When Casalena, who grew up in northern Maryland, came of age, so did the Internet. At the turn of the millennium, the man who’d go on to found Squarespace was just starting college. He wanted to build himself a home on the Internet, but in those days, the tools necessary to build a website were rudimentary and fragmented. And that was frustrating. Casalena decided to build a better solution. He created software to bring together and unify all of the disparate tools necessary to build a website under one digital roof.
In Apr 2003, while Casalena was still a student at the University of Maryland, he started coding the foundation of what would become Squarespace. Today, Squarespace is an online tool for building and publishing websites. It supports more than 1 million websites for businesses, entrepreneurs, creatives, and individuals. Despite the company’s impressive growth, in those early days, Casalena says he didn’t think that he was building a business. He was fixing his own problem.
Casalena borrowed $30,000 from his father to buy computer servers to host the Squarespace code. For the first three years, Casalena ran Squarespace alone. He wrote the code, educated and interacted with customers, and managed marketing, if buying $100 worth of Google Adwords can be called “marketing.”
However, Casalena wasn’t the only one trying to build a website in 2003. He slowly became aware that the service platform he was building for himself would be useful to other people, too. In Jan 2004, Casalena launched the first iteration of the tool he built as a service, and Squarespace was born.
By the time graduated from college, Squarespace was making more than $1 million in revenue. He moved to New York City, where he had the servers installed, and over the next few years, Casalena grew the business and the team to include about 30 employees. In those first few years out of college, Casalena and two other team members rewrote the code, improving the college dorm room version and making it scaleable.
The goal of Squarespace is to empower anybody to be able to build, maintain and grow a beautiful, smartly branded website. Prices start at $5 a month to maintain a simple cover page, an eCommerce page costs $26 a month to maintain and more complicated websites cost as much as $70 a month.