How to start a mini SaaS Business with Low Code

How to start a SaaS business with low code

In this episode, we cover two very fascinating topics. We will have a look behind the curtains of starting a low code platform company. Mustafa from Code2.io shares the vision of the company as well as how he came up with the idea of funding the company. But not only that, furthermore we will take a deep dive into how mini SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses are an ideal case to be developed with low code.

Additional resources mentioned in this podcast

Code2.io – a no-code platform

Gartner Research

Blog article about mini SaaS

If you have feedback or ideas on which topics need to be covered at this podcast – you are more than welcome to get in touch with me.

You can find more information on www.lowcode-founders.com, or you can drop me a message at sarah@biberei.de

Enjoy and keep on building new digital products. 

Transcript for the episode – How to start a mini SaaS Business with Low Code

Mustafa
Theoretically, if you can inject low code to these platforms you can do everything. Probably it is not the intended result. But I believe that specialized platforms will help users better because these platforms have some missions to make people build things and applications faster and we have so many verticals and markets and niche areas. So if these platforms focus on some areas and some technologies for example some of them are focused on business intelligence, some of them are focused on AI some of tomorrow focused on sales applications or web apps or mobile apps. Then these platforms are more powerful and also they make it easier for the users if they are focused on some part of the application development. So, theoretically, you can build anything, but users should choose their platform according to their end product and market. We have a term now, citizen developer but Gardner also creates a term about citizen access. So it is not always developing software, AI is also a hot topic but there are tools now that make it very easy for you to build some AI specific applications and also there are some tools, they are very specialized in mobile development. So everyone has now citizen access and users choose the platform to their needs.

Sarah
Hello everyone and welcome to a new episode of the Low code founders podcast. My name is Sarah from the Biberei. I am your podcast host and today we are talking about two really interesting topics. The first one is how you can start a company that actually builds one of these low code tools a million of people are currently using. And the second one is which business opportunity you’re having when building a many suffer as a service business of low code. So it’s going to be very interesting and you will learn a lot and of course I’m not going to talk about this alone. I have a guest with me, it’s Mustafa from Code2.io and he founded the company just recently and Co two is the low code platform that targets startups and freelances and enables them to build much easier and faster. And I’m really looking forward to having Mustafa here and talk about these wonderful topics today. So welcome Mustafa!

Mustafa
Thank you and thanks for having me.   

Sarah
Okay, Mustafa, so what is the vision of Code2.io and why did you found it?

Mustafa
Yeah actually it is my fourth company. Before that I built a SaaS company initially that built a software consulting company. And also actually one of I also made a spin out in this consulting company and it’s been accepted by Combinator.  So actually so many people were coming to me about their ideas, and they were offering me building their ideas together, but I don’t have that much time. I don’t have that much resources, actually, I can’t see that most of these ideas can be built very straightforwardly, however I didn’t have time but I was trying to help those people and so actually, we started to build a no code platform so we can help all those people and make their ideas come into real applications.

Sarah
I think that’s a very good example, how if you started the company and being an entrepreneur, how new ideas just are popping up, but if you see something or if your client is telling you about their pain points, then I think you’re kind of in the mindset, you are thinking “how can I make new business opportunity and out of that?”.  So when I got it,  they were mostly startups and freelancers approaching you and asking for support.

Mustafa
Yeah, actually most of the time people who have ideas but doesn’t have technical skills, most of those people come to because I have a tech company and so and I have an entrepreneur background, they usually come us to build together, sometimes they come to me and get some feedback for their ideas and some feedback have to build it technically, and so now Code2.io actually it’s much better now to help them.

Sarah
Yeah, absolutely, and I think this is a huge benefit which no code or low code gives us that if you have an idea and have no technical background or even you have a technical background, so it’s either way, you have the possibility now to start something much easier and of course much faster and also with a lower budget of course, because you don’t need to pay several developers to develop your idea. This brings me to my next question. So I think the both of us are that we are living in kind of a low code or no code bubble, where we are thinking about it each and every day in different positions were having. Do you think that outside of our bubble that entrepreneurs startups, freelances already aware of the possibilities low code or no code can offer them?

Mustafa
Yeah, as far as I know and see most people don’t or aren’t aware of no code and low code platforms. And also according to the report from Farm steak. So they have a no code rising Report. And according to that report, 82% of people are unfamiliar with these tools. So it’s a trend. It’s rising. Every day more people are getting aware of this platform, especially when I post an article on LinkedIn, many friends are calling me okay, I didn’t hear about that. But the idea is very interesting. I will try my own ideas. So the actual awareness is increasing but still most often doesn’t know about these platforms.

Sarah
Yeah, Yeah. I feel you. In my LinkedIn bubble, there are many non-tech people and also many non-entrepreneurs and it’s very interesting when, for example, they meet me in an event.  They’ll talk to me and say oh “Sarah, you’re very active on Linkedin, can you tell me what this low, low, low code is?” Because they never really heard this word and try to repeat it. I think it’s good because it’s a new word right? Because they don’t often hear low code and no code terms, it kind of draws their attention then they wanna read and listen more about it. But yeah, we see that the awareness is still not that high but the benefits are very high for entrepreneurs, what do you think a lot more entrepreneurs using low code at least for the MVP development?

