Full disclosure on our SaaS subject
We don’t want to mislead you – so let’s start with the full picture.
The subject of our SaaS case study is Dividend Finance.
They’re often featured on lists of ‘successful no code SaaS making seven figures’.
Thing is, that description leaves out quite a few details.
You see, Dividend Finance was first built on Bubble.io as a no-code SaaS.
And yes, it makes $50 million dollars annually.
However, to the best of our knowledge, these two events happened one after another – and today we cannot find any evidence that Dividend Finance still runs on Bubble.
We’ve seen far too many online articles featuring Dividend Finance (among others) as a ‘million dollar app built on Bubble’.
Honestly, we’re not fans of how ambiguously these posts are worded.
A newcomer could easily be misled to think that no-code app builders are full of million-dollar SaaS and are all they’ll ever need to grow and scale their own projects.
The truth is that the most profitable SaaS companies are still built with code.
However, no code app builders like Bubble absolutely have a place in today’s world.
In fact, Dividend Finance is a perfect no-code SaaS case study for new founders.
Let’s go over their journey from Bubble startup to multi-million-dollar SaaS.
And what genuine lessons we can take away.
Overview of Dividend Finance
This is Dividend Finance’s present-day homepage.
It was founded in 2013 to provide solar loans and financing options for property owners.
Say you wanted to install solar panels on your roof but couldn’t afford the total cost upfront.
Dividend Finance has an app that lets you apply for solar loans.
The app connects you to contractors who invoice you with one of the built-in financing options.
Today, they offer the same thing for general home improvements.
This solves a massive headache for homeowners and property developers who would like to invest in their property but simply cannot afford to pay in full.
It also helps contractors who are wary of extended financing options without a proper guarantee.
Thanks to the app, property owners get their renovations and contractors get more projects – a win-win solution.
To date, Dividend Finance has:
- facilitated billions in transactions
- raised hundreds of millions in equity funding, and more importantly,
- reached a level of tens of millions in annual revenue
Not bad, as the meme of President Obama would say.
Now let’s see the instrumental role Bubble played in making this possible.
How a no-code app builder helped Dividend Finance
Bubble was instrumental in the early stages of Dividend Finance because it allowed them to rapidly build an MVP and continue iterating for product-market fit.
Specifically, they were able to:
- build and launch a working prototype in six weeks
- iterate based on feedback and release new features weekly
If you’re not sure whether that’s fast, we assure you it’s friggin fast.
This speed was more than convenient for Dividend Finance – it was a lifesaver.
The founders had initially tried building their first prototype with conventional coding.
Not only was it more expensive, but it also took too long.
And so, they took a chance and hired professional Bubble developers.
Within six weeks, the team accomplished what months of custom coding could not.
Later, as Dividend Finance matured and needed to scale, an in-house software development team was hired for custom code and to rebuild parts of the SaaS running on Bubble.
And then the company made $50,000,000 in a year, and everyone lived happily ever after!
Understanding the value of no code SaaS
No code app builders are amazing tools to build early working prototypes.
At this stage, you want to release a product into the market as fast as possible without sacrificing quality.
In its purest sense, no code app building means not a single line of custom code is written.
Instead, a collection of common functions have been pre-written for users.
They are presented as visual ‘blocks’ in a user-friendly visual drag-and-drop interface.
Users can arrange these blocks within the limits of what the app builder allows.
Robust no-code app builders like Bubble are usually enough to piece together a working prototype from these existing blocks, allowing for fast market release and iteration.
Of course, developers don’t write everything from scratch.
However, a no-code platform writes nothing from scratch, and so will nearly always be faster.
The value of professional no-code development
Yes, no-code app builders are marketed as non-tech-friendly.
Dividend Finance founders still engaged professional developers to work on their Bubble MVP.
After all, no code app builders are tools, and tools work best in the hands of experts.
In this case, ‘expert’ refers to developers experienced using specific no-code platforms.
It costs more, but the project won’t be held back as you learn how to navigate the app builder and make avoidable mistakes. If there’s a deadline looming, seriously consider this!
Lessons from this no-code SaaS case study
Here’s what the Dividend Finance team did right:
- They knew to pivot to other options when their custom-coded MVP was not delivering
- They used a no-code app builder for their MVP
- They engaged professionals to ensure the MVP was built to their specifications
- They took advantage of no code to iterate rapidly to meet user feedback
- Only once revenue was steady did they invest in custom coding for complex functions
This is a textbook use case of no-code app builders later transitioning to low or high code.
Dividend Finance was a million-dollar app idea from the beginning.
But ideas are only as good as their execution.
A poor decision with custom coding early on could have sunk the project.
Thankfully, they saw where they were headed and decided to use the right tool for the right job.
And that’s how they earned their ‘not bad’ from Barrack Obama himself.
We hope that helped clear things up on when and how to optimally leverage no code in your SaaS project.
Perhaps you’d like to look at some profitable Micro SaaS ideas?
We look forward to featuring your million-dollar app in a future SaaS case study!
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