Appcues grabs $32M in Series B Funding Round

When the innovative platform for improving user onboarding launched about eight years ago, it asked the question: “Why can you build a website in minutes, but getting something live in your product takes weeks?”. Today, Appcues has raised $32M in a Series B investment round to finally answer it.

Appcues as a User Onboarding Tool

The No Code platform enables users to create customized onboarding experiences within the digital products they create for their customers.

Controlled via a Google Chrome extension, events can be set up to activate when certain users reach milestones within an app or a website. Users can be segmented based on certain attributes (like country, job position, etc.), or behaviour (using certain elements of the app)[1].

The effectiveness of onboarding campaigns can be tracked via an integrated tracking tool called Events Explorer.

What Led Appcues to the Investment Round

Co-founder Jackson Noel met the team behind NewSpring Capital (the firm leading the round together with Accomplice, Sierra Ventures and Columbia Partners) in 2019. As some of the portfolio companies of NewSpring Capital started using Appcues, the enthusiasm for the platform grew within the fund. In the end, they decided to invest in the company themselves[3].

The company has raised $48M dollars in total so far and is valued at around $200M-300M[2].

Appcues Milestones

The tool currently has over 1500 customers that have created over 1.8 billion custom experiences for their users so far.

Major customers include Kaplan, Zapier, Vidyard, Lyft and FullStory.

Having originally been based in a physical office in Boston, the firm is currently operating on a fully-remote basis and has employees in 22 states and 12 countries.

the UI of Appcues, a No Code user onboarding tool
The UI of Appcues

Post-Funding Strategy

Jackson Noel has outlined three main directions for the company moving forward.

Expanding the Team

The first of these directions is focusing on the team behind the project, both further training existing employees and expanding the company's marketing, development, sales and product departments.

Improving the Product

Appcues is committed to creating the best customer experience possible for their customers and has promised to focus on making their product a more integral part of the customers' products. In addition, J. Noel mentioned that his teams will move faster across the board and will adopt a product-led approach.

Sharing Knowledge

The final direction for the company will be to continue the efforts started with the User Onboarding Academy, a crash course on user onboarding created by the founders of Appcues.

The firm will continue sharing their extensive knowledge on product strategy, UX design, product-led growth and adoption.

No Code Platform Abstra Raises $2.3M

In our article 2021: What Happened in No Code, we mentioned how the increasing number of No Code startups in YCombinator, one of the most famous business accelerators in the world, is promising a promising future for the whole industry. Sure enough, one of these ventures, Abstra, has taken a huge step and secured a funding round of $2.3M[1] at the beginning of 2022.

The No Code platform was a participant of YCombinator's spring batch in 2021, which is a well-known breeding ground for promising startups. Less than a year later, the company raised $2.3M of funding in an investment round led by SoftBank Latin America Fund. In addition to SoftBank, Iporanga, Alexia Ventures and a few other unidentified investors have contributed to the round.

The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed a lot to the company's success, as the demand for software has drastically increased when quarantines were introduced worldwide and companies put more importance on their online presence.

With the world's developers being overbooked as everyone wanted a website/app, the natural solution was putting developing capabilities in the hands of citizen developers with the help of No Code.

Image of Bruno Viera Costa, the founder of Abstra
Bruno Viera Costa, founder of Abstra. Image credits: B. V. Costa

Abstra, established in 2020, was in the right place, at the right time. The firm made a pitch for funding to a consulting firm called Accenture, because the founder of Abstra, Bruno Vieira Costa, had indirect connections working there. Long story short, Accenture became one of the first customers of Abstra.

The No Code platform boasts MRR that is growing by 45% on average, has 10 employees[2] and 11 customers, comprised of StoneCo, the aforementioned Accenture, and Descomplica. Interestingly enough, Descomplica previously acquired Costa's previous venture, an edtech firm called PaperX.

As a No Code platform, the goal of Abstra is to democratize software development and make it accessible to more people. The company's focus is on organizations that develop digital solutions as their core business: IT consulting companies (such as Accenture) and growing tech companies (like StoneCo).

the UI of Abstra, a No Code tool
Image credits: Abstra

According to the company's founder, No Code tools available today are either too technical or too limited in their capabilities, while Abstra will aim to be somewhere in the middle, with a platform that is both "easy to use and flexible".

Bruno Vieira Costa surely knows how to make a company successful. He founded Sinextra, a video game development studio even before he went to college. Bruno did not waste time in college too - he founded the aforementioned edtech startup PaperX and managed to sell it before graduating.

We have no doubt his current venture will be successful and will one day lead the No Code industry to new heights.

2021: What Happened in the No Code Industry This Year?

