Israeli startup Torq, which raised $50 million earlier this month, has developed a platform that helps analysts in the cybersecurity teams of organizations build automatic security systems. Instead of needing to ensure that the authorization of an employee, who has left the company has been erased, for example, Torq can create a fixed script for this that can be used with short and simple commands.
Last August, Israeli startup Walnut raised $15 million. The company's platform allows salespeople at tech companies to create and design demos that are custom-made for their sales software. Walnut connects to the enterprise's software and allows the salespeople to create precise and carefully prepared scenarios that can be presented to customers.
While Walnut and Torq deal with completely different content worlds, they have something in common in that they both belong to the emerging 'no-code low-code movement.' This movement creates tools that allow the non-technical personnel in an organization, like salespeople and analysts, to develop applications in an intuitive and easy way through visual menus, without the need to write code. No-code generally refers tools that don't require any code knowhow, while low-code refers to tools that need basic knowledge, although the differences between them are blurred.
A response to a global shortage
No-code and low-code applications existed long before the new trend was given a name. For example, Microsoft's Excel (launched in 1987) is a no-code tool that allows people, without any knowledge of the software, to create simple applications and functions for themselves. The company that brought the no-code revolution to the world of building websites was WordPress (founded in 2003), which allows users to build a website without code.
But in recent years, no-code and low-code solutions have gained in popularity and entered more and more fields and uses. According to tech research and consultancy company Gartner, 70% of the new applications that will be developed in organizations in 2025 will be with no-code or low-code, compared with 25% of applications in 2020. Research & Markets estimates that the no-code industry alone will be worth $190 billion by 2030, compared with $12 billion in 2020.
One of the main reasons for the popularity of the no-code approach is the worldwide shortage in developers, due to the widespread shift to digital services following the Covid outbreak. No-code and low-code tools may not replace developers in complex tasks but can relieve them of the simpler jobs.
Torq CEO Ofer Smadari said, "Developers are the most expensive resource in the world today and there isn't only a shortage in Israel but worldwide. I see how difficult it is even for well-funded startups to hire developers, while enterprises with less resources don't stand a chance. Therefore, our solution lets those who aren't a developer or engineer, and only have basic knowhow, to cope with security problems."
When the company was being founded, Walnut CEO Yoav Vilner met with over 60 vice presidents of sales and asked them what their main problem was. The answer was unequivocal. "They told me that their main conflict was with the development and design department. Developers and designers never had any time to help them build an appropriate and operational demo, so that their salespeople would go out with a generic and unstable demo that could break down or freeze in real time, and result in the loss of customers. We give salespeople the option of designing the demo by themselves.
The tech giants are also in the game
Walnut and Torq form only a small part of the no-code and low-code world, which contains hundreds of tools for different uses. The field includes the tools of the tech giants like Microsoft, Google and Salesforce, as well as fast growing unicorns like Airtable (worth $11 billion) and Zapier (worth $5 billion). These tools allow the creation of automation that connects data bases and streamlines work processes, without needing a professional person with software knowhow.
A demonstration of the popularity of no-code and low-code can be found at several Israeli startups that provide solutions and have raised money in the past six months. These include Whatslly (a no-code solution for analyzing the interactions of salespeople), Cymbio (low-code for managing sales and brands channels) and Easysound (no-code for the digitalization of documents).
Critics claim that no-code and low-code have just become the buzz word for marketing needs but Vertex Ventures Israel partner Tami Bronner, who has invested in a range of these companies, is convinced that this is a genuine revolution. She said, "Companies move fast today and these tools allow you to develop at a fast pace at a time when there is a manpower shortage. There is a democratization process here in development, which transfers power to customers and their consumers. If they want something to happen tomorrow then they have to do it by themselves and not wait six months until it has been applied in software."
"You are responsible for what you have built"
But there are risks also contained in the popularity of these platforms, such as in the following case where an employee in a human resources department in a large organization, took the initiative and built for himself an application that let employees donate money to charity. Only he kept the details of the credit cards of the employees in a non-encrypted way in an open database. "A situation was created here that no organization can allow itself," said Zenity cofounder and CTO Michael Bargury.
Zenity is one of two startups founded in Israel this year, which protects applications built with no-code or low-code. Zenity, which raised seed funding led by Vertex, connects the platform on which employees build applications and checks that they do not violate policies set by the organization for using data. "Bargury added, "The no-code platform provides you the building blocks but is not responsible for what you have built. The problem is that when the developments come from the human resources of finance departments, the security people in the organization aren't in the loop at all. We give them control without harming the business side."
Another startup Valence Security, which has raised funds from YL Ventures, uses a different strategy in order to oversee applications that were written in no-code or low-code. The company's product analyzes the connections between different information sources in the organization in order to identify potential problems.
Valence Security CEO Yoni Shohet said, "No-code platforms receive a lot of authorizations to retrieve data and one mistake is enough for sensitive private data about customers would be sent to a third party's platform that has not been examined. Not long ago there was a case where a known investor in Silicon Valley found tweets in his name were tweeted on Twitter. It didn't happen because thyere was a direct breach in his Twitter account but they simply took control of a system that was authorized to use his Twitter account."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 28, 2021.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2021.