DATE: 4th September 2020
Report No.: 001
Table Of Contents
- Our Thesis
- The Basics
- What is no-code
- Marketplace Size & Growth
- No-Code for Enterprise
- Thoughts on the Future
- Get in Touch
- Invest with Us
- Additional Resources
Thank you for your interest in the Makerpad Fund. This is our first Investor Report. Should you become an investor in the Makerpad Fund, you will receive a monthly investment report about the companies we are meeting and investing in, plus a quarterly report focused more broadly on what we see in the marketplace, trends and updates. As we are pre-investment the tone of this reports is more a foundational overview of the category, the segments within it and the future possibility of it all. Please reach out if you have any questions!
We wanted to take the opportunity to expand on our investment thesis in the no-code catagory by giving you a foundational understanding of what we see in the global catagory and why we think this is such an exciting segment to be working within, focused on and investing in.
Our Fund's Thesis The next big shift in the internet revolution is 'no-code/low-code'. Many people misunderstand its meaning, but the importance of democratising software development is understood widely. We no longer code in 0's and 1's. No-code/low-code is the next abstraction layer which unlocks the potential for everyone to build on the internet. This belief has driven the creation of this fund and helped shape the way I will invest. I'm going to be investing small checks, across a wide variety of early-stage companies in the space who have a lead investor (I can also help with intro's).
We see some exciting trends in the no-code/ low-code category & that is what has lead to us wanting to build an investment fund focused purely in this space.
Software that creates an abstraction layer to make using and building with is not new. Wordpress and Shopify has spent a good part of the past decade building exactly this kind of service. What is new is the exponential growth of the kinds of software, focused areas of this software and the broad accessibility to it by anyone, anywhere. You can see a brief history of why it's taken until now here & here.
Our focus begins within this new generation of no-code/ low-code. To keep this as specific as possible we will answer three key questions: 1. What is no-code? 2. What is the market size & potential growth? 3. What's our take on the future?
What is no-code
No-code as a category is about the democratization of software development. Unlocking the potential that digitization brings to anyone that has access to a computer or a phone & the internet. No-code is not about eliminating code or engineers. It’s about making life easier for coders while opening access to everyone. It means not having to do boring, mundane, off project tasks.
It means sales/marketing/product/operations people & any founder anywhere can do it themselves (with no-code tools); No-code tools are something everyone should welcome.
From our experience working with hundreds of tools within the ecosystem and the builders and makers using them, we see that the category can be segmented into 3 sections
1) Zero-code Tools made for people who don’t know and never want to know how the software works. They just want it to work & look good.
2) No-code Tools & Software for people who are good systems thinkers & know their way around an api.
3) Low-code. Tools & Software for designer, product, founders & engineers who want to find faster, better, easier, cheaper ways to build and scale without giving up the customization that code brings.
|Segment Name||Ecosystem Tools||Marketplace|
Glide Apps, Universe, Carrd, Typeform, x.ai, Palabra, Circle, Memberspace, Memberstack, Gumroad, Loom, Repurpose, Obviously AI, Stacker
Companies in this space feel like magic. You can build a website on your mobile phone in 15 minutes or bring stripe billing to your product in a flexible dynamic way in minutes. It's simple to use, the clients get lots of support and most of the companies have vibrant communities of non-technical people helping each other.
Airtable, Zapier, Webflow, Niro, Shopify, Jetboost, Causal, Adalo, Docparcer, Coda, Internal
Not only is this space interesting and already full of companies over the $100m valuation mark – it’s fast becoming a breeding ground of ecosystems – Think what Atlasssian have done as an entire ecosystem – then apply that to the Webflow or Shopify ecosystem.
8base, Supabase, Intersectlabs, Passbase, Retool, Dashdash, Bubble Here is a comprehensive list of companies active in the low-code space
Companies like 8base offer production-ready server-less backend-as-a-service allowing you to build an incredible product/app/ anything – find PMF – understand your client base – build your revenue and then decide what your custom backend should be.
Here is a breakdown of the kinds of industry verticals these tools currently reside in.
Here is a recent tweet bridging on this breakdown that links to what some of these tools look and feel like in action!
