🚪The No-Code Product Hunt that got acquired by chance
The No-Code Exit Story of NuCode and Joe Brown
Hello dear 6,231 subscribers 😍
Katt here. Last week we kicked off the first Build to Exit challenge. In 6 weeks we will help 30 makers go from idea to exit by providing them actionable guides, lots of accountability and visibility with potential buyers. Ex(c)iting…. 😅
This week you can read about the story of no-code maker Joe Brown and his product Nucode. Learn:
💪 How he is running a No-Code Product Studio
🏗️ Why he decided to build NuCode
🌱How it got 15K traffic per month on auto-pilot
🚀 Why it was acquired
Enjoy it and happy building my friends!
🎈 7 Cool Finds
Notice is the one place to manage all of your web content (blog, FAQ, documentation, …) inside a Notion-like editor with GPT-3 integration and analytics.
With Softr you can now turn your google spreadsheets into powerful and beautiful custom web apps, all without code.
Become a No-Code SaaS founder is a comprehensive course teaching you how to build a complete monetised product with Bubble.
Do you want to learn to build products without code from No-Code experts? Last chance to join the No-Code MVP Bootcamp starting on 1 May.
Feather automatically publishes content written on Notion to a SEO-friendly and sleek blog.
Yvisuals is a library of customisable visuals to level up your content and presentations.
Baserow is an open-source alternative for Airtable to build databases without code.
*This section is a mix of paid sponsorships (links in bold) and cool things I use, discovered or made.
🔥 Maker Interview
Hello Joe, tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Joe Brown, and I have a background in marketing, visual development, and product management. I got started with No-Code back in college when I built my first Shopify store called Echtra, which was an e-commerce outfitters shop. We sold unique outdoor products like custom painted axes and bottle openers shaped like axe handles. We built up a following of 80K+ across different instagram accounts aimed at planting trees.
I studied Fire Science at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College for two years, became a registered firefighter, and later completed my Bachelor's degree in Marketing at the University of Cincinnati.
After graduation, I worked as an E-commerce Strategist for a hotel group where I managed ~23 hotels in our portfolio. I went on to join a peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace as their US Marketing Manager, before launching Nucode.co and then Small.dev with my business partner Alan Podemski in 2019. Small is our product studio where we build and sell apps as founders ourselves, and offer expert visual development services to other startups and founders using tools like Bubble and Webflow.
Tell us about your product that you made?
I got the idea for Nucode.co after realising that there was a need for a centralised resource for people interested in No-Code. Originally started as a "Product Hunt for No-Code," the platform provides users with a curated list of tools, high-quality tutorials, a list of experts for various tools to contact, and other resources to help them build their own projects using No-Code tools. No-Code still isn’t mainstream, but in 2020 even finding a single place to check out all your tool options was non-existent. I wanted to create a platform that would provide No-Code enthusiasts with the resources and community they needed to find answers quickly.
Which No-Code tools did you use?
It is 99% Bubble.com with various marketing tools for things like sending emails (Sendgrid) or for website analytics (Fathom Analytics). Building with a single no-code tool like Bubble allowed me to focus on shipping new features quickly, all while still using custom designs that Alan made in Figma.
What went into building the initial product?
The first version of Nucode was already live by the time I met Alan who helped relaunch our v2 of the app, so very little design thought was put into the original MVP. That allowed me to focus on simply creating a landing page and curating my favourite no-code tools. I used that MVP as my initial concept to gauge interest! I just started DMing founders of products built with no-code on Twitter to see if they'd submit their product, or I'd add their product myself and let them claim their product listing.
Why with No-Code?
The no-code vs code route is something I've explored on both sides. We've even shipped projects that use a combination of both.
When I started building Nucode, the concept was a list of tools as inspiration for others. Taking any longer than a week to launch Nucode would have been a waste of time because of how simple it was. So I built it with Bubble and it allowed me to focus on the creative and strategic aspects of building the product, rather than getting bogged down in the technical details. Shipping the first version took about a week!
What was your business model?
Nucode was pre-revenue when we sold it late last year (2022). We wanted to continue building it as a free resource for anyone to stumble upon to learn about No-Code and No-Code opportunities.
How did you attract users?
We grew Nucode during the first year through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media. We quickly picked up a ton of traffic from the No-Code boom when search for no-code and tools were trending up heavily the first few years after launch, and thanks to our specific topical landing pages for every no-code tool imaginable, we were able to land a lot of that traffic. We followed that up with our forum later on that continued to build on popular questions and answers.
For social, I would hop on Twitter everyday which is where the No-Code community gathers naturally. I'd have Tweetdeck open with various keyword columns for No-Code and Bubble, Webflow, Airtable, etc. Every day for a year or so I'd spend an hour or two just answering questions or interacting with people on #nocode Twitter for fun!
Can you tell us more about the acquisition?
We sold Nucode.co to No Code Ops (for an undisclosed amount) in late 2022. The sale was pretty informal because we weren't looking to sell at all. As we were spending most of our time on Small projects for clients and our internal projects, Nucode became less of a priority for us to improve over time but remained a great free resource anyone could discover and we loved that. Philip Lakin and I were hanging out one day and he happened to express some interest. I mentioned Alan and I would probably only ever sell Nucode to someone who we thought would continue building value and resources for the No-Code community like we had done for free for so long. I ended up just throwing out a number and Philip agree and we signed!
Why did the buyer acquire your product?
No Code Ops was interested in acquiring Nucode because we had a large user base full of professional and beginner-level no-code operators, developers, and designers. They saw the potential for growth within our own community under the No Code Ops name, as well as within the industry. We couldn't have asked for a more solid team to help carry the torch! We know they'll continue to build more resources for the community.
Can you share some numbers/stats?
Nucode had a little over 7.6K users in late 2022
We saw anywhere from 7.5K-15K visitors/month mostly on auto-pilot.
What's your advice for No-Code Makers who are just starting out?
My advice for no-code makers is to focus on finding real-world problems and solving them. Don't be afraid to iterate and get feedback from early users, or post about your projects early on Twitter publicly for feedback.
If you're interested in selling your business, make sure you have clear reporting for your metrics and revenue (if any). That will be a bulk of what you need to get things started as your business is evaluated by potential buyers!
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And with this, I've finished reading all of your issues @kattrisen.
Each and every journey was very informational 🙏
Wow, thank you for reading them all :-) Comments like this are a huge motivation!