NocoDB takes on Airtable with a no-code, open-source platform that connects to production databases • TechCrunch
NocoDB is one of many startups to emerge on the scene with plans to usurp the powerful Airtable, with an open source foundation serving as its main selling point. Although NocoDB works the same way allowing non-technical users to create new databases, its uniqueness is that it also works directly on live “production” data that resides in databases such as Postrgres , MySQL or MariaDB, or data warehouses. , and turns them into what he calls a “smart spreadsheet”.
This allows anyone to take advantage of legacy databases without the need for IT intervention – no SQL queries or code required. It’s about enabling sales, finance, or even marketing teams to connect to live data and collaborate with developers to build apps without code.
UK-based founder and CEO Naveen Rudrapa says the basic open source project has already been used by more than 2,000 companies, including behemoths such as Google, Walmart, American Express and McAfee.
“The adoption we’ve seen has been truly unprecedented – we’ve had 7 million Docker downloads within a year of launch and over 30,000 GitHub stars, placing us among the top 350 open source projects in the world,” Rudrappa told TechCrunch.
Just over a year after its inception, the firm announces a major seed funding round from a veritable who’s who of the angel investing world.
Funding has actually flowed in a few tranches since its incorporation in June last year, but in total the round is around $10.5 million, with institutional backers such as Decibel, OSS Capital , Uncorrelated Ventures and Together.fund. The angel side, meanwhile, includes YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley; WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg; RedHat co-founder Bob Young; Google’s first investor, Ram Shriram; and the founders of Cloudera, CockroachDB, PipeDream, Talend, AngelList, BrightRoll and Freshworks.
The story so far
The genesis of NocoDB dates back to 2017, when Rudrappa was working on a related open source database “passion project” under a different name, which was purely a backend without any user interface. The problem he was trying to solve was creating APIs to access a MySQL database of UK property data, which was not easy to achieve.
“I realized that the fundamental problem of making a database accessible through the API remained unsolved,” Rudrappa said. “So I built a prototype, published it on GitHub, and the next morning I woke up to see a thousand GitHub stars for my project. The problem was much more widespread than I realized. imagined and my initial prototype struck a chord with users, this hobby project received a quarter of a million downloads, then I decided to team up with a friend and started building NocoDB.
When NocoDB first hit GitHub last year, Rudrappa said it garnered over a million downloads in the first ten weeks.
“Live production data stores, like MySQL or Snowflake, are intimidating for business users, or even developers who aren’t used to working with the backend technology stack,” he said. “But they need access to that data to quickly build useful applications. NocoDB allows any organizational data source to be connected to the universally understood spreadsheet interface, allowing users with no coding experience to create workflows and automations that work in concert with data real business.
With $10.5 million in the bank and backing from some of the biggest names in the tech space, NocoDB is well positioned to create a commercial component of the leading open source project. This includes a new premium incarnation currently in private beta, which allows businesses to connect to Oracle Database and Snowflake.
“This commercial version is a request from the customer side, because they need a working contract with us when using the software,” Rudrappa explained. “Enterprise customers need different support, and we want to meet that while balancing the needs of our open source community.”
In addition to this, NocoDB is also working on a managed and hosted cloud version that comes with enterprise-grade features including connectors, single sign-on (SSO), access control, auditing, and more.