What a year for No Code. In 2021, the industry got bigger than ever. The number of tools available to developers has grown exponentially, and so has the number of businesses being built on them. This article is going to cover the most important new tools that came out this year, together with the platforms that got the most funding. Let’s take a look at what happened this year!

No Code Tools Released in 2021

Branded App by Wix - Native App Builder

Wix, one of the most popular drag-and-drop No Code tools for making simple websites, officially launched their mobile app builder called Branded App by Wix on August 10.

a visual showing the interface of an app made with Branded App by Wix.
Example of an app made with Branded App

The app is aimed at businesses who need a representational app without splurging on making a fully-fledged, customized app.

One of the core strengths of the app builder is that it can automatically integrate features from a Wix website into a mobile app.

Users can build native Android and iOS apps with features like e-commerce, chatting, booking, news feeds, and more.

The builder costs $200 per month to use, not including the costs of publishing your creations on app stores.

SageMaker Canvas - No Code Machine Learning

Amazon Web Services launched their own No Code machine learning tool as an answer to the alternatives by Google and other, smaller developers: Teachable Machine, Obviously AI, Lobe, etc.

The launch event of SageMaker Canvas, a No Code machine learning tool
The Launch Event of SageMaker Canvas

SageMaker Canvas is essentially a simplified version of Amazon's full-fledged ML tool, SageMaker. Canvas provides many of the same functionalities behind a UI that's simple and understandable for non-technical people.

Users can create data models for inventory optimization, churn reduction, fraud detection, and more.

The app was launched on November 30 in select areas of the US and Europe.

It has a free plan available, with custom pricing applied for premium users.

You can read more on its features, availability, pricing, and competitors in our article on the SageMaker Canvas launch.

Yalo Studio: Conversational Experiences in WhatsApp and Messenger

On September 9[1]. Obviously, this is not only tedious but also really inefficient., Yalo Studio was released. It is a No Code tool for designing chat-based experiences in the most popular messaging apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.

The UI of Yalo studio, a No Code conversation experience maker

Companies can set up sales, marketing, and customer support-related conversational logic. Yalo claims that "more than 90% of all companies' customer conversations can be automated" with their platform.

The platform offers custom pricing and services for setting up their tool.

Biggest No Code Investment Rounds in 2021

No Code platforms are being noticed by venture capital funds more and more. In 2021, there were quite a few investment rounds in the space. As No Code becomes a part of the mainstream, the companies in this niche will have increasingly better chances of being noticed.

Both smaller, less known funds and the biggest players like YCombinator have supported No Code projects this year. Let's take a look at the most promising ones.

Outsystems, $150M

In the Low Code sphere, the most notable investment was attracted by Outsystems, an app development service aimed at enterprises that want to develop their own software.

three employees of Outsystems talking
The CEO of Outsystems, Paulo Rosado, and his developers. Image credit: Outsystems

The platform raised $150M[2] by selling 1.6% of its shares, with the whole company being worth $9.5B.

Established in 2001, Outsystems is one of the oldest companies in the niche, which is privately held to this day.

This is not the first investment the company has gotten, with past injections including a $55M round in 2016 and a whopping $360M in 2018.

Bubble.io, $100M

The most important investment round for the No Code industry this year, without a doubt, is the $100M[3] raised by the No Code app builder, Bubble.io.

the cofounders of bubble.io sitting in a room with laptops
Josh Haas and Emmanuel Straschnov, the co-founders of Bubble.io. Image credit: Bubble.io

The platform focuses on helping individuals launch businesses themselves, without the need of a development team, by using their drag-and-drop application builder.

With much more people turning to the digital sphere to unleash their creativity and get themselves in front of customers during a period of strict movement restrictions, the Covid-19 pandemic has been very beneficial to the company.

The revenue of Bubble.io tripled over the year leading up to the investment and the company increased the number of staff from 21 to 45 as a result.

Originally a completely bootstrapped (self-funded) company for 7 years since its inception, the platform raised a $6.5 funding round in 2019. With this boost, the platform became one of the most popular tools in the niche.

On July 27th, 2021, the platform announced that it closed a $10M Series A investment round, led by Insight Partners.

No Code and Low Code in 2021's YCombinator

As one of the most famous startup accelerators in the world, YCombinator is a pretty good indicator of the most promising, upcoming niches in business.

attendees of ycombinator sitting in a conference
A YCombinator conference. Image Credit: YCombinator

This year, one of those niches was Low and No Code. In the latest class of almost 400 startups[4], 18 are related to the niche in one way or another.

