WordPress remains the juggernaut of content management systems, even though it now often gets used in ways it was never intended. And with that, managing the life cycle of WordPress sites has only gotten more complicated, too, all while hackers are trying to exploit any and all security issues to take control of a site. Strattic aims to make all of this a lot easier by turning WordPress sites into static sites that don’t query a database whenever a user looks at a page.
The Israeli company today announced that it has raised a $6.5 million seed round led by SignalFire and TenOneTen Ventures, with participation from Accel, Automattic, Seneca VC, Eric Ries and Village Global VC. It also announced that Zeev Suraski, who co-created PHP 3 and the Zend Engine that’s at the core of PHP 4, has joined the company as its CTO.
About 13 years ago, Strattic CEO and co-founder Miriam Schwab founded a WordPress web development company. At that time, WordPress was often still seen as a tool for running personal blogs, but that has obviously changed over time. But she realized that once her agency handed off the site to the customer, they would often come back to her to ask for maintenance as well — and the idea behind Strattic is based on that experience and trying to simplify that process by using static site generators. Schwab noted that those aren’t necessarily all that user-friendly, though.
“WordPress is still the best option out there, but it has these major issues, so I thought, all right, why not marry these two worlds? WordPress stays WordPress, but maybe we turn it into a static site generator. And that was the initial concept for Strattic,” Schwab told me.
“It was just such an obviously good idea,” co-founder and COO Josh Lawrence added. “It means that you don’t need to do maintenance anymore. It means that your site is 99.99999% more unhackable than before. It’s going to be faster, no matter what. Totally scalable. It’s just all these things and as long as you can make it work — which was not simple — it’s just obvious from a business perspective.”
With Strattic, users still get the usual WordPress experience, but the company only spins up a WordPress container when you are using it, which significantly reduces the attack surface, and then generates the static sites as you make changes. Those static sites obviously load very fast and also provide a smaller attack surface. To speed up the sites, Strattic also uses AWS’s CDN solution.
Lawrence, however, also told me, that getting funding wasn’t easy at first. VCs in Israel weren’t really looking to fund a WordPress company at the time, even though Strattic was growing (mostly organically) at a very nice pace and getting real customers. So in order to raise this round, the company went to Silicon Valley, looking to raise $2 million but came back with $6.5 million in an oversubscribed round.
The team plans to use the new funding to build out its product team and start rolling out new features quickly. Currently, for example, there are still a few types of sites that don’t work with Strattic, including those that use the popular WooCommerce system, because they rely on database connections. Support for these types of sites is in the works, though.