No-code 101

- no-code

I think there are a four sub-areas under the umbrella of no-code:

1. App-builders for wantrapreneurs.

While there are some questions around how scalable these platforms are, for founders trying to find PMF, no-code is right now a much more resourceful/efficient approach than teaching yourself to code or hiring a developer. Even coders will use these as a faster way to test an idea.

A couple of fast-growing startups here are Bubble (a full-stack no-code dev platform that I used for my EdTech app) and Webflow (loved by designers). Others like Pory and Glide (see below) allow you to quickly create a front-end from a simple, user-friendly database (e.g. Google Sheet or Airtable).

2. App-builders for enterprise.

Two big names here are Unqork and Glide Apps. Unqork has a primer on no-code that might be useful. I imagine there are more companies in this area with industry focus (e.g. fintech) that I haven’t heard of here.

3. Internal tools for automations/operations/data.

Zapier and Integromat are two prominent names. They basically allow you to zip data to and fro databases, websites, and wherever else you need it very easily. I actually used Zapier extensively at EquityNet for marketing analytics, without realizing what a remarkable company it was becoming. Also Airtable (and its new competitor Rows). Both are what I’d call great “spreadsheet+” products for a ton of different use cases for which Excel/Sheets don’t suffice.

Note: Many startups rely heavily on 1 & 3. Here’s an essay that bullishly expands on the topic. Definitely could have run EquityNet using a combination of these tools without developer involvement. Most impressive story I know straddling these areas is Otter. The founder built the company up to a seed round (featuring some big shots) basically on her own using no-code tools - no CTO or engineers.

4. Tools for developers.

While the other categories largely help non-developers do without developers, this category is about giving developers more leverage day-to-day. Here’s an interesting thread from a VC at Greylock on the topic. Two hot startups in this space are WorkOS and Retool.