To buy time for a failing startup, recreate the engineering process

In non-aerobatic fixed-wing aviation, spins are an emergency. If you don’t have spin recovery training, you can easily make things worse, dramatically increasing your chances of crashing. Despite the life-and-death consequences, licensed amateur pilots in the United States are not required to train for this. Uncontrolled spins don’t happen often enough to warrant the training.

Startups can enter the equivalent of a spin as well. My startup, Kolide, entered a dangerous spin in early 2018, only a year after our Series A fundraise. We had little traction and we were quickly burning through our sizable cash reserves. We were spinning out of control, certain to hit the ground in no time.

Kolide had a lot going for it that enabled me to recover the company, but by far the most important was that we recognized we were in a spin very early, and we had enough cash remaining (and therefore sufficient time) to execute a recovery plan.

All spins start with a stall — a reduction in lift when either the aircraft is flying too slowly or the nose is pointed too high. In Kolide’s case, we were doing both.

First, we raised too much money too fast. In order to justify the post-money valuation that came with the raise, we set unattainable goals. To make matters worse, we lacked the confidence in our product and strategy, so we developed our solution with hesitancy, underspending in critical areas. As a result, we were flying too steep and too slow. We stalled.

If a stall isn’t corrected promptly, a spin can develop. Flat spins are one of the worst. Once the flat spin starts, there are a number of techniques experienced pilots should perform to recover the aircraft. Nearly all of these techniques require a critical resource, altitude — or, put another way, time.

Just like amateur pilots, startup CEOs don’t receive spin recovery training. When Kolide was spinning out of control, the vast majority of the advice I received was to cut our losses and sell the company or return the money to the investors.

At the time, I didn’t find any promising examples of companies with these same problems successfully recovering; I found only smoldering wreckage. By February 2019, my co-founders departed.

Despite this tell-tale sign of imminent demise, I was ultimately able to recover and put us on track for a great fundraise. Here’s how I recreated the engineering process.

Buying time

Kolide had a lot going for it that enabled me to recover the company, but by far the most important was that we recognized we were in a spin very early, and we had enough cash remaining (and therefore sufficient time) to execute a recovery plan. Even waiting just a few more months would have likely changed the outcome.

Twitch UX teardown: The Anchor Effect and de-risking decisions

Twitch evidently has no issues getting people to spend time on its platform — even politicians can draw huge crowds by streaming themselves playing games. But monetizing video content is hard, and Twitch has missed revenue targets for the last few years.

So how does Twitch make money? And more importantly, what subtle psychology does it use within its iOS app to encourage viewers to spend more?

I’m a UX analyst and the founder of UX community Built for Mars — where I regularly tear down some of the best products in the world, showing you how they’re made, and, more importantly, how they could be improved.

I recently published my analysis of Twitch. But for Extra Crunch subscribers, I wanted to go a little deeper and bridge the gap between what Twitch does and how you can make meaningful changes to your product’s UX.

In general, you should encourage the user to make the hard decision (i.e., to commit to subscribing), after understanding all the benefits.

So here are three UX tips to discuss during your next team Zoom call.

The Anchor Effect

In short: The Anchor Effect is a heuristic bias whereby people will become attached (anchored) to an initial piece of information. For example, spending $1,000 on an iPhone may not seem like a bad deal if you saw an ad for the $1,500 one first — by comparison, it looks “cheap.”

On Twitch, when a new user subscribes to a channel for the first time, they’re shown the benefits of subscribing, and then asked how long they want those benefits for before being shown a price.

Image Credits: Twitch

This type of bias is everywhere. For example, the order of your pricing tiers will affect conversions — which is likely why Mailchimp shows its pricing tiers in reverse order.

Cased announces $2.25M seed round to help developers work in production environments

An issue every developer faces is dealing with problems on a live application without messing it up. In fact, in many companies such access is restricted. Cased, an early stage startup, has come up with a solution to provide a way to work safely with the live application.

Today, the company announced a $2.25 million seed round led by Founders Fund along with a group of prestigious technology angel investors. The company also announced that the product is generally available to all developers today for the first time. It’s worth noting that the funding actually closed last April, and they are just announcing it today.

Bryan Byrne, CEO and co-founder at Cased says he and his fellow co-founders, all of whom cut their teeth at GitHub, experienced this problem of working in live production environments firsthand. He says that the typical response by larger companies is to build a tool in-house, but this isn’t an option for many smaller companies.

