Softr, a no-code platform for building business apps on Airtable data, raises $13.5M

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The burgeoning no-code/low-code movement shows few signs of slowing down, with companies across all industry sectors looking for ways to increase productivity by enabling anyone to build software through visual dashboards by compared to traditional code-based programming.

One company looking to capitalize on this trend is Softer, a no-code web app building platform that launched a year ago and has attracted over 35,000 business customers and builders. The German company announced today that it has raised $13.5 million in a Series A funding round, as it sets out to build what it calls “the largest ecosystem in the world. world for building apps without code”.

Go without code

Unlike popular template-based web building platforms such as Wix or Squarespace, which are more focused on static websites, Softr is all about enabling feature-rich, interactive, and content-filled web applications. CRUD (create, read, update, delete) operations and access controls around authentication, roles and permissions in business and consumer applications.

With Softr, anyone can transform their business data and manual workflows into custom applications, spanning marketplaces, online communities, internal tools, customer portals, directories, and more. But to do so, they must be active users of air table, the popular business collaboration tool that sits somewhere between a spreadsheet and a database.

Above: Softr can be used to create markets for anything

In truth, there are countless similar-sounding tools already out there, from heavily VC-backed Webflow to new entrants such as Stacker, Retool, Appian, Google Application sheet, from Amazon honey code …the list goes on.

So what is Softr’s heart purpose, in a field seemingly overflowing with options?

“Softr introduces a fundamentally different approach to building custom applications,” Mariam Hakobyan, CEO of Softr, told VentureBeat. “Its unique approach is the Lego-like building experience and out-of-the-box business logic – instead of building the apps pixel by pixel, it lets you build it like Lego.”

Indeed, Softr constitutes building blocks, each block representing a “logical piece” of the application. This includes frontend functionality, business logic, and backend tools including authentication, payments, charts, lists, calendars, and more. the Kanban block, as you’d expect, allows users to view Airtable data in a Kanban board layout.

Above: Softr: A Kanban block

With this approach, Hakobyan said Softr cracked up “the golden middle”, which eases the process of developing web applications without compromising functionality.

“Any business user can create customer portals, internal tools and dashboards in 30 minutes, with no learning curve, powered by their data,” she said. “This approach also makes all apps built with Softr automatically responsive and work perfectly on mobile and tablet, which is a problem on all other platforms without code and must be built from scratch.”

But what if a company doesn’t use Airtable? Well, for now that would be a hurdle, but Softr plans to become a “data source agnostic” platform, with support for additional sources like Google Sheets, relational databases, REST APIs, etc.

show me the money

Founded in Berlin in 2019, Softr previously raised a small seed round of $2.2 million, and for its Series A the company ushered in a slew of institutional and angel investors, including lead backer FirstMark Capital. , AtlanticLabs and co-founder of Wunderlist. Christian Reber. The company said that in addition to expanding its datasource support, it also plans to expand Softr beyond its own platform by creating a template marketplace that lets anyone build apps. in the form of a model and sell them. Additionally, Softr also plans to launch a component marketplace allowing anyone to find and reuse community-created third-party components.

At first glance, Softr and his ilk may seem better suited to smaller companies with fewer resources, but the truth is that a wider engineering shortage means that even the biggest companies must use their talent strategically, which which means allowing non-technical employees — from marketing to operations — to build their own apps.

“We are facing an engineering talent shortage, technology is changing faster than education and skills, and companies need to digitize their operations and processes to be on par with the competition, especially in the age of the COVID-19,” Hakobyan said. “Engineers’ valuable time is spent creating the company’s core product, and business teams such as sales, marketing, operations, customer success are left behind and have no way to create and use the tools they need to do their jobs internally or externally.”

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