Over the past 9 mths I've been headfirst in the no-code space with the awesome team @makerpad. Part of the projects I've worked on have allowed me to meet the founders and see the tech of more than 100 no-code/low-code platforms. Here are my thoughts on the space. Thread ⬇️
Marketplace Size & Growth
According to Forrester, in 2018 the no-code/low-code segment had a market size of $4B and is projected to grow to $21.2B by 2022. As you can see in the chart below, they estimate the CAGR will grow to be around 50%. (Source).
Gartner recognized low-code’s importance when it added a Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAP) category in 2019. Gartner estimates these systems will be used for 65% of all application development within the next five years. (Source). A noteworthy big move in this space was made by Google at the beginning of 2020 with the acquisition of Appsheet - the no-code sheet-to-app platform.
We have included some addition links at the bottom of the page for you to explore what others are saying about the space and it's further growth.
No-Code for Enterprise
The no-code/ low-code category has serious enterprise startups in play - Bryter has built the most impressive enterprise grade software that we have seen so far. As a company they have grown from 0 to 90 people team in 2 years and will probably double that again this year, with the on-boarding of clients like McDonalds & PWC.
Thoughts on the Future
We predict that in the next 5-10 years in this category there will be 7-10 +$b companies.
In addition there will be several more that will grow to the $100m+ mark, plus multiple ecosystems of rapidly growing start-ups.
Why? Quite simply because there are a lot of paying customers that need to find new dynamic ways to bring their business ideas into the digital marketplace that don't know how, and will never learn to code and that’s exactly why these tools & this marketplace exists.
Get in Touch
Invest with Us
Head directly to our fund page to join us on this journey of investing in this category, and have some detailed questions about the fund answered.
You can also read out fund memo
No-code Fund Memo
Hi! I'm Ben. I am the CEO of Makerpad-solo-founded in Jan 2019-an educational company focused on no-code/low-code technologies. I raised a small round in September 2019 from Earnest Capital, Andrew Wilkinson (Tiny), Sahil Lavingia (Founder of Gumroad), Andy McLoughlin (Uncork Capital), Ross Mason (founder of Mulesoft), Ronald Hans (founder of WeTransfer) and several others.
Here are a few articles that talk about the kind of investment that's happening in and around the category in 2020.
'No code' will define the next generation of software
It seems like every software funding and product announcement these days includes some sort of reference to "no code" platforms or functionality. The frequent callbacks to this buzzy term reflect a realization that we're entering a new software era. Similar to cloud, no code is not a category itself, but rather a shift in how users interface with software tools.
The Rise of "No Code"
I built my first website with Dreamweaver, a WYSIWYG site builder that became popular during my teenage years. I was so proud of my creation. It was ugly, but I made it. Although my silly website didn't take off as I had dreamed, it was a gateway drug to creating things on the internet.
Tracking the growth of low-code, no-code startups
Startup buzz comes in waves, with a particular thesis or focus coming into vogue at certain times. Remember the short-lived boom in chat bots? That was good fun. And there was the ICO craze, which lead every startup you've heard of to consider the financing option for at least a weekend.
The Rise of NoCode in Numbers
NoCode is not a new concept. The premise of nonprogrammers developing and maintaining applications has been around for a long time under names like Visual Programming or Rapid Application Development.
Investing in Low Code No Code Development Platforms | Madrona Venture Group
This is the third in our series describing our investment themes for 2020 and beyond. Software is eating the world, but today, most organizations have a limit on how quickly they can build software. While teams want to automate processes, get insights from their data, and build better solutions to problems, there are simply not enough people who can write software to do these things.
Why No-Code and Low-Code Software Is the Industry Disrupter You Should Pay Attention To
A massive transformation faces the software industry, similar to the disruption we've seen hit other industries like health care and manufacturing. We've already seen how Google Docs took the world by storm through free cloud-based software, forcing Microsoft to change its Office 365 business model. Cloud-based software is now the norm.
Low Code vs No Code in the Enterprise
Not many groups have to be as adaptable as enterprise software developers. In the fast-moving world of software development, every day as an education. Today's enterprise coders are most certainly familiar with DevOps, at least peripherally. But while some find the DevOps philosophy has rigid expectations, others believe that is changing.