No overnight successes
It feels like all of these no-code companies are breaking out of the woodwork suddenly. I get emails every day asking me to try the latest shiny tool. But when we look at the tools that broke out – Airtable
etc. – they are all years in the making (something must have been in the air in 2012 because they all share that founding year). Even Parabola which feels like it’s finally getting wind under its wings was founded in 2015. 4 years ago. That’s ages in the tech world. There are no overnight successes in the no-code space.
Fundraising was scarce, now potentially plentiful
If we look at the companies I mentioned above, they’ve collectively raised very little money. Webflow
were all profitable companies. Webflow took in a 72M series A after years of profitability and Bubble received a 6.25M seed round after bootstrapping since 2012. With the exception of Airtable
, no-code companies have raised very little venture capital. Accel partner Arun Matthew at NoCodeConf
said that no-code is the next platform shift so clearly, the tide may be turning. Expect VC money to flood in in 2020.
Gaming aside, no-code tools for mobile app won’t take off
Given Webflow’s success in abstracting front-end development on the web, it should seem obvious a mobile equivalent is coming. There are some contenders: Bubble
. I think it won’t be that easy. Mobile is a completely different beast from the web. The biggest challenge on mobile is distribution.
How do you convince people to download your application? There is no good discovery process for mobile applications. Not to mention that Apple takes a 30% cut on any transaction
. It doesn’t mean that mobile app builders can’t be successful—just not to the extent Webflow has with the web. I expect there to be a lot of niche apps and apps built for internal company use cases built without code but none that hit the top 10 in app stores. One place where no-code can make a real dent in mobile is games. Mobile games account for the majority of new app downloads. They also don’t necessarily need to be extremely sophisticated (Fruit Ninja anyone?). BuildBox is super well positioned here (and they’ve just launched a free version
today). Apps built on BuildBox have reached top 10 status on the App store. In 2020, I expect more no-code mobile game to have that success.
Automation will be part of every SaaS product
, Salesforce and Typeform
all have basic automations built into their product. Learning new applications is difficult. Having to use a third party tool like Zapier to connect them to the applications you already use is another hurdle. Therefore, I expect more and more tools to embed automations natively to increase adoption. Who’s going to power those connections? Tray with Embedded
looks to be the only connector to offer white labeling.
This will be the last Automate All the Things of 2019.
I want to take the next couple of weeks to record an online class on no-code automation (Zapier, Integromat, Parabola). If you want to learn no-code automation and don’t mind providing feedback on an unfinished product reply to this email or email me!