How 2 friends built a fintech startup on a $320/month NoCode tech stack!

Building a global asset management fintech startup just using 11 NoCode tools, in a month, with a $320/month NoCode tech stack!

10th November 2022
5 min read

In a nutshell

What is Strabo?
Strabo is a wealth management platform that helps you manage your financial assets spread across multiple countries on a simple dashboard.

How did Strabo come to be?
An ex-British athlete and an ex-Amazonian, Ben and Michael, came together to create Strabo. Michael, who was brought up in the US and now worked at Amazon in London, couldn't find a tool to manage his financial assets spread across the globe. So, he built a platform himself!

Why go the NoCode way?
While building Strabo, Mike and Ben had 1 main priority - create an MVP quickly and launch the product to a limited set of users to quickly get direct feedback. Then they could iterate on the said feedback. NoCode was both affordable and quick to execute, so they decided to buildd their dashboard on Bubble!

Strabo's NoCode tech stack:
1. Bubble — Dashboard
2. Webflow — Website
3. Figma — Design
4. Notion — Notes
5. Canva — Assets

6. TypeForm — Forms
7. Mailchimp — Emails
8. Ahrefs — SEO analysis
9. Medium — Blogs
10. Jira — Productivity
11. Prefinery — Referral Programs

Within just a month, Strabo's MVP was ready and they spent a total of $320/month (~£280/month) on their entire tech stack. Since the entire dashboard was built on Bubble and their requirements were very advanced, they outsourced the backend Bubble work for £10,000.


NoCode has completely changed the game of building a startup.

A decade ago, there were no easy-to-use tools that could help you buildd tech products with no coding experience and at a very little cost. But, with NoCode anything is possible now!

  • Want to buildd an app/website without a developer? — DONE
  • Want to create your own web designs? — DONE
  • Want to run a 1000+ subscriber list mail campaign? — DONE
  • Want to create your own forms without code? — DONE
  • Want to automate all repetitive tasks? — DONE

There is a NoCode tool for anything and everything you need on the internet. And, most importantly it's all super efficient, intuitive and affordable!

In our NoCode case study today, we explore how 2 buddies in London built a global wealth management fintech startup all using NoCode tools worth ~£280/month ($320/month)!

So, let's get right into it!

The Inception of Strabo

An ex-British athlete and an ex-Amazonian, Ben and Michael, came together to create Strabo. Both co-founders had previously worked in tech, business and finance-related roles. But, Strabo came into being because of a problem Michael faced.

strabo-nocode-case-study

Michael grew up in the US and later moved to Europe to pursue his MBA. He started working at Amazon in London. But, by that point, his financial assets were scattered all over the globe. So much so that he was spending a great deal of time each month tracking the asset values alone, before making any kind of serious financial decisions.

Although personal finance platforms existed, there was nothing that covered multiple countries and enough asset classes to handle Michael's entire portfolio. So Michael, along with Ben, decided to buildd the platform that he wanted to use himself!

Lessons:

  1. DON'T build startups based on popular trends. Build one that solves real customer problems.
  2. To find a startup idea, stop thinking of potential ideas and start observing problems around you.

So, what exactly is Strabo?

Strabo is a portfolio tracker for global citizens. Ben and Michael set out to buildd an investment dashboard where users could track the values of all their holdings.

  1. The dashboard provides a holistic overview of your bank accounts, investment accounts, cryptocurrency, pensions, real estate and alternatives across different countries.
  2. Plus they wanted to buildd features like portfolio analytics, in-app FX transfers, tax planning tools etc.
  3. So, Strabo is basically a digital wealth management platform that helps with investment decisions, portfolio management, taxes and long-term retirement planning.

And, what problems did they face?

Now, building a global wealth management platform is very ambitious. Anyone who has investments in different asset classes knows that there is no single dashboard to manage all their finances.

Usually, people use one app for managing their bank accounts, one app for their investments, one for taxes and one for maybe crypto. So, creating such a dashboard is already a mammoth task without even thinking of a global fintech application spanning multiple countries.