“We saw firsthand at GitHub how the developer experience gets more difficult over time, and it becomes more difficult for developers to get production work done. So we wanted to provide a developer friendly way to get production work done,” Byrne explained.

He said without proper tooling, it forces CTOs to restrict access to the production code, which in turn makes it difficult to fix problems as they arise in production environments. “Companies are forced to restrict access to production and restrict access to tools that developers need to work in production. A lot of the biggest tech companies invest in millions to deliver great developer experiences, but obviously smaller companies don’t have those resources. So we want to give all companies the building blocks they need to deliver a great developer experience out of the box,” he said.

This involves providing development teams with open access to production command line tools by adding logging and approval workflows to sensitive operations. That enables executives to open up access with specific rules and the ability to audit who has been accessing the production environment.

The company launched at the beginning of last year and the founders have been working with design partners and early customers prior to officially opening the site to the general public today.

They currently have five people including the four founders, but Byrne says that they have had a good initial reaction to the product and are in the process of hiring additional employees. He says that as they do, diversity and inclusion is a big priority for the founders, even as a very early stage company.

“It’s very prominent in our company handbook, so that we make sure we prioritize an inclusive culture from the very beginning because [ … ] we know firsthand that if you don’t invest in that early, it can really hold you back as a company and as a culture. Culture starts from day one, for sure,” he said.

As part of that, the company intends to be remote first even post-pandemic, a move he believes will make it easier to build a diverse company.

“We will definitely be remote first. We believe that also helps with diversity and inclusion as you allow people to work from anywhere, and we have a lot of experience in leading remote-first culture from our time at GitHub, so we began as a remote culture and we will continue to do that,” he said.

ReleaseHub nabs $2.7M seed to give developers on-demand environments

Every developer relies on environments like testing, staging and production as they build software, but building them can be a time-consuming operation. ReleaseHub, an early stage startup that was part of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 cohort, wants to change that by providing a service to make environments available on demand.

Today, the company announced a $2.7 million seed, and also announced that service is generally available while they were at it. Sequoia led the round with participation from Y Combinator, Rogue VC, Liquid Capital and unnamed angel investors.

Company co-founder and CEO Tommy McClung says that every developer in the world has to use environments in their development workflow, but it remains for the most part a manual process.

“All of those environments are incredibly difficult to build. So the problem we’re solving is the ability to create those on demand. Instead of having to have a DevOps team that is responsible for managing, creating and maintaining them, the software does that and you can instantaneously create them,” McClung told me.

The service is integrated into GitHub and BitBucket, so you can build the environments on the fly as you need them based on templates for the various type. “The real value that we’re bringing to the table here is that we’re bringing that together in an almost virtualized way so that you can reproduce these environments on demand,” he said.

McClung who has been working in technology for over 20 years says this is a problem he’s seen over and over again at the various companies he’s worked at over the years. After running engineering at TrueCar, his most recent company, he decided to build a startup to solve the problem once and for all.

He notes that this is the second time he’s been a YC company and while the size and scope of the operation has changed since he last participated in 2009, the process remains much the same. For starters, there were 20 companies involved back then and over 200 this time around, but he says by breaking it down into smaller groups, it helped create the same feel.

The company launched at the beginning of last year, and spent last year building the product and working with design partners and beta customers ahead of today’s release. The plan is to offer a subscription service where companies pay by the number of environments they create.

ReleaseHub currently has 10 employees including the three founders with plans to add more, especially engineers to help continue building out the solution and adding more layers of functionality. As he does this, McClung says bringing in a diverse group of employees is a priority for the founding team.

“I mean I’ve been building companies for a long time and it has to be embedded into the DNA of the company at the very earliest stages, so making sure that you have diverse talent [from the start],” he said.

He says the plan is to stay 100% remote even after offices open again. “We were forced into being remote and actually we made it work really well for us. You know in a lot of ways it’s advantageous for work-life balance,” he said.

Hacking my way into analytics: A creative’s journey to design with data

Growing up, did you ever wonder how many chairs you’d have to stack to reach the sky?

No? I guess that’s just me then.

As a child, I always asked a lot of “how many/much” questions. Some were legitimate (“How much is 1 USD in VND?”); some were absurd (“How tall is the sky and can it be measured in chairs?”). So far, I’ve managed to maintain my obnoxious statistical probing habit without making any mortal enemies in my 20s. As it turns out, that habit comes with its perks when working in product.

Growing up, did you ever wonder how many chairs you’d have to stack to reach the sky?