Among them, for example, we can find Zazos, a platform for building your own internal HR platform, Tantl, which focuses on making the job of developers easier when it comes to building internal workflows, and Whalesync, which synchronizes data between No Code tools like Notion, Webflow, and Airtable.

Conclusion

The year 2021 has been an exciting one for the No Code industry. With so much going on, we cannot wait for what 2022 will bring.

If you are considering using No Code for your project but still are not sure if it is right for you, take our free, 2-minute quiz and find out whether you should try code or No Code!

Amazon Launched SageMaker Canvas - a No Code Machine Learning Tool

Machine learning provides organizations with powerful capabilities of business planning, when it comes to demand forecasting, improving the efficiency of processes, and more.

With No Code being the great equalizer in software development, it would make sense that machine learning would also be implemented in this category of software.

And with AWS (Amazon Web Services) having stepped in the No Code market with their Honeycode web and mobile app builder in mid-2020, it also makes sense that they would have eventually bridged the gap between No Code and ML.

The Launch and Features of SageMaker Canvas

On November 30, Amazon announced the launch of their new No Code machine learning tool called Amazon SageMaker Canvas.

In short, the tool offers an easy way to develop, run and deploy machine learning models with no previous experience required. Users will not have to learn various ML-related techniques like algorithms, evaluation metrics, training parameters, etc., to launch their first model.

The platform enables accessing data banks in local storage and in the cloud. These can be used to combine datasets together, train accurate ML data analysis models and ask for new predictions continuously, as datasets are populated with more data points.

the UI of AWS SageMaker Canvas
Image credit - Amazon

The new tool uses the same technological basis as Amazon SageMaker - Amazon's machine learning tool for professionals like data scientists and machine learning operations engineers, albeit wrapped in a much more user-friendly UI.

The powerful ML tool automatically combines and cleans users' data, creates multiple analysis models, selects the ones that perform the most efficiently, and finishes with predictions separately or in batches.

Many problem types are supported, such as:

The tool has numerous use cases, like inventory optimization, churn reduction, fraud detection, and more.

With SageMaker Canvas, joining datasets is easy - the app automatically identifies common columns between datasets, such as an Order ID code.

Using those columns, the tool finds out which data points are shared between the two sets (uploaded files) and wields them as an anchor to combine these points into a single database file, which will result in a more accurate model compared to running two models on two different datasets.

Before finalizing the joined datasets, the resulting sheet can be previewed in order to manually check for missing columns, datapoints, invalid values and simply deselect the data that the user does not want to be included in the end result.

the UI of AWS SageMaker Canvas
Image credit - Amazon

Before generating a model, the user can preview the model itself too. For example, the tool shows the estimated accuracy of each column of data and identifies which column has the highest impact on the whole model.

Using SageMaker Canvas, ML models can be run on imported datasets, together with the data stored on Snowflake, Amazon S3, and Amazon Snowflake.

Avalability and Pricing of SageMaker Canvas

Even though SageMaker Canvas is only currently launched in select regions (EU: Germany, Ireland; US: Ohio, North Virginia, Oregon), it should eventually become available worldwide.

The tool can be experimented with before making a financial commitment, as it features a free plan that allows people to use SageMaker Canvas for 2 months.

The free tier is limited in terms of what users can do. For example, the free version is capped at 750 hours/month of session time, 10 model creation requests/month, with each model itself being capped at 1M cells.

Paid plans, on the other hand, are very flexible, there are no standardized tiers, each user pays an exact price based on their usage of the platform, which we think is very fair.

the UI of AWS SageMaker Canvas
Image credit - Amazon

Competitors and Future Predictions

We predict that this is only the beginning of No Code tools aimed at liberalizing machine learning. Since Amazon launched its own No Code ML platform, it is highly likely that other providers will follow suit.

AWS entered a market that while certainly is not saturated, has some powerful competitors already waiting. Google, for example, even has several products aimed at the segment: Teachable Machine, Google Cloud Auto ML, and Google ML Kit. Apple also has its own platform, called CreateML, aimed specifically at Mac users.

There are other, smaller competitors as well, Obviously AI, for example, which we mentioned in our article on No Code AI, Lobe, FritzAI, and others.

Today's enterprises are looking for ways to enhance their business performance through technology and innovative solutions.

Whether it comes to using predictive maintenance or machine learning algorithms, companies want to take advantage of these technological advancements, but lack the tools required to do so due to how complex they are.

Being able to upload, edit, and export complex datasets and train machine learning models without a single line of code or advanced knowledge on the subject unlocks a world of possibilities for those of us who are interested in using these tools or simply know the benefits they can bring to a business but do not have formal training in the sphere.

We will keep a close eye on Amazon and their No Code developments and update our readers as new features and applications are released.