Introducing Noloco 2.0

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Announcing our new direction and sharing learnings from the last year.

What’s Noloco?

Noloco is a no-code platform for teams to instantly create apps powered by their business data. Easily turn Airtable bases and spreadsheets  into customer portals or internal tools without code.


TLDR

  • We’re going to make it a whole lot easier to build customer portals, internal apps and partner portals around your existing business data
  • Noloco 2.0 will do all the heavy lifting for you! Once you connect your existing data from spreadsheets and tools like Airtable, we’ll automatically create the UI for you which you can then tweak and customize to your liking
  • We’ll be connecting to different data sources over the coming months - starting off with an Airtable integration.

Want early access? Sign up to our mailing list here.


We’re always learning

We’ve come a long way since we started working on Noloco in the summer of 2020. Here’s a quick recap of the journey so far and our main learnings.


Stage 1: Full-stack web app builder

Our journey started with a super flexible, full-stack web app builder. 

The promise of the platform was great. An all-in-one platform to build any type of website or web app of your dreams with built-in database, automations and flexible UI styling options. However, despite a lot of enthusiasm from the no-code community, the product ultimately had many flaws.

Learnings:

  • Very steep learning curve
  • People struggle when starting with a blank canvas - it’s very difficult to go from zero to one
  • Everyone wanted to build completely different things - there was literally an endless roadmap of features and integrations to build

Most people don’t have the time to invest hours into learning a new tool. We knew we had to change direction slightly away from the initial goal of building the greatest-web-app-builder-of-all-time.


Stage 2: Client Portals

Shortly after we launched our first solution, people started coming to us asking if they could build customer facing portals with our platform. 

We thought this was super interesting. These were mostly SMBs who were looking for a way to centralize their client communication, file-sharing and billing and reduce the amount of time they would spend manually updating clients via email and phone. As a team, we’d spent much of our prior careers working on B2B portals at tech companies, so this was really exciting for us.

We decided to dive in. 

We revamped the builder experience to make it a whole lot easier to build portals. For example, you started with a nav bar and had a more limited selection of UI components to choose from. We also built out modules like file-sharing and messaging that you could add in one click.

Our new approach limited the kinds of web apps you could build with Noloco (for example, public facing websites and marketplaces were not a good fit). By limiting the experience, we were able to better serve our core use cases. This was definitely a step in the right direction - however, we hadn’t cracked it just yet.

Learnings:

  • Our builder experience was still too difficult for busy SMB owners
  • We were doing a lot of handholding to get customers over the line
  • Key insight: our most successful customers were the ones that already had their business data elsewhere - whether in spreadsheets, CRMs or tools like Airtable and were looking to share some of that data with customers or teammates. 


Introducing Noloco 2.0

We started as a hugely flexible but complex tool. Now, with Noloco 2.0 we’ve simplified the builder experience. A lot. So much so that we’re actually going to automatically build the UI for our customers. 

Millions of teams manage core business data in spreadsheets or Airtable. But as their team or datasets grow, managing their data in this way becomes increasingly difficult. Teams need a dedicated UI and different levels of permissions to securely interact with the underlying data. Yet few of these teams have access to dedicated engineering resources.

That’s where Noloco comes in with a simple four step process to get up-and-running:

  1. Connect your data:
    Start by connecting your data, whether that’s in tools like Airtable or a spreadsheet like Google Sheets.

  2. Sit back while we build the UI:
    We’ll automagically create a UI around your data. For example, if you have a spreadsheet with a list of customers, we’ll create a page in your app to show that customer list.

  3. Customize:
    Next, you can customize the UI to add or remove pages, sections and fields; add your branding; connect a custom domain and set up permissions. With Noloco, admins can define user roles and permissions to keep tight control over who can see and interact with what data.
  4. Invite:
    Invite your team, customers or partners. They’ll automatically receive welcome emails that you can customize to fit your brand.

What’s next?

We’re currently beta testing our new experience. The first data source we’re integrating with is Airtable. We’ll soon be adding connections to other data sources like Postgres & Google Sheets.

Want early access? Join our mailing list.

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