The economic downturn has led to a hiring slowdown in the tech industry, forcing CTOs — and the teams they manage — to work with less. He put the microscope on developers especially when it comes to efficiency. Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently said productivity is “not where it needs to be,” and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has raised performance goals to get rid of employees who he believes “shouldn’t be.” [there]He said.
A good amount of developers’ time is spent on internal tools, including building admin dashboards, report generation systems, and data pipelines. And here, as Brad Menezes says, there is a significant opportunity to reduce repetitive and manual programming tasks. He is the CEO of Superblocks, a recently launched platform that provides building blocks for creating custom internal applications, workflows and scheduled tasks.
The data is a little harder to come by, but — to Menezes’ point — internal tools seem to cost companies a lot of time and resources. Retool, a competitor to Superblocks, found in a recent survey that developers spend more than 30% of their time building internal applications. Interestingly, respondents said the pandemic has led to an increase in time spent on internal devices, likely because employers need to quickly adapt their technology stack to remote and hybrid work arrangements.
“As developers ourselves, my co-founder Ran Ma and I have repeatedly faced the pain of building internal tools at every company we’ve worked with, and we’ve realized that it’s the core building. Blocks They’re mostly the same,” Menezes told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Software is consuming every business process, and custom internal software has become incredibly expensive to build, difficult to maintain, and difficult to maintain. We built Superblocks Freeing developers to spend time on custom backend infrastructure to focus entirely on the user experience… specific to their business.
Prior to founding Superblocks, Menezes was Senior Product Manager at Yelp and Senior Director of Product Management at Datadog, as well as an angel investor in enterprise startup Sequoia. Ma was previously a senior engineer at Morgan Stanley before joining a support, help desk software-as-a-service startup and Confluent as an engineering lead.
True to its dev-simplification mission, Superblocks provides tools for building applications, workflows, and tasks connected to enterprise data sources. Using a drag-and-drop interface, users can build apps like database admin panels and order management screens with business logic (eg, “When a new support ticket is created, send it to Slack”), integrating data from databases, internal APIs. And elsewhere.
Scheduled tasks in Superblocks run every minute, hour, day, week or month to automate reports such as email, while apps created by the platform can be monitored with tools like Datadog and Grafana. Workflows can be set up to trigger automations, such as tapping on an alert, when customers take actions in-app.
“CTOs are always looking for ways to allocate more engineering time to a customer-facing product, but they often turn to internal tools because it’s the only way to measure operations against business growth. The cost of building, maintaining and maintaining internal applications is high as developer salaries rise and customer support costs rise to meet ever-increasing customer demand,” said Menezes. “Superblocks is an accelerator for building internal applications.”
Certainly, costs are a concern for companies with a lot of internal resources. According to Ritol’s back-of-the-envelope calculations, the cost of maintaining internal applications for a company with more than 1,000 employees can exceed $8.2 million. That’s because more than half of companies have at least one full-time employee dedicated to building and maintaining internal tools, Retool data shows — and developer salaries are high.
But just because a company wants a faster and cheaper way doesn’t mean it chooses Superblocks. Competitors include Upsmith, Snapboard and Airplane. Many have significant venture backing. The aforementioned Retol raised $45 million in July at a $3.2 billion valuation.
Menezes says he thinks about the competitive landscape in three ways: build-your-own, legacy incumbents and low-code startups. Legacy executives necessarily have large professional services teams to configure on-premise software, he argues, while startups are largely focused on business users as opposed to developers.
“Extreme blocking [allows] “Greater customization, performance and integration with business systems,” Menezes said. It’s growing higher.”
Superblocks — a fully managed service and hybrid model with open source, self-hosted packages — has “hundreds” of customers, including Motive, Payhawk, Clearco, Papaya Global and Alchemy, which Menezes says are using it heavily. A platform to automate customer support tasks. Investors were encouraged by the funding, which Menezes declined to disclose — Superblocks closed $37 million in funding today from Kleiner Perkins, GreenOx, Spark, and Meritech, as well as the founders of Earthable, Twilio, Okta, Confluent, and Firebase. , Instacart, Fivetran, Box, Yelp and DocuSign.
“Recent market volatility has resulted in a hiring slowdown across the tech industry, forcing CTOs to do more with less. This has led to a renewed focus on developer efficiency, which is driving the demand for superblocks, especially in leveraged businesses,” Menezes continued. It allows us to invest in products to meet the high customer demand we’re seeing.We’ll invest deeply in our core products, launch new ones, and continue to invest in the world-class engineering support our customers enjoy.