Low and no-code application building continues apace. Gently hum “Rowy rowy rowy your software, gently down the streams,” as we talk with the founder behind Rowy, the company that’s like Airtable on a lot of steroids, or Excel on a lot of steroids and a couple of lines of illegal substances. Of course, low-code solutions aren’t new, but they’re usually most useful for low-volume applications, with companies outgrowing their tools and needing to rebuild the tech stack. Rowy is aiming higher, wanting to make products accessible to anyone who is a spreadsheet power user, creating software backends that can develop and scale over time.
“Last week, Chat GPT from OpenAI showed the world a sliver of what the latest AI models are capable of. Large language models and generative AI capabilities are incredible and have opened many people’s eyes to the possibilities. Similarly, Rowy is going to show the world what AI is capable of when it comes to coding,” said Harini Janakiraman, Co-founder and CEO of Rowy in an interview with TechCrunch.
The company told us its aim is to create a system that can turn anybody’s vision into a digital product. “If you can use Excel, then you can use Rowy,” is the chorus the company keeps repeating in its mission to help entrepreneurs bring their projects, companies, and passions to life.
“Our aim is to lower the cost, time, and geographic barriers to entrepreneurship, so that anyone, anywhere with an idea can make it real. We are on the cusp of an entrepreneurial renaissance, and I see Rowy playing a huge part in it at scale,” said Janakiraman. “I am personally driven to make software development easier, simple, and accessible for everyone. More people should be building and innovating. Instead of focusing on the core business functionality, there is a lot of valuable developer time that gets wasted on figuring out how to build, deploy, set up DevOps, and on many other complexities in the development process.”
Speed to delivery is one thing, but the company is really doubling down on making it possible to continue to use Rowy, even after products hit production scale loads from eager users.
The company is based in Australia, and just closed a $3 million funding round on SAFE notes, led by Worklife Ventures (who, notably, are investors in Webflow and WorkOS).
“I am based in Sydney Australia, and thanks to the new norm of working remotely, I was able to connect with top Silicon Valley investors with a deep understanding of the space to support us in this journey. Our investors have helped us unlock great network opportunities for Rowy,” says Janakiraman. “With our lead investor, Brianne Kimmel from Worklife, we found the right partner for us who is aligned with our vision and has backed companies building modern tools for the next generation of makers at the earliest stages.”
With the money freshly and safely deposited in the bank account, the company is focusing on expanding the applicability of its platform to a broader set of backend templates, more extensive demos on its experimentation playground, and more. So far, it has demos for OpenAI GPT-3, Google Cloud Vision, a Stable Diffusion to Twitter Bot, and many more, that anyone can explore, clone, and get started.
“We are also building AI-native experiences in Rowy to help auto-generate backend code. We are seeing promising results with our early users as the generated code is more accurate as Rowy knows the context of your database and cloud platform,” says Janakiraman. “We have also been building Rowy in open-source and have an amazing community of over 6K developers across Github and Discord.”
In addition to raising her startup baby, Janakiraman had a newborn last year, and our conversation took us to what it was like to do both at once.
“Being a mother and a founder has made me way more efficient in how I put my time to use. I have always loved problem-solving and being organized but I think one thing that doesn’t get highlighted is how mothers are naturally amazing at multi-tasking,” she said. “This is something that I have gotten really good at over the last year and is a critical skill for being a founder. This has also made me all the more determined to be building something that creates the highest impact in the lives of builders, makers, and developers – so that they can focus on utilizing their time creating meaningful products.”