When Glide came out of Y Combinator in 2019, it was looking to help people with absolutely no coding ability to build a simple, but functional mobile app from data in a spreadsheet. While it still does that, it has also expanded its capabilities to build web apps as well. Today, the company announced a $20 million Series A.
Company co-founder and CEO David Siegel says that being able to create applications without coding was something they believed to be true, but upon launching out of YC, they were able to prove the thesis. "We thought that we could make it much easier to create really well-designed, data-driven apps if we started with the spreadsheet as the foundation," he said.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, the company began seeing an increase in interest as companies looked for ways to build applications quickly to help manage operations. That could have been around coordinating who could be in the building or where to find masks, as a couple of examples.
"One question we had in 2019 was do people who aren't software developers want to create software in general? That was something we didn't know the answer to. And what we learned in 2020 is if it's accessible and it's easy enough, everybody wants to create software," he said.
By last year, the company started seeing businesses creating more sophisticated applications using their service, and Siegel says that these applications were being built by folks without programming knowledge, who were tired of waiting for developer help on these projects.
Restaurant digital menu app built with Glide. Image Credits: Glide
"A Fortune 500 retail company used Glide for retail operations in their stores and to coordinate pickup and drop off of inventory. Hundreds of retail employees and drivers are using Glide apps coordinating on a dataset," he said. "And that solution was built by non-engineers who had been waiting years for a mobile solution in the company, but IT just didn't have the mobile knowledge or the time to help them on that project."
The company, which originally only supported building apps from Google Sheets, now supports Airtable and Excel as well. It also has a template store to help different industries such as restaurants get started faster with Glide, and it's added a Teams pricing level for companies building multiple apps.
Miles Grimshaw, general partner at lead investor Benchmark sees a company that can help define the category. "Glide makes building applications as easy as Shopify makes starting a store or Canva makes designing assets. We’re already seeing the breadth of potential when we make it possible for anyone to build powerful applications for their needs," Grimshaw told TechCrunch.
In fact, it has seen 500,000 users building a million apps with its platform, and this with organic growth, and just 15 employees so far. As he builds the company, he says that as a remote company, he can get employees from anywhere and he believes that will make it easier to find a diverse group of employees.
"When we get people from across the spectrum in any country and different stages of their career, they bring the other parts of their life to inform how we think about providing this solution to our customers … We're building something that we want to be broadly relevant for all people. So I think having a diverse team helps us keep that perspective," he said.
Today's round was led by Benchmark with participation from YC Continuity, First Round, SV Angel and existing and new industry angels.