Mustafa
Yeah actually as you said, the first reason is that they are not aware of it. Secondly,   those people usually ask their friends first. If they are developers, there is still an elitist approach on the developers, they have actually seen these tools as a second class activity so they don’t recommend it. And also there are other reasons sometimes these people have some bias about this platform and they think that they will be stuck at some point. And so instead of building in MVP and start building the all products they are usually directed to develop using some coding and with the developer team but it is not correct. So in this era, actually the tools are very powerful now, so you can build the real applications very fast and that’s the most important point now. And also developing the MVP is just the tip of the iceberg. So you need to maintain that application, you need to change that application because building can start off, meaning people think very frequently, so you need to be very fast and responsive to the market.

Sarah
Yeah, yeah, I couldn’t agree. I think the real benefit local food is giving us, it’s not the possibility to develop it without software developers with lower budget, it the much increased speed one has going to the market and get real customer feedback and I think this is way much more important than having all this budget issues, cost issues and all this other stuff because you can now you can kind of overcome them. But the real advantage you are having as a startup or even as an existing company where this is not only for startups is when you’re just faster to the market initially and also faster in to adapt your product. For me it’s still sometimes unreal when I have a client, as I’m mostly working for clients, and then he has conversations with end-customers, gets feedback from a client, gives it to me and I develop it for the next day he can have a feedback conversation again. And this is so unreal sometimes. Which might lead to other things you have to be aware of, you don’t need to develop each and everything, rather think about whether it makes sense or not. There’s  something I get asked about a lot and I like to have your opinion on that as well.  Do you think you can build everything with low code?

Mustafa
Yeah. Theoretically, if you can inject some code to these platforms you can do everything. Probably it is not the intended result but I believe that specialized platforms will help users better. Because these platforms have some missions to make people build things and applications faster and we have so many verticals and markets and niche areas. So if these platforms focus on some areas and some technologies for example, some of them are focused on business intelligence. Some of them are focused on AI some of tomorrow focused on sales applications or web apps or mobile labs, then these platforms are more powerful and also they make it easier for the users if they are focused on some of the application development. So, theoretically, you can build anything but users should choose their platform according to their end product and market. We have a term now, citizen developer but Gardner also creates a term about citizen access. So it is not always developing software, AI is also a hot topic but there are tools now that make it very easy for you to build some AI specific applications and also there are some tools, they are very specialized in mobile development. So everyone has now citizen access and users choose the platform to their needs.

Sarah
And what actually is citizen access? is it?

Mustafa
Yeah,

Sarah
What does it mean? Or what I mean? I know citizen developer, what is citizen access?

Mustafa
So a citizen developer is the, you know, for example, every area needs its own expertise and like all skills but it is now a different word so everybody needs to learn more things but it is not possible. So there are tools everywhere that make it easier for you to reach those things. Citizen access is an umbrella. So under this umbrella there’s citizen developer, citizen AI and there’s citizen BI so everything is now under Down where Lost to the next Electoral Gardner calls it like that.

Sarah
I never heard of it before. So I would definitely put it in the show notice before the audience also to gather more information about it. I agree with you partly, because I think there’s one point, one  area which at least I haven’t found a true maybe you know more because I was working very long in the second area of IT and of course you can, if you have interface is prepared you can access them, that’s not issue yet, but I think to really have a better software development right under machine. I think it’s, I think it’s either not possible yet, at least I don’t know any application. For the audience, if you know an application just want me a message because I’m very curious to see something like that because I was working very long in this field and I know how, how much effort it is to do good embedded suffer development and I think there is no local possibility but maybe you know tool which can do that.

Mustafa
Yeah, actually, there are more tools coming. So this low code no code area  is in a very high trend as we know and we will see. But currently most of the low code no code platforms focus on web and mobile questions.

Sarah
So, maybe as the next business idea, we develop a low code platformer about that software. I think there’s a huge demand for this. When I was doing some research, prior to our conversation, I saw your blog and I really liked your articles on your blog. I think all of them were very interesting, and what you’re working on. One which caught my eye was the one where you explained micro software service possibilities. can you explain, what do you mean with this term with micro software service?

Mustafa
Yeah, micro SaaS is very popular nowadays, especially with the people who have white colors.  Because building a SaaS company is not easy. You usually go to venture funding and so it creates a demand on your side about growth. But sometimes you are actually, you have some domain expertise in some area and you want to solve that problem for some people and you don’t want to go to venture funding because that market is not very high and you don’t want to get involved in this whole process. So people actually start smaller companies which are focused on a very specific problem of a very niche market. So that’s what actually micro SaaS is. It’s been built by mostly domain experts and these domain experts usually don’t have technical skills, some of them. They usually start as a side project. Maybe they usually think that there will be a positive income for them or maybe they think that they will be bigger project meanwhile.  So they don’t have resources at the beginning and they also want to test the idea very fast. So these low code no code platforms actually created great value for them because they can start building the product without having to deeply technical skills and or they can find a freelancer who can develop it for them very in a very short time. So they will not need to invest their resources and also they can add up their applications very fast and so they can create very friendly interactions with their users.

