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Interview with a Successful Startup Founder

Growing an All-In-One No-Code Tool After Raising $1.5M

Mark Magnuson
Mark Magnuson
December 21, 2021
Category of startup
Software & Hardware
Country of startup
United States
Revenue of startups
No Data
Interview with a Failed Startup Founder

Growing an All-In-One No-Code Tool After Raising $1.5M

Mark Magnuson
Mark Magnuson
December 21, 2021
Category of startup
Software & Hardware
Country of startup
United States
Cause of failure of the startup

Mark co-founded Bildr, an all-in-one platform for visual web development. You can build web apps, SaaS products, Chrome Extensions, and web3 tools with or without code. Currently in open beta, they are a distributed team of 12.

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Hi Mark! Who are you and what are you currently working on?

Hey hey! I’m Mark, an 80s kid from Austin TX, and the CEO of Bildr.com 👋

Bildr is an all-in-one platform for visual web development.

Build web apps, launch SaaS products, create Chrome Extensions, and build the future with web3, with or without code.

The full stack is handled so you can focus on building with all the powers of a seasoned developer at hand.

Extend Bildr in any direction with custom JavaScript and APIs to anything.

As a startup CEO, I’m focused on the go-to-market and working closely with customers to successfully launch their products with Bildr.

Bildr is a Freemium service with “Launch” & “Pro Tiers” as well as a lifetime Pro access pass available as an NFT and purchasable with ETH.  Currently in open beta, we are covering all hosting costs for your apps and will announce hosting pricing in the first quarter of 2022.

Bildr Landing Page

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Myself and two partners launched my first company while I was in college. I dropped out shortly after to focus full-time on the business.  What started in 2006 as the dream to create what would become Bildr quickly pivoted into a services business when funding for “no-code” developer tools fell on deaf ears about 15 years ahead of the market.

We didn’t let that kill the visual development dream, though. Instead, we served customers using early versions of Bildr to create custom web apps faster and with fewer resources than our competition. As time went on, our customers continued to request more advanced features, so we continued to expand the capabilities of the tools to match that need.

A few years ago, as the market caught up to the concept of visual development, we decided to spin Bildr out as a separate product company. So in July of 2020, we took the plunge, formed the newco, and began iterating with early alpha users as we completely reshaped our internal tools as a product suitable for market adoption.

We are incredibly excited to be launching out of beta in Q1 alongside a suite of web3 and NFT products driven off of Bildr’s uniquely extensible architecture.

Which were your marketing strategies to grow your business?

We are super early here, but so far, the best marketing has been word of mouth and providing incredible customer support.

Traction started early with a waitlist, but we quickly learned that Bildr being on the more advanced side of visual development tooling, many of the early signups were not a good fit for the product. One of the lessons learned during this process is recognizing and being happy about this outcome. To define your customer, sometimes you also need to know who is not your customer.

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How are you doing today and what are your goals for the future?

We are doing great today. We are a distributed team of 12 and are incredibly excited to watch customers build and launch their products using Bildr tools.

Bildr Logo

Adding web3 tools and products to the mix has been exciting in this 4th quarter; we see this as a great magnet to bring people into visual development. The excitement in the space and opportunity it presents is unmatched.

On a personal note, my wife and I just celebrated 17 years of marriage, and our 3 kids are at an age where we get to have a lot of fun as a family—especially looking forward to traveling more as a family this coming year.


Since starting Bildr, what have been your main lessons?

From a product perspective, listen to your paying customers, stay the course, stay focused. As cliche as it is, grit is the way when trying to do big things.

Years of being in business have created a great network to lean on. We raised our pre-seed round from friends, family, and former customers. Most of our team has been together for many years on other projects.

Consistency has paid off in a big way for Bildr, and I’m confident that trend will continue.


What were the biggest obstacles you overcame? What were your worst mistakes?

Where to begin…

The most challenging part of a startup IMO is handling the daily or even hourly swings. Super highs and super lows. Keeping even and staying the course is paramount.

In our services business back in the day, we had to learn the hard lessons of understanding our value and how our perception of ourselves translates into reality and success.

With Bildr, the learning comes straight from users and customers. It’s a constant process of failure and iteration. Sometimes these are small things and not very costly; other times, they have a tangible impact through lost time and capital.

What tools & resources do you recommend?

Slack for internal comms, discord for community, and we rolled our own project/task management tooling.

The tool we use the most is Bildr itself. This will likely be unique to Bildr for a very long time because Bildr is built with Bildr. Not just the website but the entire platform. Everything you use as a product is made with Bildr, so our team spends most of the day in Bildr, just like our customers.


Where can we go to learn more?

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