Imagine you're chatting with someone from a large tech company who's used to working at scale. They like what you're saying about no-code software development. In fact, they'd like to build their next idea on a no-code stack.
But... "can it scale?"
That's an interesting question. So are these:
- Is no-code only for side businesses and hobbyists?
- Are there any companies with significant revenue running on no-code?
- Is anyone getting funded who's building on no-code?
Personally, I subscribe heavily to the calm/lifestyle/solopreneur stuff. We're there already with no-code. It's been proven that you can build a profitable, lifestyle business on a no-code stack.
But can we take it further? What if a no-code business decides they want to grow into a global-scale software business? Does every one of them need to start from scratch with code?
My hypothesis was that it's possible to scale pretty big on no-code, and I assumed people had. Maybe no billion dollar valuations, but someone had to be on their way. I'd just Google it.
I asked a few people who I thought might know, I asked on Indie Hackers, and I asked on Twitter. No one had examples of no-code at a large scale.
Eventually, I think I found my answer.
5 - 10 years? A couple things I know...
- There are lots of impressive no-code demos and templates (most of them are on Makerpad)
- There are no-code businesses that are profitable and make amazing lives for their solo owners or small teams
- There's enterprise no-code that's been around for longer than you'd believe, and companies pay big money for it
- The no-code tools right now are mind-blowing, and they're getting better
While I did find some examples of large-scale no-code (listed below), I objectively didn't find much. With the factors I just listed, 5 - 10 years could be right for a no-code unicorn. The software and workflows will be amazing by then, and the sheer amount of no-code companies that will exist makes it likely one will become a unicorn.
But in the meantime?
Here's what I found...
No-code at scale
The European Association of Urology used Betty Blocks (enterprise no-code app software) to save 2.5 million euros a year running events. Their app is called Oxygen.
Dividend Finance built a CRM system (their company's product) with Bubble (no-code web apps) and raised $325 million.
NC State saved millions on a buildout and generates 1 million per year using apps built with Mendix (enterprise level no-code apps).
Here are links to real-world examples of different no-code software. While I haven't found a unicorn, these are examples of real businesses using no-code. I only included actual projects and case studies. No templates or demos.
This embedded Airtable base is a filtered view of the No Code List.
While I hoped to find a no-code unicorn and share their story, I didn't. However, I found a lot to make me optimistic. I think we'll see one someday.
And probably in less than five years 😉.