Developer-First Headless CMS and Application Framework

Payload is a developer-first headless CMS and application framework built to finally give developers a better choice in the world of CMS. From documentation to design, Payload is crafted from the ground-up to save engineers time and effort while building the backend and admin panel for websites, native apps, ecommerce, SaaS, and any other product that needs to manage content. Payload is changing the CMS status quo—working to give developers the tools they want to build the CMS they need, all in clean and well-structured code. Learn more at https://payloadcms.com.

Team Size:3
Location:Grand Rapids, MI
Group Partner:Dalton Caldwell

Active Founders

James Mikrut

James Mikrut is the founder and CEO of Payload CMS. He plays a leading role in shaping the future and vision of Payload, and is responsible for product design, marketing initiatives, and user experience design. He has been a full-stack engineer for over a decade, and has also founded the digital design agency TRBL, where he leads a team of user experience designers and full-stack TypeScript developers.

James Mikrut
James Mikrut

Elliot DeNolf

Elliot DeNolf is founder and CTO of Payload CMS. He has worked extensively in design, development, and delivery of large, distributed, back-end services. His specializations include resilient, high-availability web services, containerization technologies, and CI/CD pipelines.

Elliot DeNolf
Elliot DeNolf

Dan Ribbens

Dan Ribbens is founder and COO of Payload CMS, the best TypeScript CMS for developers. He has focused on database engineering and developer experience. While at Payload and throughout his career Dan has served as a senior developer, team lead, and architect for dozens of software teams. Dan earned his Masters in Computer Science at GVSU in 2013 and worked as a freelance consultant prior to Payload.

Dan Ribbens
Dan Ribbens

Company Launches

Hey YC,

James, Dan, and Elliot here. We’re three full-stack TypeScript devs that got tired of feeling like second-class citizens when it comes to content management systems—so we built Payload.

Payload is a truly dev-first, headless content management system aimed sharply at giving engineers the best development experience possible in a noisy ecosystem of tools that often disregard the importance of quality, clean, extensible code.

The Problem

To developers, “content management system” is a swear word.

  • Devs want to build cutting-edge products that are structured effectively to deliver elegant solutions to their business needs.
  • Modern teams want to write code in modern languages like TypeScript and React, but most CMS are built with legacy tech and have lasted long past their shelf life.
  • You will often hit roadblocks with other CMS, and many SaaS options “black-box” functionality away, meaning developers can never truly own their own code.
  • Devs often undervalue the power that a good CMS could represent. Even web and native apps generally need to manage “content”, like orders, requests, users, profiles, and more—but often, developers roll their own systems for these apps. Time is wasted and the wheel is reinvented from scratch every time.

Building a project that needs a CMS shouldn’t be a dreaded task for modern developers.

Payload is...

A CMS that is obsessed with giving engineers the best developer experience possible to build out APIs and admin UI. It catapults developers' efficiency and value by delivering an extensible REST and GraphQL API as well as a beautiful React admin panel for non-technical users to manage content—all in TypeScript.

From docs to design, it's staunchly code-first, but uncompromising in admin experience. Developers finally have a tool to deliver their admins with a CMS that is beautiful, minimal, extensible, and usable. It can power the backend for websites of all sizes, ecommerce, SaaS, native apps, and more.

Tech specs:

What customers say

  • "This product is a developer's dream come true in the world of CMS." - Developer, NYC, USA - 12 Oct 2021
  • "CMS used to be something dreadful, now it's starting to feel right." - Developer, London, UK - 31 Mar 2021
  • “Started looking into headless CMS options... Payload was a clear winner.” - Developer, Berlin, Germany - 24 June 2021

Who we are

We're three full-stack engineers that have built digital projects with existing CMS for over a decade—including enterprise websites for big names like Klarna. We knew what we wanted, but also intimately knew it didn't exist—so we built it.

Ask for YC

Have a GitHub account? Stop by our repo and give us a star!

If you're building a digital product that needs to manage content, give Payload a shot by running npx create-payload-app.

Do we provide the features and the experience that your dev team is looking for? We'd love to know what you think.

Find us online