My first job as a product designer was at a small but energetic fintech startup whose engineers also dabbled in pulling data. I constantly bothered them with questions like, “How many exports did we have from that last feature launched?” and “How many admins created at least one rule on this page?” I was curious about quantitative analysis but did not know where to start.

I knew I wasn’t the only one. Even then, there was a growing need for basic data literacy in the tech industry, and it’s only getting more taxing by the year. Words like “data-driven,” “data-informed” and “data-powered” increasingly litter every tech organization’s product briefs. But where does this data come from? Who has access to it? How might I start digging into it myself? How might I leverage this data in my day-to-day design once I get my hands on it?

Data discovery for all: What’s in the way?

“Curiosity is our compass” is one of Kickstarter’s guiding principles. Powered by a desire for knowledge and information, curiosity is the enemy of many larger, older and more structured organizations — whether they admit it or not — because it hinders the production flow. Curiosity makes you pause and take time to explore and validate the “ask.” Asking as many what’s, how’s, why’s, who’s and how many’s as possible is important to help you learn if the work is worth your time.

Atlassian launches a Jira for every team

Atlassian today announced a new edition of its Jira project management tool, Jira Work Management. The company has long been on a journey of bringing Jira to teams beyond the software development groups it started out with. With Jira Service Management, it is successfully doing that with IT teams. With Jira Core, it also moved further in this direction, but Jira Work Management takes this a step further (and will replace Jira Core). The idea here is to offer a version of Jira that enables teams across marketing, HR, finance, design and other groups to manage their work and — if needed — connect it to that of a company’s development teams.

“JIRA Software’s this de-facto standard,” Atlassian’s VP of Product Noah Wasmer told me. “We’re making just huge inroads with JIRA Service Management right now, bringing IT teams into that loop. We have over 100,000 customers now on those two products. So it’s really doing incredibly well. But one of the things that CIOs say is that it’s really tough to put JIRA Software in front of an HR team and the legal team. They often ask, what is code? What is a pull request?”

Image Credits: Atlassian

Wasmer also noted that even though Jira Software is specifically meant for developers, about half of its users are already in other teams that work with these development teams. “We think that [Jira Work Management] gives them the more contextually relevant tool — a tool that actually helps them accelerate and move faster,” Wasmer said.

With Jira Work Management, the company is looking at making it easier for any team to track and manage their work in what Wasmer described as a “universal system and family of product.” As company’s look at how to do remote and hybrid work, Atlassian believes that they’ll need this kind of core product to keep track of the work that is being done. But it’s also about the simple fact that every business is now a software business and while every team’s work touches upon this, marketing and design teams often still work in their own silos.

Image Credits: Atlassian

These different teams, though, also have quite different expectations of the user interface they need to manage their work most effectively. So while Jira Work Management features all of the automation features and privacy controls of its brethren, it is based around a slightly different and simplified user interface than Jira Software, for example.

What’s even more important, though, is that Jira Work Management offers a variety of views for teams to enter and manipulate their data. To get new users onboarded quickly, Atlassian built a set of templates for some of the most common use cases it expects, though users are obviously free to customize all these different views to their hearts’ — and business needs’ — content.

Atlassian also changed some of the language around Jira tickets. There are no ‘stories’ and ‘bugs’ in Jira Work Management (unless you add them yourself) and instead, these templates use words like ‘tasks,’ ‘assets’ (for design use cases) or ‘candidates’ (for HR).

Image Credits: Atlassian

Given the fact that spreadsheets are the universal language of business, it’s maybe no surprise that the List view is core here, with an Excel/Airtable-like experience that should immediately feel familiar to any business user. It’s in-line editable and completely abstracts away the usual Jira ticket, even though underneath, it’s the same taxonomy and infrastructure.

“We really wanted people to walk into this product and just understand that there is work that needs to be done,” Chase Wilson, the head of product marketing for Jira Work Management, said. He noted that the team worked on making the experience feel snappy.

Image Credits: Atlassian

The other view available are pretty straightforward a calendar and Gantt chart-like timeline view, as well as the traditional Kanban board that has long been at the core of Jira (and Agile in general).

Jira Work Management also lets users build forms, using a drag and drop editor that makes it easy for anybody inside an organization to build forms and collect requests that way. Only a few weeks ago, Atlassian announced the acquisition of ThinkTilt, the company behind the popular no-code from builder ProForma and it looks like it is already putting this acquisition to work here.