But, when you are creating such a unique application, it's first incredibly important to validate your idea. More often than not, startups buildd complex tools without testing if they align with their customers' needs.

Ben and Michael very early understood that they had to buildd an MVP for Strabo first. And, creating this working prototype quickly was an important priority because:

  1. They needed the prototype while pitching their startup to investors
  2. They wanted to onboard users to their Beta program and quickly get direct feedback so they could iterate.

Strabo had a very lean team. And, they didn't have the technical expertise to buildd a prototype from scratch.

Here's where NoCode came in!

Lessons:

  1. When building a product, always think of building an MVP first. Launch a version of the product, get feedback, iterate & build on top of it.
  2. If you don't need customisations, use a no-code solution instead. For ex., you should almost never feel the need to build a marketing page from scratch - use a no-code tool.
  3. Use tech to build your startup. DON'T use your startup to build fancy tech.

Why did they buildd a fintech app using NoCode?

So, speed in execution and lack of technical expertise were the main problems Strabo faced. NoCode immediately came up as the best solution for both problems.

But, a major limitation of using NoCode was the amount of data processing required to run an investment platform.

You see, Strabo is able to track the values of different holdings using API connections via open banking. A user can basically log in and connect to 10,000+ financial institutions across 11 different countries and their respective currencies. One can only imagine how much data needs to be processed. This is why fintech platforms aren't built on NoCode, even the MVPs that is.

strabo-nocode-case-study

Now, Ben and Michael knew that just at the idea stage their product would be based on a number of pre-existing biases and assumptions, which may or may not be true. It was essential to test these biases first before they could ship the final Strabo version, quickly and affordably.

So, the duo choose to take the leap and use NoCode to buildd the prototype!

Lessons:

  1. Keep shipping ⇒ Perfect is the enemy of good.
  2. Make things work ⇒ Make things fast ⇒ Make things beautiful.

Strabo's NoCode Tech Stack

Strabo as a whole has 3 main parts:

  1. the actual dashboard (built on Bubble)
  2. the marketing website (built on Webflow)
  3. the API integrations (built/coded from scratch)

Here's their complete NoCode Tech Stack!

1) Bubble

Use Case ⇒ Strabo's entire platform is built on Bubble. So it's essentially the main NoCode tool. The platform consists of a dashboard that shows user information, account balances across bank accounts, stocks and crypto, and some light analytics.

The web app is connected to a multitude of plugins — API connections, chatbox, etc.

Why did they choose Bubbe? ⇒ The primary reason was that Bubble is one of the most popular NoCode tools. So, there is no shortage of Bubble developers, and resources to learn the workings of the tool.

It is also quite intuitive to use. But, since they had a very advanced set of requirements, they opted to outsource a large portion of back-end Bubble work and worked on the front-end themselves.

Main Dashboard

strabo-nocode-case-study

Financial Health Tool

strabo-nocode-case-study

Portfolio Rebalancing Tool

strabo-nocode-case-study

2) Webflow

Use Case ⇒ The dashboard is accessed via their marketing website which is built on Webflow. Webflow helps you buildd beautiful custom layouts without Code. You can leverage its CMS to create numerous automated pages.

Webflow is particularly a great tool for creating beautiful custom websites to pixel perfection.

Alternatives ⇒ Bubble, Softr, Unicorn Platform

strabo-nocode-case-study

3) Ahrefs

Use Case ⇒ They use this for keyword research to improve their SEO and screen new content before posting it.

Alternatives ⇒ SemRush, Moz

strabo-nocode-case-study

4) Prefinery

Use Case ⇒ They created their referral program using Prefinery. Referral programs basically incentivize your previous users to recommend your product to new users. Prefinery's sign-up box is easily hard-coded into their landing page which supports the entire referral program.

