📦 Using no-code to build an MVP, raise money & build a team. [Interview] - Issue #13
This week’s issue is all about the difference between using no-code tools to build an MVP vs planning to use it longer term to scale your business.
I’m thrilled to have an interview with a founder who recently raised a £1 million ($1.4m) seed round - using a prototype built on Bubble.
Tristan Thomas was one of the earliest employees at Monzo, the UK banking startup turned unicorn.
As VP Marketing he was responsible for meteoric customer growth which saw Monzo go from tiny startup to a fully-fledged bank with over 4 million customers - adding an incredible 100k customers a month.
Interview with Tristan Thomas
Tristan & The Packfleet Team
News broke recently that Tristan and a group of other ex-Monzonauts had launched a new startup - Packfleet.
The startup is looking to revolutionize last-mile delivery with a delightful customer experience.
Tristan turned to Bubble to build the MVP for the platform - using the API Connector to connect to the Shopify API.
The Bubble built MVP not only ended up delivering thousands of customer parcels - it also helped the team secure a £1m investment.
I spoke with Tristan about the experience of building an MVP using Bubble.
JD: How long did it take you to put together the Packfleet MVP?
TT: The MVP of the MVP only took a few days; a day or two of familiarising myself with how Bubble works and then I was able to get something up and running incredibly quickly.
By using a template to get started + plugins from the community, there was very little custom work I had to do and so I was able to start testing it with customers almost immediately.
JD: Did using a no-code tool for the MVP help clarify the product vision & speed up the design / tech spec process? What were the main benefits for you?
TT: 100% yes. Without Bubble, I would have had to find engineering help just to build the MVP and that would have been a huge blocker.
I wanted to use Bubble to test out some of the hypotheses I had around the courier market – to understand the pain points of merchants and start experimenting with different logistical setups.
Using Bubble, I was able to build something basic very quickly – and scarily, it’s not significantly worse than the platforms offered by some of the major courier companies!
We got up and running, delivering thousands of parcels for customers, all on Bubble; and I was able to use those learnings and proof points as part of my fundraising process for our pre-seed.
JD: What would you say to founders considering building a mvp with a no-code tool like Bubble?
TT: I can’t see why you wouldn’t. If you’re non-technical (or even if you’re technical, but want to focus on getting to an MVP as quickly as possible),
Bubble is a secret superpower.
The power in being able to build your own frontend and backend, all without code, is ridiculous and that continues to get easier and easier.
While today, for the majority of startups I think there’s still long-term benefit in building your own software, I can’t see that being true in five years time!
Thanks to Tristan for taking the time to answer some questions about the beginning of the Packfleet journey, you can follow his journey over on Twitter @trstnthms
Bubble: Just for MVPs or can you scale?
Tristan & Packfleet are a great example of one of the ways you can use Bubble - to build a fully working MVP to validate your idea with customers & raise money.
The Packfleet team are in the process of transitioning to a custom coded version of their platform but increasingly this is not always a necessity.
For example, my no-code based startup UserLoop is operating quite comfortably on Bubble sending out over 10k customer surveys every month without a hitch.
Another excellent example is Dividend Finance. Providing financing options for homeowners to add solar panels to their home, the startup runs totally on Bubble and has processed over a $1 billion worth of loans.
So - depending on the kind of app you’re building you may choose to use Bubble to either supercharge the development of a market-ready MVP or to scale and run your business in long term.
As no-code platforms continue to mature I expect it to become much more common for startups to run totally on no-code platforms, never migrating to a custom coded version.
If you’re a single person startup like me - not having to think about cloud infrastructure and dev ops is also a major benefit of being fully no-code.
That's is for this week
As always with this newsletter - my goal is to inspire you and show you what it’s possible to build using no-code tools.
Hope you found this issue interesting, I’m excited cover some more technical subjects over the next issues. Thanks for all the suggestions & requests you’ve been sending in, it’s fantastic to hear your feedback and what you want me to cover.
Until next time, happy building!