As Wasmer stressed, Jira Work Management is meant to help different teams get work done in a way that works best for them. But because Jira is now a family of products, it also enables a lot more cross-team collaboration. That means a development team that is working on implementing a GDPR requirement can now build a workflow that ties in with the project board for a legal team that then allows legal to hold up a software release until it approves this new feature.

“We hear about this all the time today,” he said. “They just stick the legal team into JIRA Software — and it over-inundates them with information that’s not relevant to what they’re trying to get done. Now we can expose them. And we also then get that legal team, that marketing team, exposed to different templates for different work. What they’re finding is that once they get used to it for that must-do use case, they start saying: Well, hey, why don’t I use this for contract approvals at the end of the quarter?'”

Image Credits: Atlassian

As for pricing, Atlassian follows its same standard template here, offering a free tier for teams with up to 10 users and then the paid tiers start at $5/user/month, with discounts for larger teams.

Looking ahead, Atlassian plans to add more reporting capabilities, native approvals for faster signoffs and more advanced functionality across the new work views.

It’s worth noting that Jira Work Management is the first product to come out of Point A, Atlassian’s new innovation program “dedicated to connecting early adopter customers with product teams to build the next generation of teamwork tools.”

Botpress nabs $15M Series A to help developers build conversational apps

Botpress, a Montreal-based early stage startup, wants to make it easier for developers to build conversational-based apps, meaning humans interact with the app by speaking instead of typing, clicking or tapping. Today it announced an $15 million Series A from Decibel and Inovia Capital.

“We’re trying to bring human-level digital assistance to the masses, and we do that by giving developers the tools they need to build conversational AI applications, so essentially conversational AI. […] It’s a new way to build and consume software by using human language as a user interface instead of using traditional graphical user interfaces,” Botpress founder and CEO Sylvain Perron told me.

The company has created an open source toolkit to help developers remove some of the complexity associated with creating these applications. “Developers choose us because we provide the right tools to build conversational AI without changing the normal workflow of building software,” Perron explained.

Several years ago, Perron was trying to create a bot application and he just couldn’t find any good guidance to help him, so he decided to build a solution. He released the first version of that tool in 2017 and today he has more than 100,000 developers using the open source tool kit worldwide including a bunch of Fortune 500 companies.

Jon Sakoda who is leading the investment at Decibel says that the company is turning some of that enterprise interest into a business supporting those companies. “Today, we do have a commercial open source offering, which a lot of companies already pay for, but as I think you’ve seen in this current wave of successful open source companies, there’s always a lot of demand for a cloud product. And I think that this financing clearly allows Botpress to invest in building a turnkey cloud offering,” Sakoda says.

He says that what impresses him about Botpress is that developers can build a bot in less than an hour on a laptop, but having a cloud product will remove one more layer of complexity around deploying and scaling the bot in production.

The company, which has offices in Montreal and Quebec City (when they actually go to the office again), currently has 25 employees. The plan is to triple the team size over the next year as they put the investment to work. As they do this, Perron says that diversity and inclusion is a key goal in hiring.

“In our discussions, we want to make sure that we are a very inclusive company as we scale, especially scaling at this pace it’s very easy to […] fall into non inclusive ways, so that’s very top of mind for us, and we’re putting significant effort into making sure that we’re doing this right,” he said.

The company has been remote from its early days, and had just opened an office in Quebec City when the pandemic hit so they haven’t had much opportunity to use it. He expects to have a hybrid approach when they are allowed back in the office, but it will be up to employees whether they come in or not.

Opsera raises $15M for its continuous DevOps orchestration platform

Opsera, a startup that’s building an orchestration platform for DevOps teams, today announced that it has raised a $15 million Series A funding round led by Felicis Ventures. New investor HMG Ventures, as well as existing investors Clear Ventures, Trinity Partners and Firebolt Ventures also participated in this round, which brings the company’s total funding to $19.3 million.

Founded in January 2020, Opsera lets developers provision their CI/CD tools through a single framework. Using this framework, they can then build and manage their pipelines for a variety of use cases, including their software delivery lifecycle, infrastructure as code and their SaaS application releases. With this, Opsera essentially aims to help teams set up and operate their various DevOps tools.

The company’s two co-founders, Chandra Ranganathan and Kumar Chivukula, originally met while working at Symantec a few years ago. Ranganathan then spent the last three years at Uber, where he ran that company’s global infrastructure. Meanwhile, Chivukula ran Symantec’s hybrid cloud services.

