By Nancy Dahlberg
Front-end developers in South Florida and around the world, take note: This new software platform made in Miami is designed for you.
And if you are a tech entrepreneur looking for ways to shave costs, shorten the development cycle and get to market sooner – and who isn’t – it was made for you, too.
8base, founded by Miami serial entrepreneur Albert Santalo, is developing alow-code development platform and developer ecosystem that uses disruptive technologies such as blockchain and AI to accelerate digital transformation. After about a year in development, 8base unleashed its first SaaS product this week on 8base.comand it’s called the 8Base Platform. 8base Platform will be in beta for several months while 8base gathers feedback and makes refinements. It’s set for a general release next year.
At a launch event Oct 25 – you’re invited-- Santalo will be sharing his vision and presenting demos of the platform. I spoke to Albert last week, as he was getting ready for launch.
“Having been around business software my whole career, I always thought why is this so hard? Often times I felt like I was doing the same thing over and over again,” said Santalo. That led me to 8base … Just as Wix and Squarespace do this for websites, we think the world needs to go the same way when it comes to business software.”
The 8base Platform allows a front-end developer, who is usually a part of an overall team, to create fully-functional and scalable software applications autonomously. What’s on the market now isn’t accessible and affordable to small and mid-sized businesses, says Santalo.
A few of the differentiators, according to Santalo: The 8base Platform is built inside a fully scalable cloud infrastructure. The platform allows developers around the world to add capabilities to it, without depending on the 8base team. It was constructed so you can stand up entire companies on it. The data can be used by multiple applications and you can have different clients inside the data like a product company would have, he said.
The time is right because with $2 trillion expected to go into digital transformation in the next few years, no business wants to be left behind, Santalo said. “The truth is any business is at risk of digital disruption. We put the power of digital transformation in the hands of small and midsized businesses all over the world.”
To be sure, the road to 8base is a very #MiamiTech story. After all, Santalo is back with company No. 3. No.1 and 2 were in the healthcare technology space and also built in South Florida: In 2009, he founded and ran the venture backed CareCloud, one of the area’s premier tech employers, and in 2001 he founded Avisena.
8base is a hand-picked team of 15 -- 8 in Coral Gables and 7 in St. Petersburg, Russia. It has been funded so far with $1 million in angel investment, including from Santalo, and another angel/family office round is underway. Although he has raised $100 million in VC for his previous companies, Santalo doesn’t see that happening with this business model because it doesn’t rely on a huge sales force. “We will draw them into the website (8base.com) through the marketing. They can try the product for free without human intervention.”
Santalo is also an angel investor, although, he says, “Right now my eye is completely on the 8base ball.”
Next year 8base plans to release a no-code App-Builder tool that will let business people do some of this on their own. But Santalo says he’s not trying to put developers out of business.
“There is not enough developers in the world and we want those developer focused on real problems, not the mundane stuff that consumes their lives today. This can have an exponential impact on innovation -- it puts the highest value worker doing the highest value add work at any point in time and it puts power into the hands of business people that they didn’t have before so they themselves can innovate.”
Says Santalo: “What excites me the most about all this – think about the impact that a technology like this can have on South Florida, which is behind as a region in terms of technology-based businesses and innovation. What we are doing ultimately is we are going to give entrepreneurs tools to get to market more quickly. If we do this right in South Florida, it is going to have an incredible impact on innovation.”
To that end, 8base also recently launched a weekly podcast, 8base Radio, featuring entrepreneurs, tech professionals, industry experts and investors from South Florida and beyond who are shaping the future of technology and culture. Catch it live every Monday evening from 5 pm - 6 pm EDT on 880 AM radio in South Florida or stream the episode anytime after that from 8base.com.
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at email@example.com