India’s no-code boom is ushering in a new wave of entrepreneurs

3D printed social network logos are pictured on a keyboard in front of binary code in this illustration taken September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
3D printed social network logos are pictured on a keyboard in front of binary code in this illustration taken September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
Image: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
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Vensy Krishna was among the millions of desperate Indians who scoured their towns for a hospital bed a few months ago. The Hyderabad-based lawyer’s mother had tested Covid-19 positive during the devastating second wave.

Fresh from her trauma, she put her knowledge of no-code tools to create Hyd COVID Resources to help others in the city. It enlisted essential resources such as hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, plasma, medicines, meal services, quarantine services, and so on, in Hyderabad.

Created in only two hours, it went viral in no time. Krishna built the app using Glide, a no-code development platform.

No-code web development involves creating software using a graphic user interface, instead of conventional code-writing. Coding knowledge isn’t requisite to build and launch ideas when such tools are handy.

“No-code tools have been here for quite some time, but it wasn’t all that rage,” Krishna said. “Everything has changed in the past six months, or even until December last year. With the Hyd COVID Resources, the first iteration took two hours. But of course, we kept improving after it went viral.”

In late April, the lawyer held a two-hour workshop on her experience, helping others create their own Covid resource apps in other cities.

With the “no-code” boom reaching India, launching an app-based business is becoming increasingly simpler. This is helping several firms rapidly transition online to cater to the pandemic-induced surge in remote working and online activity.

Globally, no-code platforms have midwifed all sorts of apps, including Twitter and LinkedIn clones. The US-based Vladimir Leytus created the microblogging site’s doppelganger in less than a week without writing a line of code.

The “no-code” boom in India

With increased adoption of software as a service (SaaS) in India, many tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs are now signing up for no-code programming workshops. Several platforms such as Bubble, Webflow, Glide, Makerpad, and Thunkable, have sprung up to provide training to quickly build and launch startups.

The movement itself rests on the fundamental belief that technology should enable and facilitate the creation, not hinder it.

“Startups are all about speed of execution. The speed at which you can iterate and test ideas increases tenfold with these no-code tools,” said Achina Mayya, a Bengaluru-based Webflow developer. “These tools essentially shave off latency from idea to product from a few months to a few days. So you can launch fast, fail fast, and iterate fast.”

“Lots of people from every industry want to learn how to use no-code tools. Even tech folks are also using no-code tools to test their ideas for faster and cheaper results,” said Sahil Patel, an engineering student from Ahmedabad. His own list of no-code products include StartupLyst, Become A VC, Maker School, and Grad Speeches.

The 20-year-old now plans to launch a fellowship for tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs to create a landing page, a mobile app, a directory, and complex web apps.

No more burning cash

Hiring a web development team can be expensive. Particularly, if an active online presence is absolutely essential for the business.

No-code platforms can often be a far more economical alternative, costing as little as $50 a month if not absolutely nothing. For instance, one can create a complex gaming app through a no-code development platform Buildbox. Or a simple Twitter bot using Glide.

India has the world’s third largest startup ecosystem after the US and China. As on June 3, 2021, 50,000 such firms have been recognised by the country’s government.

It now looks like, these numbers will swell as more entrepreneurs say yes to no-code.