Image Credits: Opsera

“As part of the transformation [at Symantec], we delivered over 50+ acquisitions over time. That had led to the use of many cloud platforms, many data centers,” Ranganathan explained. “Ultimately we had to consolidate them into a single enterprise cloud. That journey is what led us to the pain points of what led to Opsera. There were many engineering teams. They all had diverse tools and stacks that were all needed for their own use cases.”

The challenge then was to still give developers the flexibility to choose the right tools for their use cases, while also providing a mechanism for automation, visibility and governance — and that’s ultimately the problem Opsera now aims to solve.

Image Credits: Opsera

“In the DevOps landscape, […] there is a plethora of tools, and a lot of people are writing the glue code,” Opsera co-founder Chivukula noted. “But then they’re not they don’t have visibility. At Opsera, our mission and goal is to bring order to the chaos. And the way we want to do this is by giving choice and flexibility to the users and provide no-code automation using a unified framework.”

Wesley Chan, a managing director for Felicis Ventures who will join the Opsera board, also noted that he believes that one of the next big areas for growth in DevOps is how orchestration and release management is handled.

“We spoke to a lot of startups who are all using black-box tools because they’ve built their engineering organization and their DevOps from scratch,” Chan said. “That’s fine, if you’re starting from scratch and you just hired a bunch of people outside of Google and they’re all very sophisticated. But then when you talk to some of the larger companies. […] You just have all these different teams and tools — and it gets unwieldy and complex.”

Unlike some other tools, Chan argues, Opsera allows its users the flexibility to interface with this wide variety of existing internal systems and tools for managing the software lifecycle and releases.

“This is why we got so interested in investing, because we just heard from all the folks that this is the right tool. There’s no way we’re throwing out a bunch of our internal stuff. This would just wreak havoc on our engineering team,” Chan explained. He believes that building with this wide existing ecosystem in mind — and integrating with it without forcing users onto a completely new platform — and its ability to reduce friction for these teams, is what will ultimately make Opsera successful.

Opsera plans to use the new funding to grow its engineering team and accelerate its go-to-market efforts.

Amazon announces it’s open sourcing DeepRacer device software

When Amazon debuted AWS DeepRacer in 2018, it was meant as a fun way to help developers learn machine learning. While it has evolved since and incorporated DeepRacer competitions, today the company announced it was adding a new wrinkle. It’s open sourcing the software the company created to run these miniature cars.

At its core, the DeepRacer car is a mini computer running Ubuntu Linux and Amazon’s Robot Operating System (ROS). The company believes that by opening up the device software to developers, it will encourage more creative uses of the car by enabling them to change the car’s default behavior.

“With the open sourcing of the AWS DeepRacer device code you can quickly and easily change the default behavior of your currently track-obsessed race car. Want to block other cars from overtaking it by deploying countermeasures? Want to deploy your own custom algorithm to make the car go faster from point A to B? You just need to dream it and code it,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the open .

After introducing the cars in 2018, the company has developed in person DeepRacer leagues, and more recently virtual races. In fact, the company reorganized the leagues last month to encourage new people to get involved with the technology. Adding an open source component could increase interest further as developers get a chance to make this their own, and really add new layers of usage to the cars that haven’t been possible up until now.

The idea behind all of this to teach developers the basics of machine learning, as AWS’ Marcia Villalba wrote in a blog post last month:

“AWS DeepRacer is an autonomous 1/18th scale race car designed to test [reinforcement learning] models by racing virtually in the AWS DeepRacer console or physically on a track at AWS and customer events. AWS DeepRacer is for developers of all skill levels, even if you don’t have any ML experience. When learning RL using AWS DeepRacer, you can take part in the AWS DeepRacer League where you get experience with machine learning in a fun and competitive environment.”

If you want to get involved customizing your car’s software, the project documentation is available on GitHub and on the AWS DeepRacer Open Source page, where you can get started with six sample projects.

n8n raises $12M for its ‘fair code’ approach to low-code workflow automation

As businesses continue to look for better ways to work more efficiently, a pioneer in the space of low-code tools to help automate how apps work together is announcing a round of funding on the back of impressive early traction.

Berlin-based n8n — which provides a framework for both technical and non-technical people to synchronize and integrate data and workflows — has raised a $12 million in a Series A round of funding.

The startup plans to use the money to continue expanding its team, which now numbers 60 people, and to expand its platform and the services it provides to users.

