Doug Pepper and Elizabeth Mossessian | July 28, 2021
Sanity: Powering Exceptional Digital Experiences Everywhere
Nearly 15 years ago, the introduction of the iPhone ushered in a new era of the web that would forever change the delivery of online content. Gone were the days of read-only, static sites available purely for information consumption. Today, we consume content through more channels and devices than ever before, from smartphones to smartwatches, digital billboards, VR headsets and gaming consoles. As content formats have grown more complex and omnichannel personalization has become key to engagement, companies must deliver content faster and across numerous digital channels. Enter a new era of web architecture: headless content management, a way to create and share content decoupled from a specific output, like a website. Rather than requiring the creator to pre-designate the output (the “head”), the content can be presented on any delivery system – from watches to digital restaurant menus – via APIs.
This paradigm shift in technology has driven a change in the way people and organizations create and manage content for maximum engagement. With distractions everywhere, brands must communicate with their customers in compelling ways that are highly personal, responsive and nimble, across all channels. The ability to deliver such exceptional, personalized digital product experiences requires close collaboration across both product and marketing teams.
In 2018, Magnus Hillestad, Simen Skogsrud, Even Westvang and Øyvind Rostad founded Sanity, a unified content platform, to meet the new demands of this omnichannel era of content delivery. Their goal is for Sanity to power superior digital product experiences and enable organizations to redefine their digital customer interactions. Since launch, the team has attracted nearly 100,000 developers, marketers, content creators and product professionals, and has supported the creation of customer-facing digital initiatives for organizations like Unilever, InVision, Datastax, National Geographic, Puma, Cornerstone OnDemand, Condé Nast and Brex.
When our team at ICONIQ Growth first met the founders, we saw several standout qualities that enabled us to quickly build conviction in the company’s vision for reinventing content management.
Moving Beyond Headless: While headless content management has risen in popularity, we believe Sanity’s approach goes beyond the traditional offerings of headless. Sanity takes a developer-oriented, programmatic approach to managing content as structured data. By storing content (images, rich text, etc.) as data in the Sanity Content Lake – Sanity’s real-time database for structured content – organizations can unify their content and benefit from having a single source or record of truth. This ultimately enables teams to minimize manual processes, iterate upon various content types faster and build more creative digital experiences.
Creating the Ultimate Developer Experience: We believe Sanity was truly “built to be built on,” as they describe their platform. Sanity Studio’s open-source, customizable standalone editor built in React enables quick configuration and integrations with other sources of data leveraged in an organization. The platform’s extensible nature allows developers to build out free form customization using the ecosystem of tooling and plugins they prefer and with which they’re most comfortable. Sanity also seeks to ensure that developers can easily access document revision history, define and customize content models, and scale up seamlessly through the platform’s fully-managed and compliant cloud-hosted database for content. And as developers increasingly hold the keys to the adoption of new technology solutions in organizations, Sanity’s developer-oriented approach is reflected in Sanity’s global Slack community of thousands of developers who rely on each other and exchange best practices daily.
Breaking Down Silos: Sanity was built on the belief that real-time collaboration across product and marketing teams, traditionally siloed by monolithic approaches, is essential to address the need for creative and rapid content delivery. The platform’s API logic to creating programmable, decentralized and single-source content allows teams across different parts of an organization to come together and easily collaborate on the same content. Sanity’s flexible nature also allows teams to build custom workflows optimal for that organization, enabling efficient content editing and delivery processes. The ability to connect product managers, marketers, developers and content strategists across an organization is core to Sanity’s vision for unifying both content and teams.
Building the Dream Team: Beyond product, it is the thoughtfulness, ambition and energy of the team at Sanity that ultimately drew us in. Sanity is underpinned by a core set of values that guide its deep product focus, customer centricity and team culture. Throughout our interactions with Sanity’s highly product-oriented and mission-driven founding team, it became apparent that trust is fundamental to Sanity’s product. Sanity is dual-headquartered in Oslo and San Francisco with remote team members located on several continents. As the team continues to rapidly grow, Sanity’s deep-seated company values, publicly shared on the company’s blog, unify the team.
Companies across all types of industries are shifting to content delivery platforms that enable seamless editing experiences, true developer flexibility and real-time collaboration as they manage increasingly complex content for multiple digital channels. ICONIQ Growth is thrilled to partner with Magnus, Simen, Even, and the entire Sanity team as they power people and organizations to scale and launch exceptional digital experiences everywhere.