5) Figma

Use Case ⇒ This is their advanced design tool, used for website design, platform design and product demos. It is also used for shared design collaboration with external design teams.

strabo-nocode-case-study

6) Typeform

Use Case ⇒ They use Typeform to create forms for their email campaigns and to collect user information. Typeform has a very simple and intuitive UI and with its conditional logic, you can create forms with varying degrees of complexity. It is very seamlessly integrated into Strabo's marketing website.

strabo-nocode-case-study

7) Canva

Use Case ⇒ Canva is a very versatile tool. Strabo specifically uses it to create social media posts, decks and individual assets for posting across channels.

strabo-nocode-case-study

8) Notion

Use Case ⇒ This is an internal tool. They use it for all collaborative note-taking including meeting notes and tracking the progress of external stakeholders.

strabo-nocode-case-study

9) Medium

Use Case ⇒ They use Medium for formatting and pasting blogs, as well as sharing these with other users. They also find other people's blogs on Medium to get Strabo featured on them.

strabo-nocode-case-study

10) Jira

Use Case ⇒ They use this for all internal project management, in an Agile methodology using either weekly sprints or kanban, depending on the project.

strabo-nocode-case-study

11) Mailchimp

Use Case ⇒ They use this for user waitlist management, email campaigns and monthly newsletter for both users and investors.

strabo-nocode-case-study

Going from No Product to Product!

The biggest impact of using NoCode was the fact that they went from NO PRODUCT to PRODUCT in just ONE month!

Now, Strabo's team has not started charging for their product yet. Since they are still working on getting more users and collecting feedback. But, they already saved a lot of money by choosing to go NoCode.

Tech Stack Cost

  1. Bubble ⇒ £100/month
  2. Webflow ⇒ £100/year
  3. Prefinery ⇒ £60/month
  4. Typeform ⇒ £21/month
  5. Mailchimp ⇒ £11/month
  6. Ahrefs ⇒ £79/month

All the other tools are FREE! So, in total, they spend ~£280/month on these tools. Since they outsourced the back-end Bubble work they had to spend an extra £10,000. But, that is still 3 times cheaper than the proposed £30,000 of development work.

Shortcomings with NoCode

The Bubble platform, and NoCode more generally, has the limitation that it can't handle large amounts of data. So, it is more suited to some industries than others, and may not be the ideal choice for a fin-tech platform.

This means that NoCode may not be a viable choice for Strabo at scale.

But, that's a problem to worry for, at a much later stage. For a prototype, NoCode was a great choice for Strabo, especially given the speed with which it came together.

Lesson:

  1. There are limits to what you can buildd with NoCode.
  2. But until you reach those limits, do yourself a favour and use NoCode tools at your startup.

Strabo also faced a few reliability issues when making API calls. But these were contextual issues, and not specific to NoCode tools.

Final Thoughts

NoCode gives non-tech founders the superpower to buildd a product!

  1. Most NoCode tools are extremely intuitive to use
  2. They are easy to pick up. For instance, Webflow can be learned in a matter of weeks.
  3. More importantly, you can quickly update or iterate when your product is built on NoCode.

Of course, NoCode has its limitations when it comes to complex technical products or handling scale.

But, in the early stages, your biggest worry is to deliver a product to your users quickly and get feedback from them. NoCode helps you do exactly that!

8
Comments

You'll love these articles too!

A marketer scales his startup to $50k MRR on a $500 NoCode stack!
A marketer scales his startup to $50k MRR on a $500 NoCode stack!
This startup did programmatic SEO with NoCode on $50/mo stack!
This startup did programmatic SEO with NoCode on $50/mo stack!
7 types of NoCode tools - launch your startup's MVP without Code!
7 types of NoCode tools - launch your startup's MVP without Code!

A marketer scales his startup to $50k MRR on a $500 NoCode stack!

Erman Küplü worked as a digital marketer for 15+ years created Analyzify, a data analytics tool for Shopify apps.

The platform essentially connects you with 3rd party tools and simplifies the process of data collecting, tracking and reporting — a valuable offering, especially for e-commerce store owners.

Version 1 of Analyzify was completely built on Ruby on Rails. But, Erman could only code a little in PHP & HTML.

