Dave McManus is an explorer: the ocean, the world, the great unknown of the startup space. During a five-year stint in Silicon Valley, the Melbourne-based product professional founded his own healthcare startup, where he learned a lot but realized that not being able to code or build on his own as a founder wasn’t going to work. Dave is like a lot of us; he tried to learn to code several times but got bogged down in the minutiae and lost steam. Then he found Bubble and, with it, the momentum he’d been trying to gain to build his projects. That’s why he’s so keen on helping other people learn to build their ideas out in Bubble. We spoke to Dave about what drew him to Bubble and what he hopes to offer his students.

Join Dave's bootcamp, Lightning Products, to learn the foundations of Bubble and what inspired Dave to keep building.

Tell me a little about yourself – the real you!

I grew up in Australia, where I split my time between Melbourne and exploring the south coast of Victoria. There, I developed my love for the ocean, and you can still find me surfing, spearfishing, and diving whenever I get the chance. I lived in San Francisco, California, for five years, where I pursued my startup ambitions and built an incredible network of friends and mentors. I moved back to Melbourne in 2021, where I continue to follow my passions of ocean exploration, recreation, and conservation, in addition to professional pursuits of business development and entrepreneurship.

Can you elaborate a little on your career path – where you’ve been and where you’re headed?

I kicked off my career in digital marketing and analytics. A few years later, I started to develop interest in the technology industry and startups, and I've been obsessed ever since. As a result, I moved to Silicon Valley to learn from successful, seasoned entrepreneurs across a range of industries. Shortly after moving to San Francisco I took the leap and founded a digital healthcare company called Tuki Health. This was a powerful learning experience, both professional and personal, that taught me about what it means to be a leader, how to fail “up,” and the importance of work-life balance.

How did you discover Bubble? Why did you choose to build with no-code?

I came across Bubble about a year and a half ago, after closing down my startup. As a non-technical founder, I realized that not being able to code was a big barrier to success. I searched the internet for ways to learn the technical skills that I lacked, and found Bubble. I felt excited and empowered when I discovered a tool that not only enabled me to build apps, but made it easy! I had tried learning to code about five times (Python and Javascript), but I would always get bogged down with syntax errors and give up with Bubble, I was able to get up and running quickly and keep up the momentum. If I can do it, anyone can!

Grant Tracker app.
An app Dave built in Bubble, Grant Tracker

So far I’ve built five full products with Bubble. They have all been hobby projects but I do plan to build a commercial business with it in the future.

Some apps I’ve built with Bubble:

  • A tool to help non-profits find and apply for grants called Grant Tracker.
  • A product that helps small businesses quickly send, track, and follow up on digital invoices via SMS called Quick Payments.
  • A small social app similar to Instagram for DIY projects.
Quick Payments app.
One of the apps Dave built in Bubble, Quick Payments

What do you expect you will enjoy most about teaching Bootcamps (or teaching), in general?

I'm excited about working with students from diverse backgrounds, to help them achieve their creative goals. I love that every person learns differently this actually helps me learn how to be a better teacher and practitioner. I’m hoping that many of my students will go on to use Bubble to make a positive impact on the world.

If you had one piece of advice to entrepreneurs/prospective students, what would it be?

You can do it! Follow your dreams, be true and authentic to yourself, and always seek out mentors who have done what you want to do. Learn from your mistakes and failures, stay humble, and remember that many people in the world have created things, and they are no smarter than you or me.