Yes, you can build your MVP without code. Here's how.
No-Code has evolved to cater to internet industries in an explosive rhythm. Your ideas can become revenue-making products in a few months, even if you don’t know hardcore programming.
Companies like Qoins, Dividend, Comet, and Teal were once prototypes made on Bubble.io, without code. Each of these went on to raise investor funds in millions of dollars. How? With hyper-realistic MVPs, which already had traction from their customers.
Many such makers, innovators, and indie hackers are making products with visual programming platforms, like Bubble.io. You can too. In this guide, HelloMeets brings you a step-by-step guide on making an MVP of social networking app.
Table of content
- Why No-Code MVPs are becoming popular among startup investors
- Pros and Cons Building your MVP with Bubble
- How to use Bubble to validate your big startup ideas
- Steps to build your MVP (a social network platform clone) on Bubble
- Case studies and examples of products built with Bubble
Why No Code MVPs are becoming popular among startup investors
Though there are multiple factors at play when you pitch to investors, your product and existing growth rate play a massive role in convincing them. This is true especially for those looking for seed-stage funding.
Ashish Dave, CEO of Mirae Asset Venture Investments (India), a specialist in funding seed-stage startups, mentions that VCs look for market validation from a startup’s performance before taking them seriously. If your startup idea or product is making real revenue and has customers, it has a higher chance of getting seed-stage funding.
This is where no-code MVPs are game-changing. Founders can make a minimum viable product (MVP) and test it in markets. Since no-code allows them to be fast and costs exponentially less compared to hiring a team of developers just for testing, it helps founders iterate the product fast too.
When your no-code MVP is tested in the market, it also attracts consumer attention along with feedback. No-code lets you apply that feedback within days, and evolve the idea faster. Thereby, it becomes market validated and aligned to what potential consumers need. And with the current no-code trends, even MVPs can have regular users n this process.
When your MVP has initial numbers and growth already charted, it helps you pitch investors with a product that they can use (let alone visualizing the idea), understand your effect on the market, and analyze your growth too. These are tremendously powerful factors that can get you funding.
One of the recent examples of an MVP getting offers from investors for funding is Getcuppa.io. KP, a no-code maker, and evangelist had built the prototype of this virtual coffee shop where Twitter users could fix visual coffee sessions with each other to network. Getcuppa went on to build a standing community of more than 2000 users using the MVP alone.
Benefits of Building your MVP with Bubble
Pro #1: You can build anything
Bubble empowers makers to build almost every type of app, business or personal. This includes CRMs, Booking apps, marketplaces, internal tools, food delivery apps, event management apps, and more without code.
Pro #2: Test your product’s versions with your audience really fast
A huge factor in your product development journey is finding out if the market wants your product. Without this validation, you can’t invest in a hotshot developer team to code your product from scratch. Bubble lets you test your idea by allowing users to experience it in real-time. You get richer feedback in 4-6 weeks and iterate your product faster.
Pro #3: It scales easily.
Bubble provides plans that let you increase your servers when you get more customers and engagement on your MVP. While adding more servers, you can do load balancing and more which is automatically handled by Bubble. It optimizes your product infrastructure on its own too.
Pro #4: It’s highly flexible, as you can add custom code
Pro #5: You can integrate 3rd party app APIs to extend the functionality
API integrations are famous for expanding a no-code product’s features. Bubble connects with most of the popular tools via APIs, so you can make a full-fledged solution.
Pro #6: You can connect with external databases
When your product gets more customers, and you want to give them a fast app experience, Bubble can let you connect your app to external databases. It ensures a smoother experience for your users. Even for big companies, when they want to use their existing data infrastructure, they can connect that to their Bubble app via APIs. Thus, Bubble can serve as UI.
Problems of Building your MVP with Bubble
Con #1: Not suited for making native mobile applications
Bubble is primarily a platform to make web apps. If you’re creating mobile apps, you might hit a stonewall soon when trying to add elaborate features. Though you can still build MVPs, you might have to compromise on certain features.
