No-code platforms have developed into a hot market, and Stacker, a London-based no-code platform, is attempting to bring the concept to a new level. Not only can you create a web application from a spreadsheet, you can pull data from a variety of sources to create a sophisticated business application automatically (although some tweaking may be required).
Today the company announced a $20 million Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing investors Initialized Capital, Y Combinator and Pentech. Today's investment brings the total raised to $23 million, according to Crunchbase data.
Michael Skelly, CEO and co-founder at Stacker, says that the idea is to take key business data and turn it into a useful app to help someone do their job more efficiently. "[We enable] people in business to create apps to help them in their working life -- so things like customer portals, internal tools and things that take the data they're already using, often to run a process, and turn that into an app," Skelly explained.
"We really think that in order to actually be useful for business, you need to be hooked into the data that a business cares about. And so we let people bring their spreadsheets, SQL databases, Salesforce data, bring all the data that they use to run their business, and automatically turn it into an app," he said.
Once the company pulls that data in and creates an app, the user can begin to tweak how things look, but Stacker gives them a big head start toward creating something usable from the get-go, Skelly said.
Jennifer Li, a partner at lead investor Andreessen Horowitz, likes the startup's approach to no-code. "We’ve been watching the no-code space for a while, and Stacker stands apart from the rest because of its thoughtful product approach, allowing business operators to instantly generate a functional app that perfectly fits existing business processes," she said in a blog post announcing the funding round.
The company currently has 19 employees, with plans to put the new capital to work to reach 30-40 by the end of the year. Skelly sees building a diverse company as a key goal and is proactive and thoughtful about finding ways to achieve that. In fact, he has identified three ways to approach diversity.
"Firstly is just making sure that we get a diverse pipeline of people. I really think that the ratio of the people you talk to is probably going to be the biggest indicator of the people you hire. Secondly we try to find ways we can hire people who are maybe further down their career profile, but [looking] to grow," he said.
Thirdly, and I think this is something that is not talked about enough, there are plenty of people who would like to get into programming roles, and who are underrepresented, and so we have members of our team who are converting from various non-technical roles to DevOps -- and I think it's just like a really great route to add to the overall pool [of diverse candidates]," he said.
The company is remote-first, with Skelly in London and his co-founder Sam Davyson based in Geneva, and they intend to stay that way. They founded the company in 2017 and originally created a different product that was much more complex and required a lot of hand holding before eventually concluding that making it simple was the way to go. They released the first version of the current product at the end of 2019.
The company has a big vision to be the software development tool for business units. "We really think that in the future just like everyone's got email, a chat tool, a spreadsheet and a video conferencing tool nowadays, they will also have a software tool where they write and run the custom software that they run their business on," he said.