Vlad (L) & Levon (R)

Vlad Larin is a cofounder at Zeroqode, a full-service app development agency that offers templates, plugins and custom builds for solo entrepreneurs to established enterprises

How did Zeroqode start?

Levon, my friend and a co-founder is behind the idea of doing what we do. He’s a long-time meditation practitioner and had an idea for a meditation and consciousness app back in 2014. He spent around $50,000 on a development team to build that app from scratch with code. This turned out to be a challenging experience in a lot of ways and fast-forward 1.5 years when ​Bubble​ hit Product Hunt, he was blown away by the speed and simplicity of building a similar app on Bubble all by himself. This was when the idea for Zeroqode first came up. Levon started small with a team of one designer and himself, and I joined a few month later.

Today, our business consists of 2 main streams — Zeroqode for products and Zeroqode Development for services. Zeroqode Development​, originally Bubblewits, offers rapid development services for startups that need to ship fast and enterprises that experiment with digital transformation and validating new ideas quickly with minimum costs. Zeroqode​ is about accelerating development speed with powerful templates and plugins. We always have something cool cooking, which we share with the wonderful Bubble community first.

When did you join the team and scale it from just the founders?

Oh, this is an interesting story. By chance myself and Levon sat at the same table in one of the coworking spaces in Chisinau, Moldova one day. It turned out we were both from Central Asia — he’s from Kazakhstan and I’m from Uzbekistan (probably the only two people in all of Moldova from that part of the world). We both were always passionate about programming, but never all that passionate about coding — so the Bubble way was something that resonated very strongly with both of us.

Before long, I left my job managing a region in a large international IT company to focus on building a small, but very ambitious no-code development startup together with Levon. Since then I run operations and Levon leads product management while we work hand-in-hand for recruiting, marketing, ventures and strategy.

What tech trends inspired the business lines of Zeroqode?

When you say ‘I need a website’, most people think of WordPress theme from portals like Themeforest where you can browse and select free and paid templates. That’s a billion dollar business right there that has helped people launch their websites quickly for some years now. We set it as our goal that what WordPress is for personal blogs today, Zeroqode and Bubble will become for advanced apps.

We started by creating templates that cover the fundamentals of top apps. Our templates included features that are typical for giants like Uber, Trello and Airbnb so app makers could focus more on their unique twists to the well known user flows. We soon expanded to developing plugins for enhanced API integrations and visual features that grew the Bubble ecosystem as a whole while making us a marketplace leader.

How are you attracting developers to using and developing your products?

They are the hardest target audience as they really love what they do and sometimes see the disruption Bubble brings as a threat to their future. We used to go to conferences wearing ‘No More Code’ t-shirts and developers came up to us saying ‘Do you want us to lose our jobs?’ and we were like ‘Nooooo!’. The big idea that we preach on every corner is that Bubble and Zeroqode are not a threat but a toolset to boost their productivity. Say you have an idea for the next unicorn, as a developer you already know how to build web pages, plan and setup hosting and database, connect domain names, code API for payments — all of which can be streamlined by templates and plugins. With time saved, you can instead code something high value and integrate it into your Bubble app with the API Connector. Developers underestimate this approach but we are ready to prove their skepticism wrong every day.

What metrics can you share for your growth?

As a business, we are growing on an average of 200% per year for our services and product-based streams combined. In 2 years, we have grown from a team of 3 to 30+ and we are always hiring! We are also experimenting with various business models such as subscription vs. lifetime and fixed price vs. hourly rates. We continue to acquire assets and even ​businesses.​ One such business is an education play starting with video courses that will evolve into the premier knowledge base for no-code content.

What should Bubble do better to support agencies and users?

It will be amazing when Bubble taps into the native app market. Beyond that, as Bubble continues to scale and polish the marketplace, developers can start making a living on it. Android and iOS platforms validate attracting developer talent as a recipe for success. We look forward to Bubble setting the standard for the next generation of programming languages with Zeroqoding :)