Startup of the Day: Formaloo, Estonian no-code collaboration platform

Tallinn-based Formaloo offers a no-code platform that enables business teams to build custom business applications, internal tools, and customer engagement tools. Founded in 2020 Formaloo aims to democratize software development and claims that its platform helps to save 19 hours per week, per team. The startup has over 25,000 monthly active customers, including Meta, Bolt, and McDonald’s. Recently, Formaloo recently closed a €2 million seed round led by Change Ventures.

In the Startup of the Day column, Formaloo’s team, share more details about the startup’s idea, its product, and future plans.

Tell us about your startup. How does it work?

Formaloo is a no-code platform that enables business teams to build custom business applications, internal tools, and customer engagement tools fast and code-free. Users can turn their data into custom business apps like HR portals, forms, surveys, and customer engagement tools like CRMs, client portals, and more.

Formaloo is a complete self-service platform. It requires no instructions whatsoever. The users can pick a template from hundreds of free template examples and create their own forms and apps with just a few clicks.

Editing an app on the Formaloo platform is like playing with Lego bricks or building blocks. You can drag and drop them in your editor and Formaloo will take care of the rest. For example, if you add a login/signup to your app, then Formaloo automatically creates a full authentication system and a database for you.

How did you come up with the startup’s idea? What was the reason/motivation behind it?

Our founding team previously developed and sold data mining tools for clients, and one client asked for new modules on a nearly daily basis; it was costly and time-consuming. To solve this, we developed software enabling our clients to create new applications independently. The solution was a huge hit and very soon turned into a separate product under a new company, Formaloo.

The majority of businesses still use spreadsheets to manage their valuable data and to create custom solutions. They usually end up in a mess with too many duplicated files, lost access control, and complex spreadsheet files that are so fragile that they break again and again, making people afraid to work with them.
We aim to democratize software development with Formaloo. What Notion did with document generation and Airable with spreadsheets, Formaloo aims to do with business app databases, which until now have only been the domain of developers.

How long did it take to reach the prototype or MVP? What did you encounter?

We had a very rocky start. We were struggling hard on finding new customers. At first, we were focused on making the life of developers easier, and we were focused mostly on the developer as our target audience. That didn’t work out, our growth was small, and we were facing a lot of competition!

So we pivoted. We changed our focus to helping people who never coded in their life, like marketing teams, HR teams and agencies. A person could come to Formaloo, pick one of our 200+ templates, and create their own app in under 5 minutes.

That worked! People loved it and we grew fast. We were especially appreciated by the marketing teams. We soon found out that people need to collaborate with each other to create their tools, just like collaborating on Google Docs or Figma. So we added collaboration options so that all team members can work on the same app at the same time.

When exactly did you launch your product? Or when the launch is planned?

We launched our beta version in early 2020.

Tell us about the startup’s business model. How do you monetize your product?

Formaloo is a freemium service, you can use it for free or upgrade for more usage and collaboration options. Formaloo charges customers (currently $9) per employee using the platform, per month, when billed annually.

We have spent close to $0 on advertisements. We call our users “ambassadors” and engage them through our ‘build in public’ mentality, which has created a fast-growing community of citizen developers around our platform who share templates and tutorials and are engaged in the development of the product.

The product has reached its 25,000+ customers with a ‘build in public’ approach. Our company has reached 500% YoY in annual turnover with less than €150,000 in external funding in two years on organic product-led growth.

What are your target markets and consumers?

Formaloo targets a $46 billion market, including SMBs and SMEs with up to 500 employees globally. Our platform is actively used in the US, Germany, France, India, Australia, and South-East Asia.

If the startup has already launched the product, what are the results: metrics, income, or any clear indicators that can be evaluated.

Formaloo has over 3,000 paying customers. Our clients are managing more than 15 million customers on our platform every month. We’re also a Category leader on G2 already.

What about your team? How many people are working in the startup? If you’re looking for new employees, indicate whom exactly.

Farokh Shahabi is the co-founder and CEO of the company. Farokh, a serial entrepreneur, discovered his passion for coding at a young age. Starting his first venture in the UK at the age of 17, his initial goal was simply to learn how to code. However, to his surprise, his first startup gained traction and was ultimately acquired, making him one of Iran’s youngest entrepreneurs to achieve a successful exit.

Alongside Farokh, the three other co-founders, Noosh Baratpour, Hasan Noori, and Amir Hashemi, have worked with each other for over nine years in the field of data analytics. Having enjoyed 2 successful exits and M&A experiences in their previous ventures together, the quartet’s reunion for the launch of Formaloo showcases their unwavering commitment to simplifying data-driven operations.

Right now we’re 14 team members and by the end of this year, we will be about 20 team members. We’re actively looking for great talents to join our team as Sales executives, BDRs, SDRs, and senior developers.

Have you already raised any investments? Provide us with more details on each funding round: the amount, investors, and the purpose of the investment.

In July this year, Formaloo closed a seed round of €2 million, led by Change Ventures. The investor lineup includes Hyde Park Venture Partners, Mana Ventures, and Startup Wise Guys. The investment will take us to a new era of rapid expansion through vigorous marketing efforts in existing markets, as well as in the UK, Canada, and other English-speaking countries.

What’s next? Tell us about your future plans.

In five years, we aim to have 10 million clients and become the household name for a no-code ecosystem that can turn anyone into a developer.

Formaloo aims to be more than just yet another no-code platform. Our goal is to establish a comprehensive no-code ecosystem, where every no-code developer can bring their ideas to life using a unified set of tools. Not just Formaloo, but all of their favorite tools, together.