Website builder Squarespace buys Tock, the reservation platform that pivoted to help restaurants during the pandemic, for over $400 million

GettyImages 523558916 Nick Kokonas
Nick Kokonas, founder of Tock

  • Tock is a restaurant reservation system known for processing prepaid premium dining experiences.
  • Squarespace said e-commerce within the hospitality industry is a large and growing opportunity.
  • Tock’s founder Nick Kokonas created the platform as an antidote to OpenTable.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tock, a restaurant reservation system known for booking prepaid premium dining experiences, has been purchased by Squarespace for more than $400 million, the website builder announced late Wednesday.

“E-commerce within the restaurant and hospitality industries is a large and growing market opportunity,” Anthony Casalena, Squarespace founder and CEO, said in a statement. “I’ve long admired Tock’s vision to reimagine how reservation-based businesses connect with their customers.”

Tock was founded by Nick Kokonas, co-owner of The Alinea Group, which operates fine dining restaurants in Chicago including the Michelin-starred Alinea.

Read More: As delivery exploded during the pandemic, these 5 startups offered restaurants alternatives to DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub and their hefty fees

Kokonas, a well-known critic of third-party reservation systems like OpenTable, created an early iteration of Tock a decade ago to reduce losses tied to last-minute no-shows. In 2019, he told trade publication Restaurant Hospitality that he was losing $800,000 a year from cancellations and no-shows.

Tock required prepaid reservations. In 2014, he opened Tock’s prepaid reservation system to other restaurants. Eventually, Tock expanded its platform to more directly compete with Resy and OpenTable by adding standard no-fee reservations and table management for restaurants.

During the pandemic, Tock launched Tock to Go, which allows restaurants to handle takeout orders without relying on third-party delivery platforms.

“We realized that the only option for any type of restaurant, even the fine-dining ones, was carry-out operations,” Kokonas told Insider in a previous interview.

Tock added carry-out and delivery options, take-home experiences, vouchers for future reservations, and groceries.

Read More: The pandemic caused the restaurant industry to radically reinvent itself in less than a year. Experts say these 4 trends will remain even after COVID-19 recedes

Today, Tock works with more than 7,000 restaurants, wineries, galleries, farms, boutiques, and even car dealerships. To date, Tock has processed over $1 billion in prepaid experiences.

In a statement, Kokonas said Squarespace and Tock share the same mission of delivering “a best-in-class solution to millions of entrepreneurs and small businesses around the world.”

Earlier this month, Squarespace raised about $300 million in its latest funding round, valuing the website building and hosting company at $10 billion. The raise comes less than two months after the company confidentially filed paperwork for a US stock market listing, according to Reuters.

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Website-building company Squarespace confidentially files to go public

Squarespace founder Anthony Casalena speaks at the unveiling of the Knicks' jersey sponsorship with Squarespace at Madison Square Garden on October 10, 2017 in New York City.
Squarespace founder Anthony Casalena.

  • Squarespace announced Wednesday it had confidentially filed for a stock-market listing.
  • It didn’t say whether it would go public through an IPO or a direct listing.
  • The website-building company was last valued at $1.7 billion in December 2017.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

New York-based Squarespace announced Wednesday it had confidentially submitted paperwork for a stock-market listing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The website building and hosting company didn’t specify whether it would go public through a direct listing or an initial public offering (IPO).

Squarespace didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read more: This actively managed SPAC ETF amassed $60 million assets within a month of launching. Its founder breaks down how to pick blank-check firms – and shares 3 to watch in 2021.

Squarespace was last valued at $1.7 billion in December 2017, when growth-equity firm General Atlantic invested $200 million in the platform, adding to the $40 million it invested in 2014, according to Crunchbase.

Squarespace makes software for people to build and host websites using pre-made templates and other features. It costs $16 per month, or $12 per month if you buy an annual subscription.

The company, which has a total of 1,143 employees, was founded in 2003 by CEO Anthony Casalena in his dorm room at the University of Maryland, according to the website.

It says that millions of websites have been created on the platform.

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What is Carrd? Everything you need to know about the simple website-building platform

young creative entrepreneur making website selling online
Carrd can be used for business websites, personal portfolios, product landing pages, and more.

  • Carrd is a site-building platform, like SquareSpace or WordPress, that’s been getting increasingly popular within the past year.
  • Carrd sets itself apart from other sites by specializing in building one-page websites.
  • Nearly all of its features are free to use, and it has many possible uses. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Lately, you may have heard about a new platform called Carrd. Simply put, Carrd is a website-building platform, much like Squarespace or WordPress. The big difference between Carrd and other sites, though, is that Carrd is optimized to create simple, one-page websites, which makes it much easier to use.

People often use Carrd to display their portfolio, or promote a cause that’s important to them. 

What you need to know about Carrd

There are myriad uses for small websites. Carrd suggests a handful of website types, which are helpfully arranged in different layout templates. They include: 

  • Profile – Good for making a personal information page to tell others about yourself, likely to market yourself to employers or collaborators. 
  • Landing – For things like products, services, apps, and the like. Landing pages make it easy to explain what something is, how it works, and where to get it.
  • Forms – Good for businesses interacting with current or potential customers. Forms can do things like collect emails, conduct surveys, etc.
  • Portfolio – Sort of like a profile, but specifically for visual artists, as it’s meant to show off art and graphics.
  • Sectioned – These Carrds are different from the other categories. They’re like a halfway point between a one-page website and a site with multiple pages. They’re still one page, but they’re sectioned off into different categories – perfect for people looking to disseminate information on a topic, especially a complex one.

On top of these uses, many people have been using Carrd for other things. For example, some writers use it to help outline their stories, using the Sectioned format to help them keep track of characters, world-building elements, plot points, and more. 

One popular use of the Sectioned layout is for online activists to raise awareness and spread information about causes, such as the Carrd site for Black Lives Matter. These sites often include donation buttons or links to organizations that help these causes. 

The best part is that most of the site’s features are free to use. There are a few that you can only access by upgrading to a paid version, like the ability to use forms or third-party widgets, but these extras are mostly aimed at business using Carrd as a homebase – most users can get along without these.

The possible uses of Carrd are limited only by the imagination, and the site is very easy to use. If you’re interested in creating a Carrd yourself, and want to find out more, check out our article on how to make a Carrd

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