Sarah
I also think that this will come much more in the future, especially with low code and no code having more awareness. Because what I often experience is that you’re looking for a tool which helps you solve your problems whatever it is. And you either have a tool with 1000 features and you only need two or three of them. Right? And you’re paying way too much money for that, right? Because I mean you get this whole set of features, so the price must kind of meet this, right? But it doesn’t really solve the exact problem. It’s always a kind of a compromise. I am currently also developing a tool for myself. So it started exactly with this.  I was looking for a tool to solve a very specific problem and I just couldn’t find something which really fits my needs. So being a low coder and being in love with digital products, of course, I developed it for myself and then I thought “okay, maybe some others can use it”. I also use, of course, low code tools for that. I think that also from economic perspective, even if she would have the technical  the resource skill and also the time to do it, it’s often not worth the money you have to spend because, if you think, about it, if you need to have a software service product developed by 10, 15, 20, developers and we know that this is a very low number for software development team, then you also have to have a huge, huge amount of revenue company and then either you have high prices or you have a huge user set and for some products the niche is that small that you simply don’t have them. I think with low code the initial cost will be reduced massively because you don’t need to have this huge group of software developers and also the ongoing costs would be lower. So I think that in the future or it’s also my hope actually that more and more people start to think, okay, I have this problem here maybe I can build a software around it if it’s worth by solving it of course and also building a SaaS product out of this to help others, even though it doesn’t have, I don’t know, one million users or it’s the next unicorn and you will have millions of visits coming in because some people and I will also consider myself to this group doesn’t want to have me see funding because it sounds great and it’s on your CV. It may, it looks great. Right? But it also has a lot of responsibilities.

Mustafa
And create some pressure on the fondness. Yeah. So maybe we can look at this Microsoft companies from the perspective of e-commerce platforms, for example, Maybe 10 years ago, it wasn’t very easy to build a commerce platform or if you are an individual, it was a very hard business. So you need to build ecommerce sites or you need to do marketing and other things. But today it is much different now. There’s Shopify. Yeah, it is just very easy to create e-commerce site and you have channels such as Amazon, Ebay and other marketplaces and you can, you can create your shop easily and then you can start selling. So now many individuals have e-commerce sites and e-commerce shops on the internet. So currently that these local and local platforms are actually going to that area. So they are becoming platforms and marketplaces for these individuals. So these people will actually solve other people’s problems using these platforms and then they will market their applications through these platforms and it will not be that hard or even an individual we’ll be able to do it actually, today, they can create it now.

Sarah
The future is bright for low code and no code tools a and I think that this is clear after the conversation.
We talked about the future and what will happen with low code and no code, especially in the terms micro SaaS products. Looking back to the past, you found many companies, so you kind of experienced it a little bit. But I guess, with every new company there’s some kind of fear, things that might happen. What were your fears When you started your current company Code2.io?

Mustafa
Yeah, actually, yeah, if you have wanted many companies actually you are scared of almost anything. So you’re not scared of anything. I think the most important thing  in a startup is to actually build the vision. It creates the reason why you build it. So the hardest part for a founder is to make believe every team member in this idea and in this reason, so that’s the hardest part because in startups it doesn’t go well every time, but at the end and you always have the same thing and at the start you also have the same thing: the reason. So everybody should stick to that reason and that’s the hardest part. So every funder, myself included, has a fear that you must make everybody believe in this reason and in this mission. So that’s the hardest part and also there are other things such as going to market building to product building the team and all all those things come after this.

Sarah
Yeah, I think it’s also important to have a vision because it’s the first step actually. Yeah, yeah, I mean we are laughing but maybe not in startups, but I think the same goes also for teams and corporations. You can ask friends and family who were working in corps “do you know the mission of your team?” or “of your own or of your company?”. I would be surprised if there are many positive answers to that, which is very sad, but I think we need to get it, we need to be more aware that we need to have a motivation and the vision can be a motivation also to don’t leave the boat if if something is not going the right way, which will happen every time. So what is next on the list? What is the next milestone your boat with the mission will take you?

Mustafa
Yeah, actually,  we built Code2.io And so most of our team was coming from the developer background. So we built a very powerful platform, but nowadays we see that we need to make it easier for everyone. So we are now very focused on building more templates, building blocks and also an easier flow of engines. So those are the product roadmaps on our priority list and make it easier for everyone to build something very quickly.

Sarah
Okay, I think that’s that’s a lot of people would like that idea because what I often here from other people will start with low code that it’s not easy enough if you don’t have a suffer development background because it’s just had software developers are building this tool and they see it through their eyes which is totally normal and that’s why I think it’s still sometimes easier to use a no code or low code tool if you are a software developer, because you understand the mechanisms and the reason why  the product is back the way it is built. Okay, so of course I will put everything in the show notes so that the audience can check out Code2 and the product, the local platform and also your blog articles. Thank you so much for your time. I think it was a pleasure.

Mustafa
Thank you for the pleasure for me too. And it was a very interesting conversation.

Sarah
Absolutely all right, so thank you very much and goodbye

Mustafa
Bye.