Photo - Wasp
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Wasp

A prog. language for writing web apps with 10x less code.

Croatia
Market: Internet and IT
Stage of the project: Prototype or product is ready

Date of last change: 30.06.2020
Min investment
$  300.000
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Total required
$ 500.000
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Idea

A specialised programming language (DSL) for building web applications. Our mission is to empower developers to create apps faster with less code, saving them from grunt work and allowing them to focus on the parts unique to their product, while needing less expert knowledge to do so.

Wasp will offer high level abstractions specific for web apps (e.g. login, page, entity, deployment) that will enable developers to express themselves with over 10x less code.

Current Status

- we developed the next version of the prototype. Wasp is now, for the first time, successfully generating fully-featured Todo App (from http://todomvc.com/), which can be viewed on our significantly updated landing page (https://wasp-lang.dev/#demo).
- we open sourced Wasp on Github (https://github.com/wasp-lang/wasp).
- wasp was #1 trending startup on BetaList (https://betalist.com/startups/wasp).

We successfully engaged community on dozen different channels, resulting with:
- got from 0 to >180 stars on Github, although the product can’t even be tried yet!
- collected 150 email subscribers for the Alpha release.
- got our first open source contributor! He reached out to us on his own - he is a programming languages student and will dedicate some time every week to work with us.

Here is also some of the feedback we got from the community:

“I have been waiting exactly for something like this. I suggest you open-source it... ” - HackerNews, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22326786

“I think systems like WASP will proliferate. React, Vue, Svelte and similar frameworks have gotten people used to code generation, transpiling, etc. Technically, people are ready for something that blurs the front-end/back-end distinction.” - HackerNews, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22357840

“Love what you guys are building. Have had the same idea multiple times. Makes so much sense. I’m very confident that if you can crack this beast, you’ll be the future of EVERYTHING ;)” - comment on YC Startup School

“Good for you to work on this. I think the default stack you’re trying to compress is indeed an abomination of accidental complexity.” - David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails & CTO at Basecamp

Market

There are 11M javascript developers in the world, which is our initial target market - later we plan to expand to other developers (Ruby on Rails) and non developers.
Typical price per month per team member is 20$ for a dev tool (e.g. Meteor, Vercel, ...) -> this already makes Wasp a multibillion dollar business.

Problem or Opportunity

Why Wasp?
We picked this idea by observing our own problems when developing web apps over and over - we imagined a solution we would have wanted to have ourselves.
Wasp sounded like something that already should and at some point certainly will exist. We realised there is no mature solution out there yet, and since we have an ideal combination of business, computer science and web-development experience, we feel this is an opportunity we have to take.

Also, it sounded as a super fun problem to work on. We have always been passionate about computer science problems (such as writing a compiler) and imagining how we could put it to practical use. The possibilities Wasp unveils (since it is actually aware of the concept of a web app, unlike other languages) made us super excited!

Domain expertise:
Martin and I are both Masters of Computer Science and have been building production-ready web apps since 2010, having used and tried majority of the development technologies. Our latest day job has been leading an engineering team developing a complex web platform for a venture-funded biotech startup based in London (https://lifebit.ai/deploit).

How do we know people need it?
Our initial idea of why people need Wasp is coming from our own experience and from talking to our colleagues who are also our target users. We are big proponents of customer development and plan to continue using it extensively to further steer the development of Wasp.

