Low-code database APITable is one other Airtable challenger •

Airtable’s whopping $11 billion valuation attained in late 2021 has lured a raft of bold entrepreneurs into the low-code database house. They covet even only a small slice of the pie loved by the decade-old American juggernaut. Whereas SaaS has lengthy been a confirmed enterprise mannequin within the U.S., in rising markets, and even in China’s burgeoning tech trade, many customers nonetheless anticipate software program to be free.

To develop their paying clients, Asia’s SaaS startups, constructed by seasoned and reasonably priced builders, are venturing into the West. Hong Kong-headquartered low-code database APITable is one among them (it’s within the strategy of organising a Canadian base). The corporate is unabashed about its ambition to tackle Airtable. Living proof, its weblog featured a step-by-step information on tips on how to migrate from Airtable to its personal platform (the web page disappeared on the time of publishing).

APITable is competing with a handful of rising startups, like Amsterdam’s Baserow and San Francisco-based NocoDB, to supply an open-source, visible resolution for creating sensible, sleek-looking databases. Its identify suggests a deal with system interoperability. Sooner or later, customers will be capable to join the low-code device to platforms together with Zapier, Slack, Google Workspace and red-hot ChatGPT utilizing the APITable API, says the corporate’s co-founder and COO Gary Li in an interview.

For customers wanting an off-the-shelf product that requires minimal technical abilities and third-party internet hosting, the software program comes with a paid, premium model. As of immediately, APITable has been “starred” some 6,500 instances on GitHub, an indicator of a undertaking’s reputation amongst builders. Whereas Li declines to reveal the corporate’s income measurement, he claims that in 2022, “group customers”, together with freemium and paid ones, grew from 6,000 to over 20,000 throughout 30 international locations.

APITable’s founding workforce first examined the water in China. Its Chinese language model Vika launched in 2019 at a time when enterprise capitalists, buoyed by the increase of Zoom, Stripe, Canva, Figma, Airtable and different cloud-based options within the West, have been dashing to guess on native alternate options.

APITable itself landed funding from distinguished VCs like IDG Capital, GL Ventures (Hillhouse’s early-stage arm) and 5Y Capital, which is taken into account by some as a bellwether in enterprise tech funding in China. The startup had raised $10 million in whole funding as of early 2021 at a valuation of roughly $75 million.

Again in China, Vika has had no scarcity of rivals. Firms from giants like ByteDance and Tencent to underdogs like Hipacloud and Treelab clamored to construct their solutions to Airtable. Wanting ahead, the dad or mum agency will place extra deal with growth within the West by means of APITable. “Being open-source is a approach of selling itself. To generate revenues, although, we nonetheless depend upon Saas gross sales,” reckons Li.

APITable’s CEO Kelly Chan appears to know a factor or two about creating instruments for non-technical customers. He was beforehand the CTO at HeyTea, a venture-backed firm that revolutionized the bubble tea enterprise in China. The chain not solely pioneered the novel cheese-on-the-top taste however extra importantly, it invested closely in a large developer workforce, a quite uncommon transfer within the meals and beverage trade. The outcomes have been reassuring. Below Chan’s helm, HeyTea made an app to hurry up ordering and shorten wait time in addition to enhance recurring income by means of a membership scheme.

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