Over the past few years, Appsmith has quietly built an open source platform for in-house development teams to build the custom apps they need. These are business applications that companies build themselves to give them access to data in a more streamlined and visual way.
Although the company describes it as low-code, it is designed to speed up the development process for experienced developers rather than helping business users build applications, as some low-code application environments aim to do.
Today, the company announced a $41 million Series B, a pretty significant round at a time when VC dollars are getting harder to come by, especially for a pre-revenue company, but investors are looking at the startup’s growth potential. , using the open source project as a springboard.
Company co-founder and CEO Abhishek Nayak says that while they fit into the low-code category, it really is a product aimed at developers who want to work faster when it comes to building internal applications.
“These applications are intended to be used by internal team members and not by external customers. So that’s the focus of Appsmith. It does things much faster for a developer and so you can think of this as a low code product as it does mean a developer writes less code…but many developers see Appsmith as a framework to build applications,” explains Nayak from.
It does this by providing many of the components you need to build the application, whether that be front-end pieces, data connectors, or access control, pieces developers often have to build from scratch. That includes delivering user interface components with drag and drop. Second, developers can connect to a data source or use an API to connect to one that isn’t available by default. Finally, it takes care of access control, so you can control who can use the tool internally. Each component is customizable, so developers have a lot of flexibility to customize the components that Appsmith offers.
The company currently has 95 employees in 16 countries, with the majority so far in India, followed by the United States and Nigeria, he said. He plans to double the workforce early next year and believes being geographically diverse helps build a diverse workforce.
He points out that being remote has especially helped when it comes to hiring more women. “We have seen that flexible remote working certainly helps us to attract more women to join us. While we can certainly do a lot more, we are quite pleased with the pace at which we can hire women, especially around the world, and not just in India,” he said.
While the company still has pre-revenue, its user base has grown 15x in the past year and has more than 7,000 active companies on the platform using the tool every month. The new investment gives him time to focus on the open source community before building the inevitable commercial product. He believes he has at least four years on the runway, so plenty of time to build a product and generate revenue, but he’ll start looking at that in a year, he said.
The current $41 million Series B investment was led by Insight Partners with participation from Accel, Canaan Partners, OSS Capital and individual investors.