- At Amazon’s annual cloud conference, AWS re:Invent, Business Insider sat down with Ed Sim, founder and managing partner of Boldstart Ventures, to talk about the hottest trends in enterprise startups.
- Boldstart Ventures often writes the first check to early enterprise startups, and it was the first to invest in Greenplum, which became part of Pivotal Software.
- Sim says that there’s massive opportunity in “low code, no code,” security and serverless applications.
The next big trend in startups is … no code.
That’s what Ed Sim, founder and managing partner of Boldstart Ventures, says. Boldstart often writes the first check to seed enterprise startups. In fact, Boldstart was the first investor to invest in Greenplum, which became part of Pivotal Software.
The job gives Sim a window into the latest industry trends, and he pointed to a recent “low code, no code” theme in which startups build programs and apps with little to no code.
There’s also massive potential in cloud and security, Sim says. Enterprises are still in the early stages of moving their workloads to clouds, which means that there are tons of opportunities for cloud startups to dive into. And with constant attacks and vulnerabilities in software, security startups can help strike the balance between security and how fast developers can build a product.
Here are three early trends that Sim is seeing.
Low code, no code
Startups in this space make developing easier for users.. For example, Manifold ties together the best cloud services into one space for users to easily search, and RapidAPI also organizes API’s on one site.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about the developer,” Sim told Business Insider. “You’re going to win opportunities in the enterprise. Any startup leveraging that developer first trend is exciting.”
What’s more, these startups make it easier for people to build applications, often without writing code. Twilio, which had a $1.2 billion IPO in 2016, was one of the seminal companies in the sector. And a growing number of startups are making waves in the space, including Airtable, which allows users to build databases by entering data onto a spreadsheet-like interface and using drag and drop.
Another such company is Dark, currently a five person startup co-founded by Paul Biggar, one of the co-founders of the developer tool CircleCI. Dark promises that it can help people build applications in just an afternoon.
“It’s getting easier and easier for regular people to code,” Sim said.
“Security is going to get absolutely hot.”
“Security is going to get absolutely hot,” Sim said. “Every time you think about security, you think about tradeoff in speed versus security.”
Observability startups are increasingly becoming key, Sim says. Observability is similar to monitoring, but they also help with alerting and analytics on how well a system works. Essentially, these startups monitor a system’s performance to make sure everything is working.
For example, a startup called Snyk, which Boldstart seeded, automates the process of finding and fixing vulnerabilities in open source software.
“Not only are [developers] writing code and assembling code, but they’re also putting it into production,” Sim said. “Now there’s all these vulnerabilities built in. Why not make developers security aware? That’s going to become a really big thing next year.”
Another security trend Sim sees is chaos engineering, which means that engineers purposely break things in order to test for vulnerabilities and outages, before they happen. This was spearheaded by Netflix developers in 2010 when they created Chaos Monkey, but more startups like Gremlin have joined the space.
Chaos engineering is similar to vaccinations, instead of injecting a virus or bacteria into your body to prevent diseases, engineers inject attacks into a system.
“Companies like Gremlin are out there talking about how you pull the plug on the database or server,” Sim said. “Is the system going to bounce back? Is it resilient? It’s like injecting problems before it breaks.”
Serverless is starting to become the norm for enterprises, with Amazon Web Services developing serverless databases like Timestream and Aurora. Applications are run on the cloud instead, and companies can focus on building their application, rather than managing infrastructure.
“All you have to worry about is building your application or back end service,” Sim said. “It automatically scales. It gives you even more agility. That’s the promise of serverless technology.”
As a result, there are now rising opportunities for startups to build tools to help enterprises support serverless applications, or applications built without servers and on the cloud instead. One startup that Boldstart seeded, IOpipe, which does monitoring for serverless applications.