Hull-based February has raised £250,000 in venture capital (VC) funding just a year into trading, having already proven itself as the leading no-code app developer in the UK.
February which allows businesses to build their own apps to a template design without using code, will use the seed funding from SFC Capital to invest in research and development and operational and customer growth, says Ash Lewis, CEO, who launched the business last year with brother Tom, COO.
"We started February after identifying a distinct gap in the UK market for a no-code app developer and that the route to that market was quickly achievable with the skills and team we had and were able to pull together," says software developer Ash, 26, who first hatched the idea of Feb.co.uk with Tom, 21, after working on labour- and cash-intensive app launches in the UK and Europe.
"Since 2020 when we started development on our software that can quickly generate native apps in multiple languages from a visual interface we’ve had a goal that can be summarised in one sentence 'anyone can build a modern, powerful app, without any coding or design knowledge'.
"App launches can just chew up time, money and hours in their development, but what we started to realise was that about 90-95 per cent of the code used in app development was all pretty much the same or very similar standard logic with only five to ten per cent as unique business logic.
"Building an app, such as a dating app, sounds like a large and complicated task, but with no-code everything from user-interface, user onboarding, user management, reporting management, banning and deleting users, even app promotion can be very simple and straightforward!"
This no-nonsense, straightforward approach also allowed the young team to focus on the nature of an app's 'backendedness' - and aim to make Feb.co.uk an app developer providing not just no-code software but also inbuilt app design options.
"We had also found that people struggled with how to successfully design an app which is why we have gone down the app design template route with Feb.co.uk offering 50 template designs."
A soft start with a TikTok campaign in the middle/end of last year generated customers, initially offering the apps for free to create market knowledge and a marketing and sector profile before shifting to a paid model this summer, with 'Build your own', 'Build with us' and 'Build for you' options and monthly and yearly prices.
"We have had a lot of interest from venture capital backers, partly because there is a lot of interest in no-code software development. It helped that we were already generating income in such a short space of time and had a proven track-record in the tech sector, including in previously raising venture capital funding," added Ash.
The brothers, who both grew up and went to school in Hull before going into tech, previously worked on another of their successful tech businesses for about six years, which they realised as a trade asset sale two years ago.
They are looking forward to the latest stage of their tech adventure, with more research and development, team building, product honing...and some of their own app launches.
With no real UK competitor they will initially use the funding for a short R&D period and utilising their existing cash generation, and little or no forecast growth.
"We'll be building and strengthening a remote team, one that is as lean as can be, with outsourced contractors including a software engineer and a customer success manager," added Ash.
"We expect to follow this with some more efficient slow growth, gradually increasing cash generation followed by some Series A venture capital funding and then 'non-efficient' customer growth and cash generation.
Ash and Tom are also utilising February's simple route to app creation by developing their own inhouse apps.
This includes 'Duos', an app which allows people to find a friend to play games with; and 'Audid', an audio app due to launch imminently providing 15-minute book summaries.
Tom said: "If we have a good idea for an app - we create it. We're keen to grow these inhouse apps, and it's very much a case of 'let's get it done'."