He wanted to make many front-end, UI/UX improvements. But, for changing a simple feature or altering a line of code, he'd have to call up the developer.

That's when he came across a post about building Shopify apps using a NoCode tool called Bubble. With Bubble, we could easily edit their Shopify app through a simple graphic interface.

That was a game changer and they quickly went on improving the product and adding cool backend workflows!

Analyzify's NoCode Tech Stack

1. Bubble ⇒ manages all frontend and 90% of their workflow
2. Tallyforms ⇒ created customer-facing forms for different support requests
3. Contentful ⇒ is their headless CMS. Manages their in-app content, website content, FAQs and much more.

4. Coda ⇒ is their internal database. Most of their data is sent from Bubble to Coda
5. Zapier ⇒ integrates all their apps
6. Zendesk ⇒ they use Zendesk's support ticketing system to attend to customer support requests.

Well, Analyzify immediately took off!

1. Version 2 was built only in 5 months using Bubble with less than part-time effort.
2. In just 1.5 years, Analyzify went from ZERO to 1500+ clients. And they expanded to 3 more products.

3. They passed an MRR of $50K+ and their team grew to 20+ people!
4. As for their cost — their entire tech stack only costs them $500 per month.

But, eventually, Erman shifted from a NoCode to LowCode solution. Reasons:

a. To add custom server-side logic
b. To handle data from multiple apps in a single place

This startup did programmatic SEO with NoCode on $50/mo stack!

Breweriesnearby.com is a programmatic SEO website built by Ian Ruta.

Ian is really passionate about breweries.

So, considering the high SEO potential of brewery keywords, he decided to buildd a directory for craft breweries using NoCode tools.

Programmatic SEO is a way to create 1000s of pages based on an underlying database.

Here are the different parts of Breweriesnearby that together make a programmatic SEO website:
a) Content
b) SEO potential
c) Database
d) Automated Pages

But, why go the NoCode way?

Problem:
- Generating SEO traffic is NOT straightforward
- It requires rapid experimentation
- Time and cost of hiring a dev team made the project risky ➝ in-front cost
- Plus there was bound to be recurring dev cost ➝ multiple iterations

Solution:
- With NoCode, Ian built the MVP and version 1 at fraction of the cost and time
- The project was built with less complexity - as there was no need to communicate and align with a team.
- Plus he could experiment and iterate quickly based on user feedback

NoCode Tech Stack

1. Webflow ⇒ pages are automatically created from Webflow's CMS data and templates. It has in-built technical SEO capabilities and provides design flexibility
2. Airtable ⇒ is the main database that stores all the content we discussed earlier.
3. Whalesync ⇒ syncs data from Airtable to Webflow's CMS. This is a faster more user-friendly syncing alternative to Zapier.

4. Jetboost ⇒ NoCode Webflow tool that adds features like search, pagination, and filtering to your website.
5. Octoparse ⇒ Octoparse is a free scraper tool that gathers data from brewery directories and structures them into spreadsheets that are pasted into the Airtable database.
6. SEMRush ⇒ SEO tool that helps identify low-competition, high-volume long-tail keywords surrounding breweries.

Final impact

A) Cost
- Webflow + Airtable + WhaleSync + Octoparse + SEMRush ⇒ $50/month
- Opposed to the $3k for a dev team

B) Time
- MVP ➝ 1 week
- Version 1 ➝ 3 more weeks

C) Metrics
- 30,000 organic impressions
- 1000 organic clicks
- 1000 pages live
The site was launched in July 2022, so their numbers are steadily increasing.

But, regardless, you cannot discount the fact that Ian was able to buildd a complex product affordably in just one month with NoCode.

💡 Lessons:

1) Learn NoCode by doing
2) When stuck, visit online NoCode communities
3) Learn the scope and limitations of the tools you use before you start building

4) It’s important to still maintain lean principles as well, even if NoCode is already a lean approach.
5) And, as and when you buildd the product, try to validate as much of it as possible at different stages before committing too much of your time.