What Makes a Startup Idea 'VC Backable'?
What exactly makes a startup idea attractive to venture capitalists? Understanding this can be the key to unlocking the doors to VC funding.
In a recent article featured in eMerge, the official magazine of the eMerge Americas technology conference, our Founder/CEO Albert Santalo, CRO Lesley DeCanio and CTO Tim Myers, reveal what drives them to continue challenging the status quo with our unique product and how 8base is revolutionizing the way companies leverage technology to conduct business.
Q. You've been working in the tech industry for over 35 years now. How have you seen it grow and change in that time? What made you want to be a part of it so early on in the game?
A. In my early days, I loved wielding core computing to make the things I wanted to make. For the past 25 years, it's been about leveraging that power to disrupt traditional business models. One of the last horizons of this disruption, is how these technologies are actually built — this is where low-code development platforms like 8base come in. Low-code software development has disrupted the status-quo of traditional bottoms-up coding, ushering in a new era of technology and innovation for everyone on the frontlines of application development. Lowcode is revolutionizing the way software is designed, developed and run — and creating value for its adopters.
Q. With 8base, your business is to help other businesses and entrepreneurs. Why do you feel that was an important mission?
A. I have spent my entire career living the problem of coding, designing, implementing, and using software. I have seen the frustrations and shortcomings of legacy software development processes and can not recall a software effort that was easy, came in below budget, or met the specification on the first try. This came at the expense of founders and other digital creators who spent more of their time raising funds for their projects than actually working to make them successful. At the end of that process, they are oftentimes not in a great position to capitalize on the success of their efforts. 8base was born to transform the manner and timeline of how these solutions are built. Our mission is about unlocking innovation by dramatically lowering the barriers to entry and execution.
Q. What does the Miami connection mean to you? What role does being in this city play in your overall company goals? Do you plan to expand your presence here (whether through staff or partners or offices)?
A. From my earliest memories, Miami was where I wanted to be. Tech is the future of all cities, and that has always been clear to me. I am proud of the work that we did to build tech companies in Miami before it was "a thing." Now, 20 years later, to see the funding rounds being announced here, VCs opening offices here, and the quality of ventures being launched here is a tell-tale sign that we’ve not only arrived, but that we have the substance, momentum, and ecosystem to keep it going.
Q. What's your perspective on Miami becoming "Silicon Beach"?
A. "Silicon Beach" seems like a misnomer. To me, the place where core tech innovation happens is Silicon Valley and thus the term "silicon." Skyrocketing tech hubs, like Miami, are mostly focused on "applications" rather than core innovation. It's about curating and applying the core technologies invented elsewhere and putting them together in novel ways. Plus, there’s a juxtaposition of relaxing on beaches and the incredibly hard and not-so-glamorous work that is required to make tech startups successful. What is important: the tech community here is progressing rapidly regardless of what we’re called.
Q. How does 8base benefit and contribute to its partnership with eMerge Americas?
A. eMerge Americas has catalyzed a generational technology wave that fuels Miami and the global tech community. Soon after our Series A announcement, I judged the start-up competition at eMerge Americas, where I listened to and learned from the next generation of founders. I spent time with them, heard their pitches, and was inspired by their visions for the future. Hearing their opinions and discussing their challenges validates our own mission; and I’m inspired and invigorated to continue 8base’s evolution.
Q. In your experience, what do you find gets potential clients most excited about 8base and its products? What do they respond to the most?
A. It’s fascinating to see the aha! moments unfold. When a client realizes the speed at which their application can be built — in weeks rather than months or years — because our low-code platform makes developers 10x faster. When they choose to build on 8base and become the beneficiaries of enterprise-grade architecture created with scalability and maintainability in mind; . This means that and subsequent development efforts can expand upon the application’s foundational build, as opposed to requiring a rebuild of the application. When they’ve attained the above at a fraction of the cost. In sales, you always want to ring the bell, loudly and often. Our team enjoys these wins through our customers' success and those they impact with their digital innovations.
Q. How do you think 8base is changing the way companies do business?
A. Part of the vision for 8base is that we are not only the platform that accelerates application development but an ecosystem of developers, agencies and partners that helps innovators realize their ideas.
Imagine that product development was not an issue for entrepreneurs. That the risks of digital transformation were not such a high-cost and labor intensive undertaking for larger organizations and enterprises.
8base helps its customers rethink the software development process -- not only in terms of how they build or maintain applications, but how they structure their development teams and even create new lines of business.
Q. I understand you have a new product in development. Can you explain what it is and how it differentiates from your other product?
Our new product, App Builder, is a frontend low-code development tool for building beautiful, dynamic web applications. Like all of our products, App Builder provides visual tools to accelerate software development without inhibiting a developer's ability to drop into custom code, if needed.
With both, 8base fulfills its vision for a complete set of full-stack low-code development tools and introduces the future of low-code development.
Q. To build 8base, are you finding the talent here in Miami?
A. This is a question we are often asked in the context of the global developer shortage. The availability of local engineers is fundamental to a tech ecosystem, but in a world where developers, or anyone for that matter, can work anywhere… it becomes less about geography.
Although much of our team is based in Miami and in parts of the United States, we also employ developers in Eastern Europe and have a near shore team in Colombia.
eMerge, the official magazine of the eMerge Americas technology conference, highlights the indomitable spirit and strength South Floridians — including those that now call our region home — bring to our local tech industry. To read this article in the magazine or check out the entire issue click here.