How I Saved $60k, Launched in 3 Weeks and Skipped Pre-Seed Funding.

Anvil.works is a drag and drop Python editor that’s changing how founders bring products to market.

When I quit my job in September 2016, I was ready to stop getting a pay check. I thought I knew what I was getting into.

I set to work breathing life into algorithms I’d been mulling over for a year and a half. I’m a data scientist by training, so I’m used to a bit of coding.

But I’m not a full stack developer, so I started getting quotes to take the core of the code I’d already written and build a web application. And they were anywhere from $60,000–$100,000. Yes, it’s a complicated product. But I’d already written 80% of the backend. Why am I paying someone else to try to replicate my vision?

Frustrated and very much feeling my lack of stable income, I tried to learn how to build my web app from scratch. That’s when I found Anvil.works. It’s a drag and drop python editor that’s easy enough for beginners to use and customizable enough for machine learning algorithms.

Instead of a three-month timeline using an agency, I launched in three WEEKS. I started using the product internally and we ran a closed alpha test. It wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t need to be.

We charge $5,000/month, and that’s a product built on Anvil (which starts at $49/month). We were able to skip pre-seed funding by building a functional product. Six months out, we are a profitable business. And it turns out that the product works so well, no one really cares that it’s not pretty yet.

Meredydd and Ian are changing the way that founders can build and launch products. I shutter to think of where we would be right now if we hadn’t stumbled into Anvil.

The support I’ve gotten from them, both as a customer learning how to code and as a fellow founder, is astounding. They’ve spent hours with me debugging code, working through logic problems and building my company. And they’re genuinely nice people. We struggle in failures and share in successes together. They gave me the confidence to be my own technical founder, even though my resume doesn’t have the word “engineer” anywhere.

Here’s the thing: building a product is hard. It’s always going to be hard. But creating barriers to entry around the level of technical knowledge that founders need in order to launch makes something very difficult almost impossible. Founders need to have products and people who can support them. For me, I found that through Anvil.

Written by

CEO @LightningAI, Demand Gen @Intercom, User Acquisition @MileIQ (acquired by Microsoft). Changing marketing through data science.

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