Nan Grows No Code Map App to $850 MRR in 8 Months
Nan Zhou is the founder of No Code Map App - A no code builder for creating custom interactive map

Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?

No Code Map App is a no code builder for creating custom interactive map. We are the only no code map builder that is fully integrated with leading no code databases including Google Sheets, Airtable and Webflow CMS.
Our core concept is "design x data integration" meaning not only you can create a fully customisable interactive map for your website, you can also automate it by connecting it to your third party no code database.
The idea came to us when we were running our previous map-based travel planning app - Pebblar. Pebblar is a map-based trip planning app and the interactive map interface was the most popular feature. It is the #1 ranked collaborative trip planner on Google but it got hit really hard by Covid travel restrictions. Interestingly enough, as travel activities sharply declined, we started to receive inbound emails from businesses asking us if we could build custom versions of our map interface for their businesses.
So we started digging and we noticed a gap in the market so started building our beta. I mean there are definitely a few different no code map builders where you could be custom maps but none of them lets you connect your map with third party databases. Database integration is crucial because it means you can connect the various no code tools and automate your future data update process.

How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?

We don't have 50 paying customers but hopefully we will get there sometimes next year.
At the moment, we have >20 paying users with most of them being Business subscribers. These paying users range from early stage startups to large businesses. They are mostly concentrated in US and France.
We actually started marketing as soon as we started coding. It started with just a landing page and a Twitter account. We focused on building an audience on Twitter and writing a blog on our website (which helps with our SEO). By the time we officially released our beta, we had built a small waiting list and ranked #1 on Google for "no code map builder".
We now working on getting ready for our very first Product Hunt campaign! Hopefully, this will bring us closer to the first 50 customer goal.
Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?
We use Firebase and Google Maps API to build our platform. So far, they have been great but I think once we reach a certain scale, we might start seeing some limitations.

What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?

Tech stack - Firebase, Google Maps API
Marketing - Twitter, Google
User communication - Email

What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?

1. Don't wait for it to be perfect. I would recommend everyone to launch their product as soon as you have something that works so you can start getting real life users and their feedback. From there, users will tell you if you are onto something and what additional features they need. It will also stress test your product with real-life use-cases.
2. Don't be afraid to charge your users. Willing to pay for it is really the ultimate validation. You never know if someone will become a paying customer until you ask. If you have problem a mission critical problem for them, they will pay for it even if it is not perfect. So with our product, we actually don't add new features for users until they become a paying user. This way, we don't get distracted by user requests all the time and it helps us to learn which features are actually mission-critical.
3. Start marketing as soon as possible. It takes a lot longer to get the word out than you think, always. It also takes time to build an audience and get your concept out.
4. Control your cost base and try to aim for profitability ASAP. This will give you freedom and more bargaining power if you ever want to raise funding.
I actually find Twitter to be the most helpful.

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