Current roadmap to the monetisation:
- Release Wasp 1.0, “smart code generator” (4 to 6 months) - get feedback and drive adoption
- Release next, advanced version of Wasp and hosting/monitoring tools (+ 6 to 9 months) - first monetisation
- Release visual builder/editor (+ 9+ months) - also a paid tool

We will make money in two main ways
- From products built on top of Wasp
- From Wasp language directly

Making money from products built on top of Wasp
Due to Wasp’s deep understanding of web app’s internals, we can build a variety of tools for streamlining the development:
- Low-code visual app editor - allowing non-engineers to edit/build app in a safe and controlled way
- Features repository & marketplace - enabling reusing & sharing of features
- Dashboards for monitoring, hosting & deployment services
- Integrations with 3rd party services (e.g. Stripe, A/B testing, …)

Making money from Wasp directly
Although Wasp is meant to be a free and open-source language, we could monetise the following:
- Trainings & certifications
- Consulting services
- Support as a premium feature

How much could we make?
Relevant market sizes:

Web design services:
- $38.3bn revenue in 2019, US only
- Annual growth 6.6%
- source: (https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/specialized-market-research-reports/technology/computer-services/web-design-services.html)

Website builders:
- $1.5bn revenue in 2017, worldwide (US 40%)
- Annual growth 9.2%
- source: (https://www.marketresearch.com/QYResearch-Group-v3531/Global-Website-Builders-Size-Status-10778322/)

Currently ~70% of the budget is spent on manual programming. Since our paid products are not yet clearly defined it is hard to perform a bottom-up estimate, but we believe website builders market ($1.5bn revenue in 2017) is the one which shows the approximate value and growth trend of the low-code solutions.

Solution (product or service)

Wasp is a specialised programming language (DSL) for building web applications. Our mission is to empower developers to create apps faster with less code, saving them from grunt work and allowing them to focus on the parts unique to their product, while needing less expert knowledge to do so.

Wasp will offer high level abstractions specific for web apps (e.g. login, page, entity, deployment) that will enable developers to express themselves with over 10x less code.

Long-term vision:
Wasp will be a free, open-source language. On top of it we will build paid products for developers (e.g. hosting) and no-code tools which will enable non-engineers to participate in the app development (e.g. visual editor through which users can easily and safely edit parts of the app, or even build the whole app).

Ultimate goal:
Move beyond "programming language" to just "language" for expressing app's business requirements in a way that matches how humans talk, free of ties to the specific technology that will at some moment become obsolete.
Our goal is to bridge the gap between specification (human language) and the implementation (programming language) of an app - generating implementation from the specification and thus keeping the specification "live" and always up to date, being a single source of truth.
There is also no reason to be limited just to web apps, since that is also implementation detail, meaning Wasp would cover other kinds of apps (mobile, desktop) as well.

Technical details:
Wasp will generate the actual code as if it was written by a senior engineer using the latest technologies (React, NodeJS, ...). Also, in order to keep Wasp as flexible as possible it will be extensible with the native code (e.g. React / Node). Still, if at any moment Wasp is not advanced enough for the developer, he/she can “eject” the whole project with all the generated source code and continue from there as usual. That way we will make it easy for developers to start using Wasp, greatly reducing the entry barrier and driving the adoption.

Competitors

These are the solutions in the similar space we have discovered so far:
- https://www.generato.com/ - codebase generator but also targeting the same audience (developers)
- prodo.ai - addressing the same problem but with a somewhat different (scattered) approach. Early stage.
- darklang.com - focusing on the backend only, not out yet
- https://github.com/redgeoff/mson - machine-oriented, much more low-lvl and less flexible
- https://bubble.io/ - visual editor for non-coders (lock-in effect, not extensible)
- https://www.mint-lang.com/ - similar concept, also language but no code generation, only for frontend

Companies that might become competitors:
- Prototyping tools such as Invision or Marvel - they might want to make their prototypes more “real”
- Website builders such as Webflow or Wix - they might want to expand their offer to web apps

There is currently no established nor mature solution addressing this problem, but there are companies that are working on the different aspects of it.

We believe there is a lot of space for innovation and for creating different products in this area. What we fear most is that somebody else with more resources (funding, people), will create & deliver this solution before us.

Advantages or differentiators

We understand that “having to code” is not a problem and that the end goal is not to “make everyone a developer”. What is important is to code only the product-specific features and not to spend time on the problems which have already been solved multiple times.

We also understand that non-web experts (both coders and non-coders) could participate in the app development in the much greater measure, but there are no tools to enable it. Thus all the grunt work falls on the web app engineers.

