments
Equity crowdfunding is “Kickstarter for investing”. Friends, customers, and strangers alike can invest in companies in exchange for equity.

At Convesio, we’re changing the WordPress hosting game for good. We’re here to challenge legacy hosting solutions, with their outdated shared and Virtual Private Server (VPS) technology and slow and inefficient support.

Our solution? Next-generation technology and real-time, proactive support.

Last year we raised over $1m from 850 investors to expand our new approach to hosting WordPress. We did this through an equity crowdfunding campaign which ran from July to December. Over that time 846 individual investors invested $1,101,656 in exchange for equity in the business.

This is unprecedented in the WordPress space: we’re the first WordPress hosting company to raise money directly from individuals, the first WordPress business to use equity crowdfunding, and the first time the WordPress community could invest in a WordPress hosting company.

WordPress is a $10-20bn industry, which powers 35.9% of the world’s websites but has received relatively little venture funding to date. It’s common for functionality which runs on millions of websites to be maintained by very small groups of people. For WordPress to continue to compete as the most versatile website platform, there needs to be more investment. We need more functionality, and faster. Increased investment in the WordPress space can power that, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of this area.

Before we dive into the details, we’d like to first say a big “Thank you!” to everyone who shared, invested, wrote about, or did anything else for Convesio; without you all, it wouldn’t be possible.

I’ve heard about “new” WordPress hosting before, what do you do?

“The Convesio technology is two generations ahead of competitors. It uses Docker containers and microservices to achieve speeds on average 239% faster than leading Managed Hosting providers. We aren’t just another managed WordPress hosting company, we’re the next generation WordPress hosting company.”

– Elizabeth Bochner, Convesio

We were able to raise $1m+ because we’d already created a proven platform which gets results. Unlike other hosts that still use shared cPanel servers, VPS, or dedicated servers, we use Docker-based auto-scaling solutions harnessing the latest in container technology to allow you to scale out.

In plain English, this means the “servers” powering your website can scale up or down depending on the current needs. A sudden surge in traffic won’t cause your site to crash like other popular hosts. We like to call it “When you need it” capacity. We’re perfect for owners of WordPress agencies who often host multiple websites and can be frustrated by the slow support times, ticket-based support, or just overall poor performance.

Beta customers typically see staggering 239% faster load times and have told us they sleep better at night after switching to Convesio – because they know they can rely on us. We offer proactive, real-time support through Slack rather than slow, ticket-based support. Our happiest customers so far have been non-technical agency owners who can move large numbers of sites to Convesio and have us take care of them.

How did you raise $1m+?

"With the likes of WP Engine and Automattic aiming for IPOs, and other big players such as Google getting involved too, Convesio's funding and ownership model is an example of a more 'open' one."

– Lawrence Ladomery, Convesio

You’ve probably just heard of “equity crowdfunding”, so I’d like to explain what it is. Equity crowdfunding is “Kickstarter for investing”. Friends, customers, and strangers alike can invest in companies in exchange for equity. The specific legal term is “Regulation Crowdfunding”. It’s perfect for startups like us.

We used Wefunder for our campaign. Wefunder is the largest funding portal by dollars raised, number of companies funded, and number of investors, and they’re regulated by the SEC and FINRA. We launched our funding in July 2019 and by the end of day one we had raised a stunning $628,000. Our campaign gained a lot of traction, and by the end of December 2019 we ended up with the 846 investors and $1,101,656 in funding. We were able to revise our target up because of the high level of interest.

This is an historic event in the WordPress space. We’ve pioneered a new way of raising capital in the WordPress space, and in doing so offered the first time the WordPress community could invest in a host.

We’re proud and honored to have achieved these historic firsts, and they aligns with the WordPress philosophy of open source: our funding and ownership model is a more “open” one.

Tom Fanelli
Over my career, I have worked in both small business and Fortune 500 companies. I have had the honor of being a presenter for organizations like Microsoft, Intuit, Sage Software, RealPage, NARPM, NAA, and the Small Business Administration. Most recently I completed my first ebook, Infographics in Action, which teaches exactly how to create and market with infographics. Currently, I work in San Francisco and reside in the bay area with my wife and four children. Feel free to drop me a line, I would love to hear from you!
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What were the challenges with a new funding method?

crowdfunding convesio campaign Some of the Convesio Team at WordCamp Miami meeting with investors and customers."Remember how many questions five investors have on a single Shark Tank episode? We had 800 investors, so imagine how many questions that creates. The sheer workload of running the campaign meant this had to be a real team effort."

– Tom Fanelli, Convesio

Being the first is hard, and there were challenges. The most practical one was the amount of work involved in running the campaign: we had 846 investors, many of whom had questions, and we fielded questions from people who didn’t end up investing too. We balanced working on the product with working on the campaign, and ensuring an excellent quality of service to beta customers who had already switched to us.

The feedback from investors is immediate: running a campaign like this really forces you to think on your feet. We were grateful to have Wefunder as a good partner.

We also struggled to reach the WordPress community at large. Whilst we were raising the money we received some coverage, but we flew under the radar for a lot of the community. WordPress hosting is a big and important part of the WordPress space, so it’s understandable most people have existing preferences and suppliers. Cutting through that – even with our radically new technology – was difficult. Attending the flagship WordCamp US was helpful for connecting with businesses, and we’ve already done our first WordCamp for 2020.

So what happens next?

Convesio Plans for 2020 and Beyond

We’re already hard at work implementing our plans for 2020. Our primary aim for this year is to get significantly more people signed up for Convesio (if you want the best possible hosting, consider booking a demo). We’ll do this by investing in sales and marketing, and continuing to innovate with our platform. We already have clusters in US, UK, and AUS, and we’re adding EU soon as well.

The WordPress hosting market is primed for disruption. More and more businesses will realize they cannot reliably host their website on legacy providers. Convesio's approach and technology makes it a clear choice over legacy competitors, and that’s what we’re working on for 2020 and beyond.

Again, if you’re interested in Convesio then arrange a demo today. Our platform works, and is perfect for mission-critical websites.

Finally, we’d like to once again thank everyone for their continued support and show of faith in us as a real game-changer in the WordPress market. Let’s make 2020 the best year yet!

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