Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a New York City-based private equity investor, closed its purchase of Intuit's QuickBase business last week. It was an interesting play for the private equity firm to buy a coding platform designed for people with no coding background whatsoever.
More importantly for the low-code application development movement, it was a major marker of credibility.
The No Code Movement
Why? Well, in a world where IT headlines are all about artificial intelligence, machine learning and such, low-code is not exactly a head turner.
Indeed, Forrester senior analyst John Rymer, who studies application development platforms, had his suspicions that citizen developers — that is, line of business employees that create or customize business applications — didn't really exist. He eventually found them — at a QuickBase conference last year.
But it is telling that it took Rymer some legwork to find them, despite the fact that the citizen developer trend has been part of the tech vernacular for a few years.
The movement, though, is gaining momentum.
Meanwhile, Forrester has sized the market to reach $15 billion by 2020. It also found that out of a grouping of 38 low-code platform vendors with an estimated revenue of $50 million or higher. QuickBase currently serves more than 6,000 customers, including half of the Fortune 100.
What Happens Next
And now there is WCAS' purchase of QuickBase.
When Intuit announced it would sell the platform last year there were concerns that it might be pushed in a new, IT-heavy direction under the new ownership. WCAS, though, is very enthusiastic about the platform as it currently exists.
"Quick Base is led by a strong management team with a highly supportive customer base and a platform that has been changing the way businesses create and deploy applications," said Michael Donovan, a WCAS General Partner. "With increased focus and investment, such as doubling product development funding, the company can even better serve its customers and capitalize on the multi-billion dollar opportunity ahead."
It plans to give QuickBase plenty of run room to continue to do what it does.
QuickBase will be run as a stand alone business, with its headquarters based in Cambridge, Mass.
QuickBase General Manager Allison Mnookin is the newly independent company’s CEO. The existing senior management team and more than 200 employees are remaining in place.
It is important that QuickBase continues to cater to its typical user: the no-coding skills worker, Mnookin told CMSWire.
"Our customers are unlike any others in the industry," she said. "We certainly have customers who are in IT or in a senior business operations role, but the platform is so easy you don’t need to know code to use it. Therefore, we are actually extending the low-code trend to a much larger universe of potential users."
Mnookin said that no other vendor in the market place is building tools or a platform for this user group.
Now that it is divested from Intuit QuickBase plans to market itself and its customer stories more aggressively, she said, “especially the stories of our larger customers who fall outside of the Intuit target SMB customer base.”
"As more individuals hear about the amazing results our customers have achieved, I think the adoption of low-code platforms will spread even faster."
Double R&D Funding
WCAS also plans to invest in QuickBase, she added, doubling the funding for research and development over the next three years compared to the previous three.
"As a result, we are growing our team by 20 percent and investing more in product, marketing and sales."