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No-code/low-code software developers are searching for new-generation toolsets to create more and more sophisticated “smart” applications to satisfy a fast-growing demand. Switchboard — which makes an innovative dev platform that includes the first error monitoring and incident response functionalities for no-code environments — has stepped forward as a leader in this genre and today revealed a new infrastructure layer it has built for its platform.
With this new layer of functionality, Switchboard enables companies that rely on no-code and low-code tools to monitor the health of their automations and identify potential errors before they can wreak havoc. The company claims that its technology enables teams to see more uptime, more reliability and smoother workflow. It currently supports service providers such as Zapier (which allows users to integrate the web applications they use and automate workflows) and Make (formerly Integromat, a visual platform for building workflows).
The investment community has taken interest too. The Atlanta, Georgia-based company, also announced today that it has closed a $4.5 million seed round led by Slow Ventures, an early-stage focused venture capital firm known for its investments in social networking platforms, consumer brands, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and Web3.
No-code trend keeps growing
A growing number of companies are adopting no-code platforms (such as app builders, databases, automation platforms and design tools) to bridge the gap between expensive technical development and the speed and flexibility required for day-to-day business operations. However, serious problems can arise when any of these platforms encounter underlying data changes or connections break down.
Switchboard aims to prevent breakdowns by monitoring these platforms, reporting inconsistencies and then identifying potential remedies, CEO and cofounder Philip Lakin told VentureBeat. With the new funding, the company will take its problem-solving capabilities one step further. By using AI to anticipate and prevent the breakdowns from ever happening, the company can save its users massive amounts of time and costly errors.
For example, before a team adjusts a question on a sales leads form on their website, Switchboard automates alerts notifying the editor that a change will also be needed in the corresponding database or customer relationship management (CRM) system, the company claimed.
“Switchboard is one of the visionary companies adapting traditionally developer-focused tools and processes to the new frontier of no-code platforms,” Sam Lessin, general partner at Slow Ventures, said in a media advisory. “With the way that companies are re-inventing the way they do business using these platforms, it’s becoming a necessity to understand not only the connections between applications but also how well data is moving across the organization.”
What sets Switchboard apart?
“A significant number of no-code tools already exist in the spreadsheet-as-database space (Airtable), data integration space (Zapier) and Internal Tooling space (Retool),” Lakin told VentureBeat. “The Switchboard platform is a meta-layer on top of those no-code tool spaces to (initially) provide error monitoring in the same way that there are error monitoring tools for developer-specific applications in AWS, etc.
Switchboard is not considered autonomic or self-healing in the sense that it does not auto-repair no-code automations (at least, today), Lakin said. “But we do significantly lower the lag time that all no-code tools have in alerting you to errors,” he said. “We feel that no-code professionals should have the same level of understanding of their infrastructure as traditional developers do so that they can fix things before there is a significant business impact.”
The development of future Web3-type apps
“A lot of initial app development is now done by building a workable prototype in no-code tools rather than presenting customers with non-functional wireframes,” Lakin told VentureBeat. “Some applications built on no-code are powering multi-million dollar companies at scale today and there is always a need to shore up infrastructure when the business depends on these tools.
“We see this trend continuing as Web3 apps become more popular for organizations needing to develop applications cheaply and quickly. Reliable infrastructure will always be important when there is a business-critical need for uptime,” Lakin said.
Founded in 2021 by Lakin and Brent Summers, Switchboard has hubs in Atlanta and San Francisco, with remote team members distributed across the globe. In his last role as a solutions architect, Lakin most recently used no-code to build an onboarding process for more than 15,000 real estate agents at Compass. During the pandemic, Summers relied on no-code tools to serve over one million meals to those in need as a cofounder of nonprofit HelpKitchen.
“When no-code automation breaks down, teams can’t rely on them for business-critical needs. With Switchboard, we’re focused on helping teams succeed and scale with the tools they already love,” Summers said.
A mix of new and existing investors participated in the round, including Backend Capital, Charge Ventures, Caffeinated Capital, Overline Ventures, Forum Ventures, Soma Capital, TnT Ventures, New Normal Ventures and Polymath Capital. A number of prominent no-code founders have also invested including the founders of Zapier, Bubble, Betty Blocks, Internal and Carrd.
Market leaders in the no-code/low code development space, according to G2, include companies like ServiceNow, Airtable, Appy Pie, Quixy, AppSheet, Jotform Tables, SurveySparrow and Salesforce Platform.