A talk with @jerols about Maker fund made me think about this. Is here anyone who invests in startups built on Coda, or do you know someone like that?
I haven’t become aware of any, but it’s a good idea. More specifically, anyone who may want to invest in new products or solutions based on Coda should carefully consider the core elements of the IP and its ability to create a defensible space where it can thrive. The capacity to attract investment will be gated by how difficult it is for any other Coda user to recreate that which represents the core asset of the combined Coda foundation and solution. The nature and marketplace of the add-in also plays a significant factor in the outcome of such investment.
In my experience, the add-in itself must address a key need in an underserved environment where commerce is strong. Largely, this will be gated by the solution itself - it must create a fairly deep differentiator for anyone to bank on two IP assets - i.e., the Startup’s IP and Coda’s IP. This is not an easy pathway to funding, but it has happened.
In 1986 I created a little add-in using LISP to transform the famous editor BRIEF resulting in dBRIEF; a very productive code editor for dBASE applications. dBASE soared in terms of customers through the early 90’s and we sold about 200,000 add-ins at $99 each., The combined editor plus add-in captured 86% market share and won a number of industry awards. Then Borland acquired dBASE, BRIEF and dBRIEF for about $500M us. That was one of my best “add-in” outcomes. I then repeated this success (to a lesser degree) with Multi-Edit + Evolve through the early 90’s for Clipper which was eventually acquired by Computer Associates for $250M us.
In each of these cases, the add-in’s success was deeply aligned with fitness-of-purpose; achieving a symbiotic relationship that forms an adhesive between the core technology and an add-in that creates something magical for customers who would otherwise probably never consider the core technology in the first place.
Bottom line - if your idea sells more Coda licenses, you probably have a winner and investment will likely occur. Where [exactly] such investment comes from is anyone’s guess. (I’ll refrain form an overuse of the winky emoji - you’re already thinking what I’m thinking so I’ll just waste these words intimating what you’re already thinking).
Today I’m on a team building CyberLandr™ - it’s [literally] an add-in for Tesla Cybertruck. Who knows where this ship will sail off to, but we have analytics that show it sells more Cybertruck reservations. Our product is built on the most powerful energy platform on wheels once it hits the streets. The term “platform” is an active ingredient in successful aftermarket ideas so it was delightful to hear @shishir use this term more than once at the Block Party. As you can see - I’m a big fan of add-ins.
I believe Coda is also one of those magical “platforms” where significant fitness-of-purpose is not only possible, but could drive significant market adoption in specific market segments. With the exposure of Pack Studio and the API, a lot is possible and we could soon see funding chasing really clever ideas.
When are you going to acquire Coda?
Ha ha - Coda is likely already into the unicorn class of investments - WAY outside anyone’s league. If Airtable is north of $8b, Coda won’t be far behind. I’m no expert in smart money, but I suspect there are some very smart people who already know where this train is heading.