This piece is part of a series highlighting local business growth in the Ann Arbor area. It is supported by Ann Arbor SPARK.
If you've ever visited a small business' website and received a pop-up notification that the site is not secure, you've seen the struggle small businesses face when creating a website without professional help. Ann Arbor tech startup Jottful is aiming to offer those businesses a solution.
Over two years ago, Jottful founder Dawn Verbrigghe noticed that small businesses had two options when creating websites – either pay high prices to hire an agency to create the site, or use do-it-yourself software like Wix or Squarespace.
Both solutions have major drawbacks. Once an agency creates a site, it's difficult for business owners to update the content themselves. DIY sites often aren't very secure and take a lot of time to maintain.
In November 2017, Verbrigghe decided to create a platform that would meet small business owners' needs. Jottful's software provides a solution that is less expensive than agencies and less time-intensive than using site builders like Wix.
"We built the software to quickly create a site," Verbrigghe says. "We can launch (sites) in a week. There's no backend or code required. We wanted to make this as simple as possible (for business owners)."
Jottful will be adding to its three-person team with up to a dozen new hires during 2019. The company just completed the Desai Accelerator program at the University of Michigan, where it also secured its first investors. Jottful is also partnering with other consulting and service businesses to offer packages to clients along with their software.
Verbrigghe says Jottful has an opportunity to reach a wide variety of small businesses. She says many of these businesses don't have websites, and she hopes to help business owners reach more customers online.
"Our target market is massive," Verbrigghe says. "We hope to expand internationally in two to three years."
Emily Benda is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Jottful.