At that time, WP Rocket was entering unproven territory as the first major caching plugin to launch with a 100% commercial model. Could the plugin succeed in a market dominated by free caching solutions like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache?
WP Rocket has the numbers to prove that WordPress users are willing to pay for an easy-to-configure solution to site optimization. In February, the 100% bootstrapped company published a transparency report showing that the product was now active on 15,000+ websites and averaging $35K in monthly revenue. Six months later, the plugin is now active on more than 32,000 websites. From July 2014 – July 2015, WP Rocket reports that the company pulled in a total of $351,097 in revenue.
WP Rocket has been successful in identifying ways to stand out among established competitors. During our initial tests of the plugin, we found that it took under a minute to configure caching for a small blogging site using its simple, basic settings panel. Without even touching the more advanced options, such as DNS prefetching and file exclusions, we were able to reduce the page size and load time by roughly 50%.
Inspired by a recent three-month stay in San Francisco, WP Rocket developers and co-founders Jonathan Buttigieg and Jean-Baptiste Marchand-Arvier are now working to diversify their product offerings.
“WP Rocket will be one product among others from our startup and not the only one,” Marchand-Arvier said. “We want to have a portfolio of products and not depend on only one.”
To that end, the company is dipping its toes into multiple potentially welcoming revenue streams, including plugins, themes, and SaaS.
“For the past few months, Julio has been working on a security plugin,” Marchand-Arvier said. “This is going to be a great challenge for us as we experiment with a freemium model for the first time, and because there are great competitors in the space, like WordFence and iThemes Security.
WP Rocket currently has a dedicated team working on Imagify, an image compression toolkit and their first SaaS venture. The company also plans to enter the theme market with its own shop.
“We want to take on that huge challenge which will be very different compared to selling a plugin,” Marchand-Arvier said.
WP Rocket’s founders believe that building a strong company culture will be one of the key factors to their continued success.
“To work in a mostly remote team can create a lack of human connection,” Marchand-Arvier said. “That’s why we’ve decided to organize a ‘startup retreat’ every year.” This decision was inspired by the founders’ 2014 trip to explore Silicon Valley, a pivotal event that changed the way they approached business in the WordPress ecosystem.
“This [trip] transformed three guys who were selling a WordPress plugin into a Startup of eight people (today) with a strong company culture,” he said.
If the success of WP Rocket’s caching plugin is any indication, WordPress users should be on the lookout for the company to bring a new twist into other existing product niches. Momentum is running high on their currently incubating projects with Imagify on track to launch in the upcoming weeks.