Brothers Scott Sickles and Brad Sickles separately built successful engineering careers in corporate and startup spaces. Now, they’ve teamed up to tackle what they both experienced as a main development pain point: Deploying apps for SMBs (small-to-medium businesses) is often a clunky and frustrating experience.
Of course, we talked about the tech behind their latest venture together, Alpharetta-based Nullstone. But we had to ask, what is it like building a startup with your sibling?
“This is probably one of the best work experiences I’ve had, honestly,” Brad said. “If you’re in a corporate world, not everyone is on your side and you don’t know if everybody has the same passion and interests or drive and direction as you.”
“There was a little hesitation at first because of the adage ‘don’t mix business with your personal life,’ added Scott. “But after throwing around the idea [of Nullstone] and avoiding it for many years, we decided to go for it. And it’s been fantastic.”
Nullstone looks to help engineering teams deploy apps faster and in a more agile manner than what’s possible with standard deployment platforms like Heroku. “One thing that’s been very well documented throughout the [tech] community is that Heroku, after being bought by Salesforce, has had a really hard time transitioning upstream to larger businesses,” added Brad. “Ultimately, it’s a closed platform and you can’t change it. Small to medium-sized companies can grow all the way up through enterprise businesses [with Nullstone].”
Engineering teams can use any language or framework to deploy the app, and Nullstone says it supports “monoliths to microservices, web apps to APIs.” This ultimately helps teams focus on the infrastructure of the app while Nullstone provides the plug-and-play architecture to ensure scaling teams meet security and compliance needs.
Unlike Heroku, Nullstone allows customers to put their work on their own cloud providers and ultimately tweak projects more easily and as needed.
The brothers are focused on building Nullstone for engineers at SMBs, who have traditionally had a hard time scaling on other deployment platforms.
After a round of angel investing this year, Nullstone is continuing to build out its capabilities. Right now modules are published on AWS, with support for Azure and GCP in the pipeline.
Nullstone is a unique culmination of Brad’s and Scott’s previous professional experiences. Brad worked at McKinsey helping banks and other Fortune 500 companies launch apps faster to compete with several fast-moving Silicon Valley startups. He later jumped over the cyber company Bishop Fox.
Scott worked at multiple scaling startups across the banking and biometrics space before rising to CTO of Alpharetta-based customer feedback SaaS platform Listen360 (acquired by EverCommerce).