French startup Forest Admin is launching a cloud-based version of its product. The company helps you create flexible back-end admin panels for operations teams. Essentially, Forest Admin helps development teams spend less time on back office tools so they can focus on the actual product.
With the cloud version, companies just have to integrate the service with their own SQL database. After that, they can start using Forest Admin to manage their business.
“The onboarding is very similar to business intelligence tools,” Forest Admin co-founder and CEO Sandro Munda told me. But BI tools mostly fetch data so that it can be transformed, analyzed and compiled into quarterly reports and reused in business planning meetings.
Forest Admin is all about interacting with your product’s data. Companies can also integrate the admin panel with third-party services like Stripe, Mixpanel and Intercom. Forest Admin users can then trigger actions and create workflows with different levels of permission in the company.
Unlike other internal tool builders, such as Retool, Forest Admin is focused on admin panels exclusively. It isn’t designed to be an all-in-one internal tool builder because sophisticated services also tend to be complex.
For instance, a fintech company could use Forest Admin to review and validate documents and make sure it complies with KYC and AML regulation (“know your customer” and “anti-money laundering”) — Qonto is one of the startup’s biggest customers, with 2,000 people using Forest Admin. An e-commerce company could also use Forest Admin to refund customers or order an item once again in case it’s been lost.
In addition to centralizing all your data, a tool like Forest Admin also makes it easier to interact with your data. Companies can filter their user base and create segments, update and delete records and more.
Currently, Forest Admin customers install a component on their servers. This agent can read your data and makes it accessible through an API. Forest Admin hosts the front-end interface on its own servers. When customers connect to their admin panels, Forest Admin fetches information from the component that is installed on your infrastructure.
With the new cloud version, it greatly lowers the barrier to entry as you don’t have to install Forest Admin’s component on your servers. With the right firewall rules and tunneling software, your database should remain secure. “There’s no data duplication, you make changes on your database directly,” Munda said.
“Our goal is really to attract a new segment of customers,” he added. Previously, you needed to integrate Forest’s agent in your own application. If a company is already using high-level cloud services exclusively, they couldn’t use Forest Admin before the release of the cloud-based version.
Many operations-driven companies already use Forest Admin, such as fintech, marketplace, mobility and healthcare companies. “We are close to profitability but it isn’t what we’re aiming for right now,” Munda said. And the cloud product should help when it comes to bringing more revenue.