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No-code/low-code software developers are looking for new generation toolsets to create increasingly sophisticated “intelligent” applications to meet a rapidly growing demand. Switchboard – which manufactures an innovative development platform that includes the first fault monitoring and incident response capabilities for no-code environments – has emerged as a leader in the genre and today unveiled a new layer of infrastructure 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 wreak havoc. The company claims its technology enables teams to see more uptime, more reliability, and smoother workflows. 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 workflow building platform).
The investor community has also shown interest. 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, early-stage venture capital firm known for its investments in social networking platforms, consumer brands and software-as-a-service (SaaS) and Web3.
The no-code trend continues to grow
More and more 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 if any of these platforms encounter underlying data changes or connections break down.
Switchboard aims to prevent outages by monitoring these platforms, reporting inconsistencies and then identifying possible remedial actions, CEO and co-founder Philip Lakin told VentureBeat. With the new funding, the company will take its problem-solving capabilities a step further. By using AI to predict and prevent failures, the company can save its users tremendous amounts of time and costly mistakes.
For example, before a team adjusts a question in a lead form on its website, Switchboard automates alerts that inform the editor that a change is also needed in the corresponding database or customer relationship management (CRM) system, the company said .
“Switchboard is one of the visionary companies that is adapting traditional developer-centric tools and processes to the new frontier of no-code platforms,” said Sam Lessin, general partner at Slow Ventures, in a media consultancy. “As companies reinvent the way they do business using these platforms, there is a need to understand not only the connections between applications, but also how well data moves across the enterprise.”
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 these no-code toolspaces to (initially) provide fault monitoring in the same way there are fault monitoring tools for developer-specific applications in AWS etc.
Switchboard isn’t considered autonomous or self-healing in the sense that it doesn’t automatically fix no-code automations (at least today), Lakin said. “But we’re significantly reducing the lag time that all no-code tools have to alert you to bugs,” he said. “We believe no-code professionals should have the same level of understanding of their infrastructure as traditional developers, so they can fix problems before they have a significant business impact.”
The development of future Web3-like apps
“Much of the initial app development is now done by building a working prototype in no-code tools, rather than showing clients non-working wireframes,” Lakin told VentureBeat. “Some no-code based applications are now supporting multi-million dollar companies at scale, and there is always a need to strengthen infrastructure when the business depends on these tools.
“We see this trend continuing as Web3 apps become more popular with companies that need to develop applications cost-effectively and quickly. Reliable infrastructure will be important whenever there is a mission-critical need for uptime,” said Lakin.
Founded in 2021 by Lakin and Brent Summers, Switchboard has hubs in Atlanta and San Francisco, with remote team members spread across the globe. In his most recent 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, as a co-founder of the nonprofit HelpKitchen, relied on no-code tools to serve over a million meals to those in need.
“When no-code automation breaks down, teams can no longer rely on it for mission-critical needs. At Switchboard, we’re focused on helping teams thrive and scale with the tools they already love,” said Summers.
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.
According to G2, the market leaders in the no-code/low-code development space include companies such as ServiceNow, Airtable, Appy Pie, Quixy, AppSheet, Jotform Tables, SurveySparrow and Salesforce Platform.
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