Before I came to Forrester, I helped create more than 50 no-code minimum viable products. These were built for — or with — entrepreneurs looking to launch digital businesses. This experience gave me firsthand insight into the ways that low-code platforms can solve startup problems, the hurdles that face founders who want to adopt a low-code platform, and ways that vendors could improve their ability to connect with founders and startups.

Low Code Can Solve The Scale Problem

The prevailing startup mantra of “fake it ’til you make it” often creates a scale problem. In their rush to validate their idea, startups frequently streamline their front ends by gluing together multiple back-end services. Although these processes are useful for building proofs of concept, they often do not scale and usually consist of a grab bag of forms and tables for collecting data, directories to visualize data, payment systems, and third-party data connectors to implement automation. Low-code platforms can solve these problems.

Vendors Need To Solve The Cost Problem

While a handful of famous $1 billion+ “unicorns” dominate the conversation surrounding the startup world, most startups operate on smaller scales and with tighter budgets. For them, the cost of a full-fledged low-/no-code platform is formidable. Vendors can solve this problem by developing pricing models that companies can grow into. As they grow, vendor revenues will too.

Think About Communities Instead Of Companies

The startup ecosystem is a landscape of formal and informal communities. Instead of trying to sell to specific companies, find ways to invest in entire communities or groups of companies. Consider exploring partnerships with accelerators, incubators, tech nonprofits, and labs in universities. When managed properly, communities have spurred growth in the procurement of new customers and the retention of early adopters who are loyal to the brand.

Bottom Line

The startup market is huge and getting bigger: Last year, US startups raised almost $330 billion. This is a huge market for low-code development, but unlocking its potential for revenue growth requires a different approach. Vendors will need to think like venture capitalists: Buy in early and reap your rewards on the back end. To learn more about low code and the startup market, see my recent report Tapping Into Low-Code Startup Development. Also, be sure to check out my session at the upcoming Technology & Innovation North America event.

Written with Zachary Stone.