The case for a codeless software company
Flexibility, Speed, and Freedom
It is not a coincidence I start with this point – Any new startup has the mission of finding a scalable business model through trial, error, and iteration. The traditional approach is to build an MVP (minimum viable product) with a small initial team and iterate on that. This works for a while, but soon enough the capacity of your team starts to limit your delivery speed and freedom. At every step, you need to make a choice between quick delivery and long-term viability. Over time, this catches up with you, with more and more time being spent on code refactoring and improving basic infrastructure.
True freedom is achieved by building your software company on a trusted platform. First off, you are faster to launch due to inbuilt components such as authentication, encryption, access controls, and workflow engine. Then, more importantly, the true freedom comes when you need to adjust your product, since a great, technically-sound platform already has considered almost all future business needs, enabling you to freely adjust and extend in any direction safely.
Being able to adapt your product over the weekend to match a new customer requirement and launch it on Monday without the fear that everything will fall apart – that is true freedom.
The True Cost of Software
Sceptics of the codeless approach also argue that developing your solution in-house makes more financial sense, since you own it after a one-off investment, as opposed to going codeless, which requires you pay an ongoing licence fee. However, the reality is a bit different.
With an in-house solution, you first need to make the initial investment for the MVP, then you additionally need to change it until it matches the market need. But it doesn’t stop there – as more customers come onboard, the system needs to be updated, refactored, and adjusted to market needs. This means that there is an ongoing investment to keep the system up to date. On top of that, necessary updates are often unpredictable; at some point, new features are required, at other points, a patch is needed, and, of course, certain clients need customizations.
With the codeless approach, you do have an ongoing licence fee, but it is almost always lower than all of the product investments that come up with developing and maintaining an in-house solution. Moreover, the licence fee is straightforward and predictable.
This one is easy. The safest code is the code you don’t write but get from a trusted source that has been battle-tested over and over.
Don’t Forget the Investors and the Valuation
It is true that for a long time, investors have insisted that they only invest in startups with in-house tech teams. But this is changing – investors are more and more open to platform and No-Code based solutions. For example, two years ago, Y-combinator removed the requirement for an in-house software team.
When it comes to building investors’ interest in your software startup, you really need to show that you have control over two things:
- Freedom: The previous alternative to an in-house team was to work with an agency. This would eat up time, flexibility, and money, hindering the startup from reaching product market fit. As mentioned in point 1 above, a good platform gives you more freedom than an internal team.
- Intellectual Property: Of course, it sounds nice to own your tech-stack. But the truth is that startups end up having to integrate various other solutions and ultimately seek to implement as little as possible themselves. Codeless software companies just take that one step further. The truth is that Traction, Market Fit, and Margin are the key points that influence investment – these three factors trump any IP discussion.