Plebu founder Simon Marthinsen says that his company isn’t trying to solve a million problems. Rather, with its unique and intuitive new online web design system, Plebu will, in his words, help in the building of “Portfolio websites for Fortune 100,000 companies.” Initially born to address a simple problem—there was no simple tool for videographers to easily construct dedicated video portfolio websites—Plebu now aims to be the simplest, most intuitive web design tool on the Internet for small businesses.
Marthinsen is a native of Norway who moved to New Orleans to study film at UNO and founded Plebu with Sarah Repass, a New Orleans native and UNO business/marketing graduate. They have operated without raising venture capital, which Marthinsen says allows the company to be lean and focus on its product.
“We want to do less,” he says. “Our software is less complex than anything else out there.” The idea, he goes on, is to allow for photographers, videographers, and others—“We’ve had a lot of interest from restaurants,” he says—in need of portfolio-style websites to create a seamless, attractive, and mobile device-friendly online presence in mere minutes.
“The really big thing that we have with Plebu is how easy it is to use,” Marthinsen says. “Most website builders, you have a browser open, you work, and refresh. We have a floating palette in the browser, and as you’re working everything instantly updates. It’s very, very responsive in that way. It’s fun to use because you get instant gratification.”
Plebu’s real-time and responsive system does indeed make web design incredibly simple. Using the early test version of Plebu it’s possible to create a full photography portfolio in literally a few minutes, using the site’s intuitive palette to establish basic layout and design features while seamlessly pulling existing photos and videos from any popular social media platform. The content is displayed immediately and is smoothly displayed on the existing page. The effect enables the site to mimic the look and feel of a native app regardless of whether it’s being displayed on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or other mobile device.
“And we do not use templates,” Marthinsen says. “We have design layouts, but they’re for general tool placement. The content and the look is all yours. What we’re using is best practice layouts of where things should be. We use what we call smart defaults, with no unnecessarily complicated preference page for options.”
Users will register their desired domain name with a separate domain registrar and sign up for an inexpensive plan with Plebu that Marthinsen says will run about $12 a month, and which includes web hosting. “A user can expect that from the time they sign up with Plebu,” he says, “to the time they exit with a working page, it will take an hour or less.”