Democratizing the ‘Tech Entrepreneur’ dream, Sachin Dev Duggal’s Builder.ai is making sure that coding skills, or the lack of them, is never a hurdle in the realization of a great business idea.
Four years ago, Builder.ai started out with a dream — to be the missing link between every great idea and a fully realized product.
The ideology behind Bulider.ai was to empower everyone to build their ideas, regardless of their understanding of coding. To achieve this, founder Sachin Dev Duggal and his team went back to the drawing board to reinvent on how software is developed today. After a meticulous research which analyzed every best practice across industries, Builder.ai landed on the magic that the great industrialist Henry Ford did with his assembly line.
Today, Builder.ai has expanded from 30 to over 250 employees in just 2 years with offices in London, Los Angeles, Delhi, Dubai and Tokyo. It’s platform industrializes software development using Lego-like reusable features — an AI powered assembly line and a curated network of software developers and designers to customize those features. This results in faster development times at significantly reduced price points for customers with enterprise grade quality.
In an exclusive conversation with DKODING Media, high-flying, dynamic young entrepreneur Sachin Dev Duggal talks about the origins of Builder.ai and how the company is making the art of building a great software as easy as making a pizza!
Watch: What is Builder.ai?
How do Builder.ai’s products help the entrepreneur of today?
We started our journey from there and the premise was to make software development accessible to anyone, anywhere. It stemmed from the belief that everyone should be able to unlock their true potential, to make their vision come to life irrespective of what they know, what they have and what they are potentially afraid of.
At the core, our founders didn’t want their children growing up in a world where they had to be the girl or boy who could code to be able to solve impactful problems. Our platform brings together all the required pieces for their dream — i.e. to build, run, and scale a business. All that someone needs is an idea.
Our key products are:
- Builder Studio: build mobile apps, websites, wearables – no techie skills needed.
- Builder Care: Keeps your software updated so you’re never blindsided by 3rd party changes
- Builder Cloud: offers big savings on your cloud spend (last year, our customers saved over $4.5m)
- Builder Now: Create a free prototype and bring your software idea to life, instantly.
- Studio Store: get pre-packed apps for small businesses, from 2 weeks.
How has your experience in building your company and the challenges that came on the way?
Let me give you an example of what may seem as a big challenge especially for most startups, and tell you how we tackled it back when we just about started off. Builder.ai expanded from 30 employees to over 250 in just 2 years and now has offices in London, Los Angeles, Delhi, Dubai and Tokyo. This level of rapid global expansion had the potential to cause severe rifts in communication; something that wasn’t so much of an issue when it was just a few of us working together. Overnight, a consistent transfer of knowledge and transparency across departments became a priority, so that everyone was on the same page and working towards the same goals.
I think having inspirational leadership figures that keep their teams in the know and constantly empowered is critical to this. Video touch bases, Slack messaging, and project management tools are key to successful day-to-day communication, especially nowadays. Besides this, I ensure sending out department-wide emails regularly, and conducting global town halls each quarter. Simply put:
The solution to most business challenges is teamwork and constant alignment on goals making ‘precise communication’ the crucial factor.
On the industry front, it’s quite similar. A lot changes come too fast when it comes to technology. A new idea or innovation can put you light years ahead. Look at Uber or Amazon. So, it’s important for us to be constantly motivated, think outside of the box, sometimes under it, to do the things others have been too scared to even dream of. Our goal is a big one – that of turning our customers ‘ideas’ into ‘businesses’. And thus, at Builder.ai, we are exactly what our name suggests — we love building ideas and decoding challenges!
Which pain points does Builder.ai’s solution solve for a customer?
Our platform builds, runs and scales just about anything our customers can think of. Our human-assisted AI platform can build your tailor-made software using the collective knowledge of what has been built before; an assembly line connects reusable features with specialist creators. For example, our product Builder Now — an instant prototyping tool enables businesses to bring app ideas to life, in minutes. This helps anyone take their first step in making their business idea a reality in as less as 10 minutes. The tool also suggests a real-time cost estimate and timeline for the project basis the features and requirements of the customer. We reduce the cost of common-codes by 1/10th, by splitting them across our other customers. Needless to say, the company has fully paid for these libraries and built the features from scratch.
You have an idea? Builder.ai has the code.
For example, an average customer who wants to bring their idea to life may not know all the features that are required for their idea to work. When a customer says they want to build an app like Uber or Ola; the expectation is that we understand the implications and the required features. An e-mail login process follows the exact same steps in any application and doesn’t require exclusive coding. Email log- in, Profile view are few examples of features that can be easily replicated while developing applications. We leverage this to reduce the cost of application development to one-tenth of the original cost.
How is your company pitched against competition? Does Builder.ai offer greater value viz-a-viz others players in the market place?
Builder.ai is unique in the way that it offers a 360-degree software service for entrepreneurs, enterprise customers, and anyone in between. The portfolio takes care of everything from A-Z: to build, run and scale any idea, no coding required. Our human-assisted AI platform lets our customers create on-demand, tailor-made software using a library of reusable features and a network of verified expert talent across the world. The result is typically delivered at three times the speed and at a quarter of the price. This is possible because our customers don’t have to pay for code that’s commonly deployed across software.
We are known for making the entire process as simple as ordering a pizza where once the customer lists out the requirement then the system takes over.Sachin Dev Duggal, Founder and Chief Wizard, Builder.ai
Our after-care product, Builder Care, keeps this software up-to-date. For businesses in need of an infrastructure to support growth, our cloud solution, Builder Cloud, combines all the best providers into one platform to deliver the best possible price. We level the playing field for companies that recognize the importance of having an online presence, but don’t have the technical knowledge to bring it to life, making it simple, immediate and efficient to make all kinds of ideas a reality. That makes us different from other players!
Our recently launched and globally-recognized platform Studio Store, has been helping SMBs and SMEs amid COVID-19 to access quality software at lower costs and in most cases is delivered to them in 8-10 weeks. We were awarded at CognitionX 2020 for “Best COVID-19 Innovation for Recovery”.
What are your plans to market your solutions to a larger number of potential customers?
Our focus is to continue expanding – both the Builder.ai team, which means establishing new structures and processes, and hitting new geographies and customer segments. We recently launched Builder Studio Store, a new range of pre-packaged apps, beginning with ecommerce and delivery. We also expanded our services to cater to sectors like e-commerce, e-learning, restaurants, gyms, grocery stores, etc. Studio Store is designed to bring businesses online faster and at a fraction of the cost of building from scratch. COVID-19 massively impacts SMBs, so we’re helping all SMBs get online fast with Studio Store.
Of course, we’re also continuously improving our core products Builder Studio, Builder Care and Builder Cloud as well as our instant prototyping tool Builder Now – be it the UI, UX, feature additions or overall pricing. Keeping in mind the much needed rapid digital transformation, we aim to encourage businesses to build software that helps them grow, move their operations to the cloud, and offer a way for quality websites and apps to be accessible to everyone.
One piece of advice to other budding entrepreneurs, who are starting to build a startup.
It is extremely important to keep your eye on the core goal throughout the journey. Builder was founded because we wanted to enable anyone to turn a software idea into reality without needing expertise in development and coding.
Whatever happens from that point forward, whether it’s the launch of a new product or the securing of a new partnership, it needs to support the initial value proposition of which the entire company was founded on. If you want to achieve, just don’t lose sight of it!