Con #2: Scaling social media apps might be challenging in the longer run
If you’re building a new social media app and want to scale to thousands of users, you might face certain integral issues if you run it only on Bubble. Though you can build your MVP without a hiccup, for long-term scaling, you’ll have to look at external databases away from Bubble.
Con #3: Competing with coded solutions might not yield success
Coded apps still will have higher scalability and performance when compared to Bubble. Bubble does let you build really strong first versions of your app, however, makers must remain mindful of MVPs-level apps will fall short when competing with fully-coded solutions.
Step by Step Guide to Build your MVP on Bubble
As an example, we'll make a social network platform on Bubble.io and show you.
Step 1: Make wireframes and sketches.
Before going fully digital with the process, chart out your screens and user journeys on paper. For example, if you’re making a media-sharing app, visualise the 2 to 3 most important actions users will perform when they use your app. This will define the initial UX that you’ll test with your potential users.
By the end of the wireframing process, you’ll have sketched out screens that you want to make on Bubble.
Step 2: Make an account on Bubble
Go to bubble.io and click on "Get started". Then you can login with Google or enter your email and manually create a password.
You don't need to enter your credit card details. Bubble has a very generous free plan.
Step #3: Use the Bubble’s visual design tool to map out the user interface of your MVP.
If you’re drawing inspiration from another app, replicate their pages first.
Some of the initial pages you’d want to design are:
- Settings page - Let users update the details of their account
- Home page - Display the feed of content they’ll see
- Profile page - To show users’ details and a grid of their posts
- Upload page - Here, users will create their new posts
- Comments page - To let users see the comments on their posts
Step #4: Configure your database
You’ll need to power up your MVP with data fields, which will categorise the incoming user data and make the base of the workflows.
- Bubble allows you to have pre-built databases.
- Split large items into separate data types, this will keep your app fast.
- Once you do this, it will let users load the necessary information when they use the app. Refer here to find different data types.
Step #5: Build the workflows and core experiences
Keep in mind, each workflow happens when an event happens.
For example, if a user clicks on “create post” button, it’s an event.
For our social media example, our initial workflows will involve:
- Create a new post
- Following a user
- Updating user profiles
- Publishing comments
- Liking a post
- Displaying user profiles
You may also want to display the dynamic content in users’ feed. Use templates in case of doubts.
Case Studies: How to Validate your Ideas Without Code
Given how the use cases differ based on your target market, we’ll look at how certain MVPs were built and how their performance tested startup ideas.
Example #1: Qoins
Founders Nate Washington and Chris Zimmerman built Qoins to help people pay off their debts through automatic payments. They had started out in 2015, and used Bubble to build their initial concept, validate and iterate faster based on how users respond.
Their fintech solution scaled massively and in 2018, they raised an angel round of $750,000. As of now, they have helped users pay off over $12 million in debt with Qoins.
Even though they have transitioned to use code for parts of their business, they have continued using Bubble for a major part of their functions.
Example #2: Townscript
This is a subsidiary of Book My Show. They used Bubble to build and visualize the product idea for their already existing online events platform. They wanted to test if people would pay for it and would users sign up to use their platform.
With their initial working product on Bubble, they showed its experience to investors and customers via demos.
After acquiring their initial users and retaining them for a couple of months, they began building their coded solution. Coded solutions take several months to get launched and require a lot of money. Before committing such resources, Townscript had to validate that their product would work.
Bubble helped them investigate if their product has enough demand, which led to them direct their product development in the right way.
Example #3: Remi
This platform helps remote teams connect and build their organizational culture, with a series of daily and weekly team-building activities. Built by a team of 3 in early 2021, they have recently raise pre-seed funding of €1.2 million.
Remi had early customers already signed up. With market validation in hand, they aimed to raise funds from investors. They used Bubble to build their first version in 7 weeks.
With a working prototype and active users, they went on raise their pre-seed funding. They were able to integrate features with high efficiency and save up on a ton of resources.