July 31, 2019

8 Reasons Founders Build Startups on 8base

Albert Santalo
@AlbertSantalo

8base was inspired by my own experience building complex single-instance, multi-tenant software-as-a-service products in previous ventures. In short, these experiences were painful!

In case you don’t know: Multi-tenancy means that a single instance of the software and its supporting infrastructure serves multiple customers. Each customer shares the software application and also shares a single database. Each tenant’s data is isolated and remains invisible to other tenants.

This is the design pattern that nearly all SaaS companies use. Yet still, implementing this model remains difficult and millions of dollars are spent every year to set it up-right… or lost setting it up wrong!

Founders take on enormous risk and make huge sacrifices to bring a vision into reality. In my experience, building the “plumbing and electrical infrastructure” for SaaS oftentimes will trump the development of the innovative parts of their vision. Leaving most founders completely frustrated about the enormous amount of non-value add work happening inside their venture.

Entrepreneurs face a lot of pressure to get their products up and running quickly while ensuring these products can go the distance as the company becomes successful. Unfortunately, it’s super common these days for founders to slap together a shaky product that will demand a rewrite as soon as adoption picks up. These delays and added costs have been the demise of countless startups.

The good news is that 8base was created to make building and operating complex SaaS products a lot easier. An MVP can be stood up quickly and then evolve to a fully functional product without requiring a rewrite.

Recently, we took the time to ask our founder customers why they are building startups on 8base. Their feedback was so encouraging that I’d like to share 8 of the most common topics. Here it goes!

#1 — Ready to go infrastructure that works

People can argue over choosing Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud until they’re blue in the face; the same holds true for whether to use MySQL, Postgres, MongoDB or another service. The fact is that there are countless categories of architectural choices that factor into building multi-tenant SaaS products; and, by 8base being a bit prescriptive in our offering we solve for 80% of those headaches.

8base’s doctor orders include:

  • AWS Lambda (serverless) for the best performance, scalability and elastic pricing.
  • AWS Aurora / MySQL by default to ensure the database is secure, backed up, fault-tolerant and more. In our opinion SQL remains incredibly important when developing business applications.
  • AWS S3 as a storage provider with infinite resources.
  • GraphQL as an API communication standard that’s transforming how software development organizations build applications.
  • Auth0 and OpenID as authentication providers that bolster the security of any built app.
  • JavaScript and TypeScript for programming languages to ensure we are supporting the largest and most active developer community.
  • Node.js as the JavaScript runtime.

#2 — We’re only hiring JavaScript developers

Finding good developers is never easy. That said, 70% of professional developers today know JavaScript; that makes finding great dev talent much easier. JavaScript started as a front-end language in the early days of the Web but has now evolved to be a full-stack language that is being used to build modern web applications. 8base supports frontend and backend development using JavaScript and its superset, TypeScript.

#3 — We’re seeing a smaller team handle larger projects

Building with 8base lets smaller teams build bigger projects — without having to learn a whole new technical discipline. In many projects, all our customers need is one or two JavaScript developers. This means lean teams move faster and cost-effectively without compromising on the outcome.

#4 — GraphQL has been a Godsend

GraphQL has an enormous streamlining effect on software development. It allows front-end developers to dynamically construct their data requests to the backend. This minimizes the need for back-end developers to support front-end development in countless tasks, like enriching a response object or tweaking an endpoint to allow for X update.

#5 — Everything’s scaling without reliance on DevOps

8base’s product is 100% elastic and priced accordingly. It’s designed to support the needs of a small user base while automatically scaling to meet larger demands. Customers are only paying for computing services consumed and not infrastructure that sits idle. Even better, customers don’t need DevOps personnel to configure, maintain and debug computing infrastructure. This is huge, as DevOps talent is hard to find and harder to afford.

#6 — Our team’s confident that if one day we need to leave 8base, we can

We hope our customers never leave us and we work really hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. However, if a customer needs to go, they can take comfort in the fact that they built their software using word-class standards such as MySQL, JavaScript, GraphQL and more. The migration is not pain-free given all that 8base does for you, but it’s totally straightforward. This is in sharp contrast to what most companies do to lock in customers using proprietary languages, methods and technologies.

#7 — As a non-technical founder, I feel in control of software development

Most founders today are non-technical. It can be a very scary thing for a founder to bring on an unknown and unproven person as a technical co-founder. The wrong person can bring dysfunction and potentially put the entire startup at risk. Additionally, these people and their team members can be expensive from both a cash and equity perspective.

8base has taken a lot of pride in enabling non-technical folks to embark on technical projects and actually feel in control. We’re currently working with startups as their development team. In other words, the founders provide the vision and insight into product design and the 8base professional services team quickly builds the product using the 8base platform. In this relationship, the founders get their startups up and running cost-effectively with the help of a powerful platform and experienced SaaS architects, designers, and operators. This takes a lot of risk off the table and leaves more ownership in the hands of the core founders!

#8 — We’re launching SaaS products faster than we ever thought was possible

Like I mentioned in the intro to this article, so much of 8base was inspired by my own experience standing up SaaS companies. It is all too familiar to me how much development time and resources go into just the plumbing of a product so that things like authorization, authentication, API specifications, database administration, and more are ready to go in a respectable fashion. That’s why we’ve baked these pieces into the very core of 8base. Setting them up so that you can hop onto the console and manage pieces of your product that were previously restricted only to coding prodigies.

Wrap up

We relish every day at 8base knowing that by helping founders make their dreams come true, we make our own dreams come true. Anyone interested in chatting about the topics mentioned in this piece, how 8base can help or entrepreneurship, in general, can reach me at albert@8base.com.

For more information on the 8base product:
https://www.8base.com/products/developer-platform

For more information on how the 8base team can help with your startup:
https://www.8base.com/products/consulting

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