Currently, n8n can help link up and integrate data and functions between more than 200 established applications, as well as any custom apps or services that you might be using in your specific organization. And since launching in October 2019, the startup has picked up an impressive 16,000 users — including both developers and “citizen developers” (those whose jobs might be described as non-technical but they are not afraid to be more hands-on in trying to build in ways to work better).

Now it wants to make the service easier for more of the latter group to get stuck in with using it.

“We are still seen as a technical product and less of one for citizen developers,” founder and CEO Jan Oberhauser said in an interview. “Our plan is to make n8n simpler to use, so that it’s much easier to adopt. We want to give everyone technical superpowers, whether it’s the marketing team or the IT department.” That means for example building not just chatbots but more intelligent ones, or creating new ways of visualizing data in Slack or something else altogether. And n8n’s platform can also be used to build automation within products for example to monitor performance and flag when something might need maintenance.

The round is being led by Felicis Ventures, with Sequoia Capital, firstminute Capital and Harpoon Ventures also participating. Sequoia and firstminute co-led n8n’s seed round about a year ago, which also included participation from Eventbrite’s Kevin Hartz, Supercell’s Ilkka Paananen, and unnamed early employees of Google and Zendesk, among others. The startup has now raised around $14 million and is not disclosing valuation.

There are a number of low-code and no-code startups on the market today and many of them have been seeing a surge of in interest in the last year. It’s a trend I suspect was brought about in no small part by the arrival of Covid-19.

The pandemic not only led to more people working remotely and relying on apps and other cloud-based services to get what they needed to do done, but in many cases it led organizations to refocus on how they were working, and what could be improved. In some cases, it also has meant a severe tightening of belts, and so companies are needing to do more with less human power, another factor leading to more proactive efforts to use software to get more out of… software.

That’s meant more strain on IT teams, and that too has led to more people within departments themselves getting proactive in improving their own workflows.

Other startups in the space include Bryter (which raised a $66 million Series B earlier this month) and Genesis (which raised $45 million in March), along with Zapier, Airtable, Rows, GyanaUshurCreatio, EasySend and CapivateIQ, some of which are coming to the market with a variety of solutions targeting a set of generic tools, while others are building solutions for more narrow use cases.

In the case of n8n, the company might be considered a “pioneer” in the space not just because of its focus on the growing area of low-code tools, but because of how it views the world of software.

[gallery type="slideshow" ids="1958989,1958987,1958986"]

The basic approach n8n is taking is around the idea of “fair code.” This is somewhat similar to open-source, and is analogous to a freemium-style model for the concept. The code is available in a public repository and the idea is that this will never disappear (one issue many enterprises face on the bleeding edge of tech: companies and their services sometimes shut down). However, n8n itself limits how much it can be used for free, before users start to pay to use it so that n8n can monetize its work, which it does in the form of consulting and integration services. (In the case of n8n, that limit looks to be up to a limit of $30,000 in support services revenues.)

Oberhauser was an early proponent of the concept of n8n and he runs a site dedicated to spreading the word. (You can also read about the different approaches to fair code, and some of what led to the creation of the concept, here.)

While basic and limited access to the code will remain free, and even as a company like n8n aims to make it easier and easier for non-developers to build integrations, there will be areas that need attention to make those services accessible to the people within an organization. For starters, there is the issue of setting up the basic integration connectors, especially in cases where the software a company is using is proprietary or customized.

There is also another issue that is likely to become more prominent as low-code and no-code tools continue to grow in popularity, and that is security. While IT departments may not have oversight of every single integration, but neither will the security teams, which means that new data vulnerabilities might well become more commonplace, too. For all of these reasons, n8n is betting that there will still be some integration and consulting involved in implementation.

“Almost every company needs help connecting outside and internal systems, to make it easier for people to get started,” Oberhauser said.

Aydin Senkut, founder and managing partner of Felicis Ventures, who led the round, said that what attracted him to n8n was the extensibility of the platform — that it could be applied not just for app integration and workflow automation in those apps but a much wider set of use cases — and the very early traction of 16,000 users that it’s picked up with very little fanfare, a sign that the service has some stickiness and usefulness to it.

And the fact that it lets developers — “citizen” or otherwise — play with so many options is also a key part of it.

“We feel that data is the new oil, and one of the special things here is not just low or no-code per se, but how n8n is making it seamless and easy to connect tens or even hundreds of apps.” Senkut said that it reminded him a little of Felicis’ early investment in Plaid. “Essentially, the more data and APIs you have the more valuable the company can be. I think to measure the potential of a company, look at the APIs. If you can connect disparate things together, that is key.”