Issue #9 - April 19th
Squarespace goes public, and the Conte flywheel keeps'a'spinnin'
If you haven’t watched The Jack Conte Video yet, go watch it. Seriously. It is 8 minutes and 8 seconds long, and it is worth your time.
Pursuant to our new format, we’re going to take a single event this week that we think has deep implications for the creator economy and couple that with our thoughts on the topic. We’re not necessarily saying that the event we choose is the defining event of the week. But we think it is something worth pondering a bit deeper.
Wall Street and Twitter was awash this week with people talking about the Coinbase IPO (and extending NFT’s current 15 minutes a bit), but on Friday we got something new to look forward to: Squarespace announced they are going public, too.
This is bit of an aside, but if you’ve never read an S-1, or if you’ve opened one up only to close the tab immediately after feeling assaulted by the financial statements and legalese, you should take a minute to read Squarespace’s S-1. They have a very accessible 10-page PDF-style introduction that gives an overview of where the business is going.
There are a lot of numbers in this S-1 painting a picture of a very healthy business:
Despite competition from growing companies like Wix and Weebly and Wordpress (oh, my!) — not to mention Shopify! — Squarespace is still growing at an insane clip.
Not only that, but their creators are growing as well: Squarespace’s GMV — gross amount of money that flowed through their platform to their customers — grew 90% last year.
Squarespace’s product, ops, and marketing definitely had a hand in that GMV growth, but the growth in the creator economy was undoubtedly a big factor.
They have 3.7M paid subscriptions. I didn’t read every line of the S-1, so I’m not sure if that number is broken down across use cases like Ecomm vs. Portfolio websites, but in any case this is a bullish indicator for the number of creators out there. Every time a company like this shares data, thinking about 250M creators in 2025 becomes more believable.
Squarespace has over 1,200 employees. Regardless of where the stock price goes after going public, a lot of those employees are going to have the financial means to take what they’ve learned at Squarespace and start building companies. (Did you watch The Jack Conte Video? 😏)
Plenty of employees who don’t feel like starting their own business are going to have the financial means to invest in their colleagues — and others — who are out there building products.
Squarespace is over 15 years old. They have seen the entire creator economy grow up from scratch. Some of those 1,200 employees have been there over 10 years, and as people move around post-IPO, diffusing that institutional knowledge throughout new and existing creator companies is going to further accelerate the Second Renaissance.
Think about Link in Bio products (Linktree, Koji, etc…) for a minute. These have free tiers. With LIBs, you can list very basic information. You can link to all your social profiles. And many LIB products are now beginning to integrate lightweight commerce. Squarespace does not have a free tier. It wouldn’t have surprised me if we found out that LIB tools were slowly chipping away at the Squarespace’s of the world. This S-1 says that is not the case. Certainly there are people out there that decided to go with a free LIB rather than pay Squarespace $12/month. But LIBs are clearly not harming Squarespace’s business. I think this speaks to the massive scale of the creator economy. There are 10s of millions of LIB pages out there. There are over 1M Shopify stores. And Squarespace is growing GMV at 90% YoY. 🚀
Not only that, Squarespace is now IN the LIB game with Bio Sites from Unfold, a company they recently acquired.
After writing a lot of this and sitting back for a minute, it just humbling looking at the numbers here. Squarespace has been around so long that at times I’ve been guilty of overlooking it or taking it for granted. The creator economy has been so active, with so many new entrants, and so many rocket ships, that one can be forgiven for thinking that these older companies are losing relevance. Squarespace is a great reminder that is not the case.
Until next week,
Niel and Ryan