6 min read

No-code is the future (Building Apocode #1)

No-code is the future (Building Apocode #1)
Photo by Christopher Gower / Unsplash

No-code tools aim to allow anyone to create software applications without writing code. Low-code tools are similar but still allow code use in some situations.

This article explains why no-code is the future of software development and introduces my next project: Apocode.

The no-code market is growing

From a market point of view, low-code and no-code are projected to grow to 65.15 billion USD by 2027, at a staggering 26.1% per year. To put that into perspective, it is growing faster than the overall public cloud market (20.4%) and is on par with, or faster than, its fastest-growing sub-segments:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) growing at 30.6%
  • Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) growing at 26.1%
  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS) growing at 16.1%.

This makes sense, in my opinion, as no-code can be seen as the next abstraction layer of the Internet.

Layer 1 - Infrastructure-as-a-service

First, IaaS abstracted networking and servers. Instead of buying physical machines and spending hours configuring them, businesses could create fleets of servers within a few minutes. For example, there is a clear contrast between what eBay had to do to scale up and how startups scale nowadays. It's virtually night and day. The best-known IaaS providers are AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

Layer 2 - Platform-as-a-service

Next, some companies decided to go one step further and started to provide opinionated deployment solutions built on top of IaaS or their own servers. The value proposition shifted from "create a server in one click" to "deploy your application in one click". The story of Heroku describes it well.

Layer 3 - Software-as-as-service

After that, SaaS companies began taking full advantage of IaaS and PaaS to create sophisticated products to solve their customers' problems. There are countless examples of success stories: Slack, Hubspot, Mailchimp, DocuSign, Shopify, Zendesk, ... The value proposition shifted again to "gain a business capability in one click".

Layer 4 - No-code and low-code

And finally, no-code and low-code go one step further. They allow companies to create products without having to figure out how to make infrastructure, platform and software fit together. Eventually, "create your product in one click" will be the most attractive value proposition for entrepreneurs and businesses.

Ultimately, companies want to create their own SaaS products to provide value to their customers. Therefore, the more existing layers of abstraction they can rely on, the faster they can deliver on their promises.

Product development is too slow

So, how long does it take to build a SaaS product using IaaS, PaaS, other SaaS, and/or a team of software engineers? On average, 4 to 12 months.

Lean Product Development and Agile alleviate the pain by providing methodologies to create value much earlier in the development process. But, unfortunately, they don't solve the whole problem. Many entrepreneurs have already validated their ideas, so all they need is a better way of bringing them to market.

And where is that product development time spent? In my experience, companies spend less than 30% of it on core features that directly provide business value. But the startups I worked for have been very time and capital efficient, so I am probably grossly overestimating. The remaining 70% is still needed for building infrastructure, data engineering, test automation, frontend, etc. In other words, that 70% is necessary to be able to deliver the 30%. So what's the catch? This work is almost exactly the same in all companies. It is duplicate work.

Considering it takes $15,000-$50,000 to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and $50,000-$1,000,000 to create a usable product, it means time and money are wasted on duplicate work that does not provide any direct business value. Therefore, doesn't "Buy no-code" make more sense than "Build your own code"?

Existing tools aren't enough

There are already some well-built no-code platforms out there. For example:

  • Zapier (founded in 2012) provides a workflow automation engine to connect APIs. When something important or scheduled happens, Zapier will execute a workflow to insert data somewhere or send a notification. It grew to $140M in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) after raising only $1.4M of funding.
  • Bubble (founded in 2012) provides a visual website builder to create web apps and workflows. It started slowly, but its growth accelerated in the past few years, and it eventually raised $100M in 2021.
  • Retool (founded in 2017) provides a powerful no-code solution which allows customers to create internal tools. It is easy to configure and can connect to many data sources. It raised $45M in 2022 ($141M in total).

From my perspective, they are still far from what the perfect no-code tool could look like:

  • Zapier focuses on workflow automation and cannot be used to create entire products. This was a deliberate choice by the company and, in my opinion, an effective one, as it allowed them to keep a crisp value proposition and dominate their sub-market.
  • Bubble created a UI editor and a low-level workflow manager. They eliminated the code, but not the need to understand how applications work on a deep technical level. In other words, you still need a "Bubble developer" to create a Bubble app. It is an improvement, as the skill level required is lower than for a regular developer, but it's still not enough. To entirely remove the need for technical knowledge, Bubble would need to be workflow-first. Unfortunately, it's impossible to retrofit this into their product as users have already created too many custom apps. I think the company will continue doing well and will become extremely popular with web agencies.
  • Retool focuses on internal applications. I see them becoming the go-to solution for the creation of admin panels. They could also capture a sizeable chunk of the data engineering services market as many companies unable to create a data lake could use Retool to query their data from where it is.

In order to fully allow entrepreneurs and businesses to create SaaS products with (almost) no code, the perfect tool would need to be workflow-first, have a scope larger than Bubble, and be as well delivered and loved as Retool.

The next-gen solution

Ensuring the existence of that perfect no-code SaaS creator is important to me.

I have spent many years working for multi-product companies where I helped build websites and mobile applications. Each time, I was deeply frustrated by the duplication of efforts. I always thought, "A better solution must exist". And yet, years later, it still does not...

This is why today I am starting Apocode. I want to solve the no-code SaaS problem once and for all. Apo is a Greek prefix meaning "away from". Fitting, I thought, for a low-code to no-code tool.

Initially, we will focus only on one subset of potential users: automation enthusiasts (edit: that changed, we will start with micro-SaaS). They will have already automated something, or know what they want to automate. But unfortunately, they lack the necessary tools to share their scripts/workflows with their teammates or peers in other companies. We will solve this issue and, over time, as Apocode grows, provide value to more sophisticated groups of users such as micro-saas founders, startups, and enterprises. More on that in a future post.

Of course, building Apocode is not risk-free. What if we can't create a product capable of solving 90-95% of the problem through no-code, and the remaining 5-10% through low-code? What if we can build the product but can't sell it in sufficient volume or at a price that makes sense? What if we have too many operational issues?

I'm confident we will overcome these potential issues along the way. And anyway, it's worth trying. I would love to live in a world where entrepreneurs creating SaaS businesses could avoid wasting time and money reinventing the wheel.

Building in public

Ideally, I would like to build as much of Apocode as possible in public.


  • To get feedback. Feedback is a tool necessary for continuous learning and one of the main levers of success. The more I share, the more feedback I will receive, and the better the product will be.
  • To attract talent. I will need a strong team to build and develop Apocode. In my experience, people with a growth mindset love transparency.
  • To build trust. Building in public will help potential customers understand why the company exists and how it truly cares about their needs.

How can you help?

If you like the idea, here's what you can do to help make Apocode a success:

  • If you want to join the product waitlist, sign up here. We are currently in private beta. We will give access to more people in the next few months.
  • If you want to follow my entrepreneurial journey, you can subscribe to my blog. I write technical and non-technical posts. You will be asked to choose which ones you want to receive when subscribing.
  • If you simply want to spread the word, please share Apocode's website or any of my blog posts on social media.
  • If you want to provide feedback, discuss the idea further or get involved, email me at nicolas.tresegnie@gmail.com