We understand that the key is to make it possible to express app’s business requirements as directly and close to the “human” language as possible, rather then keep inventing new implementation techniques - this will allow for faster and easier development and on the other hand will make apps much more resilient, less dependent on the currently “hot" technology and easier to maintain in the long run.

Web technology experts don't feel this problem themselves and thus are not interested in building such tools - they instead keep building new, more advanced technologies for themselves and keep raising the entry barrier.
We are not alone in recognising this problem: there is a whole community (which we joined recently), https://futureofcoding.org/, dedicated to solving this problem.

Finance

We will make money in two main ways
- From products built on top of Wasp
- From Wasp language directly

Making money from products built on top of Wasp
Due to Wasp’s deep understanding of web app’s internals, we can build a variety of tools for streamlining the development:
- Low-code visual app editor - allowing non-engineers to edit/build app in a safe and controlled way
- Features repository & marketplace - enabling reusing & sharing of features
- Dashboards for monitoring, hosting & deployment services
- Integrations with 3rd party services (e.g. Stripe, A/B testing, …)

Making money from Wasp directly
Although Wasp is meant to be a free and open-source language, we could monetise the following:
- Trainings & certifications
- Consulting services
- Support as a premium feature

How much could we make?
Relevant market sizes:

Web design services:
- $38.3bn revenue in 2019, US only
- Annual growth 6.6%
- source: (https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/specialized-market-research-reports/technology/computer-services/web-design-services.html)

Website builders:
- $1.5bn revenue in 2017, worldwide (US 40%)
- Annual growth 9.2%
- source: (https://www.marketresearch.com/QYResearch-Group-v3531/Global-Website-Builders-Size-Status-10778322/)

Currently ~70% of the budget is spent on manual programming. Since our paid products are not yet clearly defined it is hard to perform a bottom-up estimate, but we believe website builders market ($1.5bn revenue in 2017) is the one which shows the approximate value and growth trend of the low-code solutions.

Business model

We will make money in two main ways
- From products built on top of Wasp
- From Wasp language directly

Making money from products built on top of Wasp
Due to Wasp’s deep understanding of web app’s internals, we can build a variety of tools for streamlining the development:
- Low-code visual app editor - allowing non-engineers to edit/build app in a safe and controlled way
- Features repository & marketplace - enabling reusing & sharing of features
- Dashboards for monitoring, hosting & deployment services
- Integrations with 3rd party services (e.g. Stripe, A/B testing, …)

Making money from Wasp directly
Although Wasp is meant to be a free and open-source language, we could monetise the following:
- Trainings & certifications
- Consulting services
- Support as a premium feature

How much could we make?
Relevant market sizes:

Web design services:
- $38.3bn revenue in 2019, US only
- Annual growth 6.6%
- source: (https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/specialized-market-research-reports/technology/computer-services/web-design-services.html)

Website builders:
- $1.5bn revenue in 2017, worldwide (US 40%)
- Annual growth 9.2%
- source: (https://www.marketresearch.com/QYResearch-Group-v3531/Global-Website-Builders-Size-Status-10778322/)

Currently ~70% of the budget is spent on manual programming. Since our paid products are not yet clearly defined it is hard to perform a bottom-up estimate, but we believe website builders market ($1.5bn revenue in 2017) is the one which shows the approximate value and growth trend of the low-code solutions.

Money will be spent on

18 months of runway to work on:

- Release of Wasp 1.0
- First monetisation - hosting & deployment services
- Setting up a core team
- Establishing developer community

With a stable product, growing community and the proof of monetisation we will raise the next round.

Offer for investor

Convertible note

Team or Management

Risks

- designing a language that is both easy to use but also flexible enough
- finding the right monetisation strategy (what to have as open source and what not)
- building a developer community

Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment

n/a

Won the competition and other awards

Wasp was #1 trending startup on BetaList (https://betalist.com/startups/wasp).

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