Crowdbotics raises $40M to turn ‘ideas into code’ with supervised app development platform

Crowdbotics raises M to turn ‘ideas into code’ with supervised app development platform

App development can be tiring and difficult, but sometimes that’s only half the battle. Often the hardest part is getting the idea into code, which means knowing what open source components are needed to bring a project to life.

This is where Crowdbotics comes into play. Startup Thea announced today that it has raised $40 million for its managed app development platform, which helps users turn ideas into code.

New Enterprise Associates led the Series B funding round with participation from existing investors Jackson Square Ventures, Homebrew, Bee Partners and Harrison Metal. The new round follows the company’s previous funding from a year ago in January 2022, which netted the company $22 million.

Crowdbotics differs from a low-code/no-code development platform that allows users to pull together components to design an app’s flow, then build and release them. Instead, the company asks users to define the application’s requirements, locate the components, and offer fully developed code. This code can then be used immediately as an application, or used by the client’s software development team to customize it according to their needs.

“If low code works, that’s great, but there are a lot of things that don’t work, and those are the places where real code is needed,” CEO Anand Kulkarni told SiliconANGLE in an interview. “The extensibility, the transparency, the power you get to build software using real code, that’s what Crowdbotics gives you.”

Using Crowdbotic’s platform, customers can build and launch React Native and Django applications using a visual editor that allows them to prototype, design, and deploy UI layouts and back-end data models. The system then generates and exports high-quality, auditable source code for each component, following user-defined requirements based on desired use cases.

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React Native is a JavaScript library used to develop iOS and Android mobile apps, while Django is primarily a web application development framework.

Kulkarni said Crowdbotics has a growing and extensible library of open source components that its platform can choose from and that users can whitelist for their projects when they select a use case. These components are collected from thousands of open source projects, hence the company’s name. The layout allows the platform to generate complete code for components, which can be important for many industries where security and regulatory compliance are important.

“You get the power of full code, which means it can be used in cases where low code won’t work — which is a much bigger application market than low code,” Kulkarni said. “If you look at which customers end up using Crowdbotics, and you see the biggest increase in customer success, it’s in the domains where actual code is required for security or compliance reasons. These are application areas such as healthcare, finance and government, which are our three largest sectors.”

The company is an early adopter of GPT-3, OpenAI LLC’s generative AI model that can understand conversational language. With GPT-3, it allows users to describe screen layouts or functions in simple language, and then the platform provides AI-based code suggestions. These suggestions can then be added to the project with a single click.

AI can’t always produce 100% good results, but it’s good enough to be integrated to generate backend programming interface codes and layouts, Kulkarni said. It’s just another tool in the company’s toolbox that helps differentiate it from other competitors in the market.

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Kulkarni said that with the new funding, Crowdbotics will focus on market education and try to convince users that there is an alternative to low-code approaches, where you can build apps based on requirements and get full code. Second, he said, the company will expand its product for existing customers, and third, it will continue to expand its own services and capabilities, such as DevSecOps capabilities.

The company also intends to expand the current use of GPT-3 by implementing more on the platform. In the future, Kulkarni hopes to allow users to describe in specific or vague terms what kind of app they want, and it will take the users’ actual words and create a framework of requirements that the platform can then use to generate code.

Photo: Pixabay

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