CSS Founder is helping digitise small businesses with website designing
Founded in 2016, CSS Founder provides website design and development services, with a core focus on quality. So far, it has created over 12,000 websites.
"If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.“
These words of Microsoft founder Bill Gates couldn’t have been truer, especially for small businesses post-pandemic. The lockdown-induced restrictions hastened the digital adoption of SMEs, with 65% of them now online as compared to 37% in 2015.
None of these businesses can survive without a website. However, Amity University alum Imaran Khan found that there wasn’t a strong Indian website designer brand that would cater to the needs of small enterprises.
In 2014, he established—the name derived from the stylesheet language that formats website presentations.
The Noida-based startup builds and provides website design and development services combining high-level UI/UX designs with web solutions tailored towards the needs of all businesses—startups, SMEs and large corporations.
A serial entrepreneur, Imaran launched the educational portal Edhole.com in 2011 to give students study material for free. Two years later, he started RationHome.com, an online grocery store.
The idea to start CSS Founders germinated when Imaran was looking to get a website built for Edhole.com in an affordable and hassle-free manner. However, it took him two years to get the desired results, which made him realise that there was a gap in the fragmented market which presented him with a huge opportunity.
“Due to the lack of a renowned brand in the website design industry, the biggest impediment was that small website design companies had issues with timely delivery and quality of their offerings. Large website design companies used to charge amounts that were not viable for startups and freelancers, and were often unprofessional,” Founder and CEO Imaran tells YourStory.
To plug these gaps, he started CSS Founder with the vision to become a one-stop destination for all things related to website design.
“We are currently focused on being the website creation destination for all types of businesses, and that is our prime and only offering,” he adds.
How does it work?
CSS Founder offers all kinds of website building services, including after-sales and renewal services, along with round-the-clock maintenance assistance.
Essentially, the entire business model is automated and leads are generated through the inquiries the platform receives daily from potential customers who find them on the web. Almost 90% of its leads are organic and stem from Google rankings, while the remaining 10% come from referrals.
It works on a project-by-project basis and gives clients the option of annual maintenance contract (AMC), which requires clients to sign a contract with the startup for website creation. Later, the platform puts a nuanced focus on the needs and deliverables.
"AMC is the after-sales service that a client can opt for if they feel satisfied with the deliverables. The AMC is the long-term website renewal contract, which implies that we will be renewing the website for the client, creating a long-term recurring relationship which fosters word of mouth for our business," he explains.
The startup claims that 90% of its business comes from AMC and website renewal services. It also has AMC contracts with companies such as Samsung C&T, Vigilance Hair Studio, and others.
To keep a check on website hacking, the startup builds a secure code and constantly monitors websites. In the event of a security breach, the team resolves to fix the issue within hours.
CSS has worked with startups including Hello Healthy, Tumble Dry, Gohoarding, Nicheshoe, Global Policy Insights, and Savin Communications, to name a few.
It also has worked with organisations including Samsung C&T, Ministry of Telecommunications, Luxor Pen, Gaur Builder, Saya Builder, Exotica Housing, Idus, IIT Delhi, and others.
CSS Founder’s charges start from Rs 10,000 and can go up to lakhs, per the needs and requirements and the customisations involved. The AMC fee is 30% of the total cost of the website.
"However, our prices are the most affordable in the industry as we firmly believe that everyone should be able to afford a website," claims Imaran.
He says the average website creation cost is Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh per industry standards, whereas CSS charges Rs 25,000-Rs 40,000.
"Price variation is a huge factor in the web design industry. We at CSS aim to cut it down and make the pricing policy fix it for everyone," he adds.
The Indian market is crowded with web designing companies such as Acodez, TISIndia, K2BIndia, Axis Web Art, Web Destiny, to name a few.
“Our core competence strictly revolves around website designing,” Imaran asserts
The founder initially bootstrapped the startup by investing Rs 70,000–80,000 from their savings.
Since its inception, the startup has created more than 12,000 websites. In FY21, it generated a revenue of Rs 2 crore, and in FY22, the number grew to Rs 4 crore—a 200% growth.
It also has a presence in Dubai where it has developed over 500 websites. The region helps it generate Rs 60 lakh per year.
"With our strong clientele growth and recurring projects, the team is optimistic about hitting the defined numbers," he exalts.
Currently, the team has more than 50 employees.
Talking about challenges, Imaran says, "Initially, it was tough for us to market our firm due to the fund crunch since we were a bootstrapped company.”
"So, the only thing that we could do—at the most minimal cost that actually made us reach small businesses—was to paint the walls near roads to advertise our website creation with our contact number," he adds.
Globally, there are about 200 million active websites in 2022, and the web design and development services industry comprises more than 75,000 companies, according to tech websites Slowin and Techjury.
The website design industry in India is growing at a rate of 23% to 25% annually.
CSS Founder has bold plans for the next three years. "We wish to create a monopoly in this industry which is not autocratic but a standard for quality and on-time delivery," Imaran says.
The startup aims to clock Rs 12 crore in revenue by next year and targets Rs 100 crore in the coming years.
It plans to onboard over 1,200 clients in the coming year. It also plans to expand its team size to 400 employees in the near future.
It targets to develop nearly 10,000 websites in a year, and is aiming to take this figure to one lakh websites by 2024.
"We strive to provide safe, secure, and customised, up-and-running websites as per the current trends in the industry. We are below the industry average price for website design and the value proposition has given us a competitive edge in our industry," he signs off.
Edited by Kanishk Singh