Blog Domain Reseller News

Serving 185,000 customers by keeping it simple

0 min read
Image not found

What happens when two enterprising computer science IT students sit together, armed only with a laptop and a WiFi connection? In the case of Roel and his co-founder, Wouter, it’s the birth of JouwWeb, a company with roots in an idea they had as teenagers – that has grown from a student concept into a global player championing smart, lean business and automation.

From curiosity to concept

Roel’s entrepreneurial spirit ignited not behind the counter of a grocery store in a typical Saturday job but at the keyboard of his computer. As a teenager, he started building websites for local businesses. Yet, Roel quickly noticed a pattern – the work was repetitive.  Every webpage has a contact page, a static, ‘about us’ page. He couldn’t shake the feeling that there had to be a better way than him doing this personally. He loved to build but he didn’t necessarily want to keep updating the content on the page itself. The business owners are the ones who know what to put on the site – why not hand it over to them once it’s built?

This idea, nurtured in his early years, was the cornerstone of what would become JouwWeb.

From university collaboration to media spotlight

Fast forward to university, where Roel, pursuing computer science, crossed paths with his future technical co-founder. In 2008-09, JouwWeb was born out of their combined expertise—one technical, the other product-oriented. They shared a common goal: to make web creation self-service, accessible, and user-friendly. This initiative didn’t just attract customers; it caught the attention of newspapers and TV, shining a spotlight on their innovative approach.

The leap to entrepreneurship

In 2013, Roel and Wouter set their sights on JouwWeb full-time. They rented an office in the bustling Strijp-S in Eindhoven hired their first employees… and guess what? The student company slowly but steadily grew into a successful, international website builder. Roel and his co-founder took a significant leap of faith. They chose to bootstrap their company, steering clear of outside venture capital and relying solely on the revenue they generated. This was a pivotal moment, marking their transition from a free, ad-driven website service to a subscription-based SaaS model. With a growing team that started with just three people, including their first employee, they were on their way to making a mark in the web hosting industry.

Small business, big heart

JouwWeb’s heart beats for the small entrepreneur. Roel holds a firm belief that these businesses enrich the world, not the large corporations. JouwWeb zeroes in on those with bright ideas but not necessarily the resources for an extravagant online presence. It’s about providing exposure without the hefty price tag, ensuring that small business owners are empowered to take control. This commitment to small businesses is reflected in the way Roel reminisces about his hometown’s local cheese shop, which now boasts a JouwWeb-created website. It’s a testament to the company’s impact — one that’s measured not just in numbers but in community presence.

Dedicated to helping small business owners worldwide

This rapid growth has now helped more than 185,000 small business owners worldwide improve their findability online. JouwWeb’s website builder is now available in no fewer than 10 languages. Their dedicated team of 30 people works every day to help small business owners worldwide build a website they can be proud of. JouwWeb’s donation of £50,000 to Village Enterprise, an organization that focuses on empowering vulnerable women through entrepreneurship, supports aspiring small business owners in East Africa.

Automation 2.0 enhancing a customer-first philosophy 

JouwWeb’s customer-centric philosophy is reflected in their impressive Trustpilot score of 9.5. Roel and his team have made simplicity their hallmark; if you can create a document in Word, you can build a website with JouwWeb. A significant achievement in their service is the integration of AI, which addresses the dreaded ‘blank page syndrome’ by suggesting and creating entire website pages. This innovation drastically reduces the time and effort required by users to establish their online presence, allowing business owners to concentrate on what they do best—their business.

Key takeaways and growth

Reflecting on the advice he’s received and lived by, Roel emphasizes two principles: “Hire when it hurts” and “Keep it simple.” These guidelines have undoubtedly influenced the lean and automated approach that JouwWeb has mastered over the years. Now, with a customer base of 185,000 and counting, Roel is extremely proud of the impact his company has had with a relatively small team, bringing him joy every single day.

.. it’s just the sheer impact that we have with such a small team that gives me joy every day….

In 2020, JouwWeb launched Webador, making their website builder and help center available in multiple languages. Their dedication to quality and service has earned them awards like Technology Deloitte’s Fast 50 for the last five years, and they have been rated excellent on Trustpilot.

Advice for aspiring tech entrepreneurs

For those looking to embark on their own journey in the tech industry, Roel’s advice is grounded in his experience. Start with simplicity and focus on the problem you’re solving. Grow your team when necessary, but not before you feel the pinch. Above all, let your passion for the mission drive you forward.

A vision realized

Roel’s story is not just about the success of a company; it’s a testament to the power of a clear vision, unwavering dedication, and the ability to adapt and grow. From a 13-year-old’s hobby to a leading web hosting service, Roel’s journey with JouwWeb is an inspirational tale for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere.

Subscribe to our newsletter

What are you waiting for?

Create an account today - it’s fast and free