It all started in 2020 with a newsletter.
Philip Lakin, a transplant from New York to Atlanta, got deeply embedded in the no-code community in the city during paternity leave. While there was a lot of chat about no-code founders or makers, he saw a big gap: Who was talking about the operators?
DevOps, as the name suggests, is a well established methodology to help software developers improve operational efficiency. Coders have platforms like GitHub, PagerDuty, or Kubernetes to keep workflows organized and teams on the same page. But that doesn’t yet exist on the no-code side. That’s even though no-code platforms are at the center of many business critical processes…be it Zapier for workflow automation, Hubspot for internal CRMs, or even Airtable and Google Sheets for day-to-day process tracking.
But it becomes “really difficult to manage, govern, and maintain” processes when multiple no-code tools are used and integrated with one another, Lakin said.
Most of the no-code operators Lakin talked to have had to do some massive “MacGyvering” to stitch together automation tools. Lakin and his growing team knew there had to be another way.
“The number one way in the B2B world to see if something is worth building is to see if employees at a company have tried to hack something [similar] together already,” added Lakin. “We knew we were on to something when we had multiple design partners showing us their spreadsheets where they were manually tracking all automations, systems, field definitions, and dependencies across all the SaaS in their companies’ stacks.”
Lakin and his team built Operator to help those no-coders struggling to build needed operational and automation tools on their own. The platform helps no-coders with incident response monitoring, transition management, and automatic documentation assistance.
This eliminates some of the headaches around no-code development, but it also makes it easier for teams to show the ROI behind no-code projects.
The Rise of NoCodeOps
“Imagine us as the platform that gives you visibility across your whole stack,” said Jennifer Bohnsack, the startup’s Head of Customer Experience. “Teams often really struggle to get a full sense of what is in place, who built it, what it’s supposed to do…and what it takes to use these [no-code tools] every day. This takes so much time off their plate so they can focus on more important work.”
For Bohnsack, the goal is to help “empower the operations role…the unsung heroes within an organization.”
Operator’s full beta will launch this summer with plans for a larger release later this year. Those interested in beta testing can learn more on the startup’s website.
Over the Operator Platform is NoCodeOps, an ecosystem and unified brand for no-code operators.
While NoCodeOps and the Operator Platform are still young, their launch could be a case study in good customer discovery.
Lakin built up the newsletter community to over 10,000 subscribers and first launched a services business in the no-code operations space. He started assembling his team – including co-founder Brent Summers – and spent months talking to hundred of operations professionals to figure out what tool they really needed to do work more efficiently.
These “design partners” helped the NoCodeOps team strategically develop and iterate the Operator Platform to be a must-have tool and not just a ‘nice to have’ feature. Bohnsack, whom Lakin describes as a “go-to-market champion” has spearheaded these efforts.
The community aspect of NoCodeOps is as crucial as the product launch itself.
NoCodeOps also runs a private Discord community for those operators working in the no-code space, and they are putting together the first NoCodeOps Conference to bring the virtual no-code operator community together for 3 days in Atlanta in the spring of 2024.
“We want to celebrate internal innovation…because internal people [at a company] never get credit externally for the stuff they do,” Lakin added.
Behind NoCodeOps is not only an impressive community, but also a growing list of investors.
Backend Capital and Slow Ventures were two of the earlier firms to join the cap table, with Base10 Partners leading the company’s most recent seed extension round of $3 million.
While based out of San Francisco, Base10 Capital is no stranger to the Atlanta tech scene. Local startups Popmenu and RoadSync are in its portfolio, which also includes tech giants like Plaid, Brex, Okra, InstaCart, and Figma.
“We told our initial round of investors we genuinely don’t know what we’re going to build. It will be software, it will be for this [no code] audience. It’s going to be built based on their needs. We don’t know what it is yet…but we’re really passionate about whatever it turns out to be,” Lakin told Hypepotamus.
Base10’s investment brings the startup’s total funding to date to $8.5 million.
Operator evolved out of Switchboard, the monitoring feature that Lakin and his team built out in 2021.
The team has grown quickly to nine full-time employees with HQ set up on the Eastside BeltLine.
Empowering future no-coders is something near and dear to the NoCodeOps team. Lakin said no-code changed the trajectory of his career. He’s also seen impressive and valuable work come out of non-technical employees who are trained on such tools. He hopes NoCodeOps’ community and the Operator Platform helps spark more no-code innovation.
Lakin also said that the Operator Platform will only become more powerful and necessary as AI evolves.
“Corporate governance, decentralized accountability…those are really hard problems,” added Lakin. “If we can solve these problems for no-code, when AI evolves its own set of no-code tools that are more powerful, we’ll be there to apply those same set of principles. I think that’s where our investors got really excited.”
Want to follow along with NoCodeOps’ journey? Here are some important links: