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45 Comments

I co-founded Softr - the easiest way to build powerful web apps without code and raised $2.2M after bootstrapping for a year. AMA!

Hey! I’m Artur, co-founder & CTO of Softr, the easiest no-code platform to build powerful web apps and client portals from Airtable, in minutes.

Mariam and I started working on Softr in early 2020, launched the first version in August 2020 and raised $2.2M seed round in December.

Since our launch we have made huge progress 🚀: Softr is now being used by more than 18,000 companies and creators around the world.

Got any questions? Ask us anything!

  1. 4

    First, congrats, quite an achievement. In your first weeks / months, did you roll up the sleeves and coded the MVP/first iteration yourselves or hired developers. Can you share what your experience was if you relied on 3rd party / non-vested developers? Challenges and how you resolved them?

    1. 2

      Hey @Productivity_Hacker thanks! I did code a lot for the first MVP and some weeks later hired a frontend developer through my network to help me. In between also tried hiring few devs via upwork for easy tasks but failed and never looked back. If you can always hire from/via your network.

  2. 3

    Congrats. I’m interested in the figure of 2.2m.

    How much runway did that give you and what did you use it for primarily?

    1. 2

      Normally it’s recommended to raise for 1,5 years runway and in our case it’s mostly used for hiring a team to further develop the product and grow the adoption.

    2. 2

      I really enjoy your questions. You add so much value to IH

      1. 2

        Why thank you. That means a lot.

        1. 1

          Your comment adds more to the information or ask the author to share more. And this information is always helpful.

  3. 3

    Congrats Artur! That's huge. Two questions:

    1. How did you manage to find 18,000 customers in such a short time?
    2. How did you find and approach VCs?
    1. 1

      Thanks @soheilpro!

      1. We have engaged with nocode community from early days mainly twitter, did 2 product hunt launches, and invested a lot into SEO/Content/Tools those were the main drivers.

      2. We weren’t actively engaging with VC until first product hunt launch. After the launch many of them approached us and given the nocode is hot topic it moved pretty fast from there.

  4. 2

    you guys rock! That is all.

  5. 2

    Glad to see you here Artur and thank you very much for your patience and for taking the time whenever I contact the team through the chatbot.

    So glad to know about Softr.

  6. 2

    Hello Arthur, congratulations!
    When did you find your first client?
    Why did you choose Airtable?

    1. 1

      Hey @ibelick we had up to 3 clients through our network who did pre-product payment :) I guess we were lucky here and also gave us confidence that people really need it.

      Regarding Airtable, actually first we started to develop our own internal DB then realised many SMBs use Airtable and get popular day by day and wanted to experiment. This also helped us to save a lot of dev hours. Later on we plan to add more datasources and perhaps doing own db too.

  7. 2

    Wow! What an achievement. Congratulations

    • Do you maybe have some screenshots (or video) of how your MVP was looking like?
    • How did you acquired your first 100 customers?
    1. 1

      Second the question here. Would definitely be interested in knowing about earlier iterations of the product.

      1. 1

        Hey @Sam10 and @0x_abrar, the very first version was mainly just a static website builder again with blocks. The background you see from the image in the main post is pretty much reflecting the old design :)

        Regarding the first 100 customers (paying) part of it came from no-code community and the rest from our very first product hunt launch.

        1. 1

          What activities did you do for people on the no-code community to get to know your product (and where)?

          1. 1

            No-code community is one of the best and till now most of the people in no-code space are still early adopters and typically early adopters like to try new tools and no-code community has been very supportive with using the tool and sharing a feedback

  8. 1

    I have one question. How did you reach your first 100 customers? And congrats! 🎉

  9. 1

    Hi and congrats!

    How many customers did you have before you raised and when the VCs started reaching out to you?

    1. 1

      Customers (paying) I think we had a bit more than 100

  10. 1

    Congrats! How did you push past other competitors in this market?

    1. 1

      We always looked at competition as an opportunity to learn and never competed directly. From day one our focus was on simplicity. We still want to make it as simple as Canva when people can build website and webapps without learning curve. It get's harder as we add more features though :)

      1. 1

        Thanks for the answer!

  11. 1

    Congratulations, that is a very inspiring story!

    Which growth channels have worked best for Softr?

    1. 1

      For earlier days community, product hunt launch. Later on Still community+WoM and Google Search

  12. 1

    Hey Artur, you and Mariam are inspiring me! You guys doing very well!

    1. What is your ideal customer persona?
    2. What problem does your product solve?
    3. How many MRR and ARR do Softr generate now?
    4. What’s your growth rate?

    Thanks a lot for this AMA!

    1. 2

      Hey @shashcoffe thanks!

      1. We do have few personas, creators, entrepreneurs, smbs
      2. In short and none fancy words, it enables non tech people create web apps.
        3/4. Can't share exact numbers but from VC backed startups one should expect to have 10-20% MoM growth
      1. 1

        Thanks a lot, Artur! 🙏 I wish you get a hyper-growth, more than 20% MoM!

  13. 1

    Moving from 0 to 18,000 users in one year is a huge. Congrats @arturmkrtchyan. I want to know if you have any plans of opening your platform for other developers to build or integrate their apps.

    1. 1

      Hey 👋 @stanwarri thanks! Definitely something we have in mind. Most probably early next year.

  14. 1

    Hi Arthur!
    I was just approach but your growth marketing team and seeing your post here makes me even more likely to make some content about softr. The insight is great. I have actually built an internal product using Airtable (instead of paying $40k for a website).

    How were your first 5 paying customers?

    1. 1

      I assume you are asking who our early 5 customers were. If I recall correctly they were entrepreneurs who wanted to launch a either websites or simple marketplaces.

  15. 1

    Heyy I use Softr for my project NFT Hunt
    Glad you are relating on here
    What are your growth channels?

    1. 2

      Hey 👋 thanks for using Softr!

      It's mostly Google Search, Word of mouth and Social

  16. 1

    Hey ,
    Can you share where do you host your app
    And what is your tech stack ?
    Also how much of your revenue is going to hosting ?
    Thanks

    1. 1

      Hey 👋 we are hosting mainly on AWS. Tech stack is Angular, Java, MySQL, Redis. Nothing fancy :)

      Hosting cost is few hundred a month I believe we have pretty optimal setup.

      1. 1

        thanks
        can you please share what is optimal about the setup ?
        Java setup as backend is not easy task as it is memory hangry ..

        1. 2

          It’s mostly about how you split your services and how they communicate. We did split into few services but did not go down to micro services level which helped us to save a lot and worry about further splitting at later stage. Re: Java or any other stack would not make much difference as most often DB is becoming an issue than the services. The most we spend on RDS.

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