Abstra, which has developed a no-code tool for designers and programmers to build professional apps, has raised $2.3 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Latin America Fund.
Bruno Vieira Costa founded Rio de Janeiro-based Abstra in March of 2020. Costa graduated from college in 2018 and already has one startup sale under his belt. The serial entrepreneur, who says he’s been programming since he was seven years old, previously co-founded and served as CTO to an edtech startup, PaperX. That company sold to the larger, venture-backed edtech Descomplica when Costa was 23 years old. Before college, he had also co-founded a game studio called Sinextra that he says “had some huge Brazilian customers.”
His goal with Abstra is simple: to help people make apps without coding. It is, in particular, good for agencies who want to deliver faster results or for non-technical departments that need to iterate faster but depend on centralized engineering teams to implement everything, according to Costa. With Abstra, designers and junior programmers can build professional websites and apps “much faster than senior developers in bigger companies,” Costa said.
“We allow easy-to-use customization without the UI limitations that no-code tools commonly have,” he added.
While no-code is supposed to already be easy, Costa believes that some no-code tools struggle to serve designers because they need a lot of fine tuning while having no coding skills.
“Some are too technical while others are just assembling pre-built interfaces,” he said. “We are developing a mechanism that tackles both problems in that it is easy to use and flexible.”
Abstra is focused on late-/growth-stage tech companies and enterprise IT consulting companies. So far, the startup is growing MRR (monthly recurring revenue) 45% on average and has landed 11 customers, including Accenture, Stone and Descomplica. The startup participated in Y Combinator’s spring 2021 batch before catching SoftBank’s eye. Iporanga, Alexia Ventures and some angels have also put money in the company.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, every business has had “to go somewhat digital.”
“This exploded the demand for software production,” Costa told TechCrunch. “But there are just not enough developers available. So no-code was hugely beneficial with this.”
The young startup got the opportunity to pitch Accenture, a consulting firm that had over $50 billion in revenue in 2021, because Costa had a friend in common with some people who worked there.
“I showed our results from previous clients and a product demo and they decided to run a pilot at that same meeting,” Costa told TechCrunch. “They are now one of our most active users. As an enterprise consulting firm, using tools like ours makes them much more competitive.”
Alexia Ventures’ Patrick Arippol told TechCrunch that his firm believes that the “no and low code opportunity set is in its early days.”
“Abstra’s initial product showed much promise and potential at a global level, based on early customer feedback and on the product’s architecture and underlying premises,” he wrote via email.
The startup plans to use the new capital primarily toward beefing up its current nine-person staff, particularly across its engineering, marketing, sales and operations teams.