Bruno Vieira Costa, co-founder and CEO at Abstra. Photo: Abstra/Courtesy

SoftBank's bet to take the weight off developers' shoulders: Abstra

Brazilian startup that operates a no-code platform was part of SoftBank's first wave of early-stage investments in Latin America

Ler em português

Bruno Vieira Costa‘s desire to enter the world of technology came very early. He came from Marabá, a city in the interior of Brazil’s Northern state of Pará, where he began programming at the age of seven. By the age of 12, he was already developing games.

When he finished high school, Costa founded a video game studio with friends in Belém. At the time, he was studying Computer Engineering at the Federal University of Pará, but left the studio and the course to apply to the Military Institute of Engineering (IME) in Rio de Janeiro.

READ ALSO: Abstra, a Brazilian no-code startup, raises BRL 3.6 million from Iporanga Ventures

There, Costa created a new company of preparatory courses for university entrance exams and competitive examinations. When he was in the penultimate year of college, in 2018, the edtech Descomplica bought this company, but the entrepreneur only left the operation in 2020 to create a new company: Abstra.

“I was very motivated by the problem, glaringly obvious to me, while I was at Descomplica. The market is very hot and it’s very hard to find programmers,” Costa said in an interview with LABS.

Within a company, the same IT people are often tasked with solving the same problems. Abstra emerged when Costa started looking for alternatives to solve these demands – many of which reflect the lack of having developers allocated to each sector, a need that companies can hardly meet.

READ ALSO: Dric Code: Brazilian startup creates a two-dimensional code that stores up to 20,000 files

“I wanted to find solutions that would allow these sectors to have autonomy, because they depended on IT to develop anything. It was bad for them, bad for the company. That’s when I got in touch with code tools, tested several and noticed that they had a very big deficit: they were either too technical or did not allow customization”.

Abstra is a tool that does not require programming code and at the same time allows designers, who are not normally technical in programming, to create complex and customized platforms.

In 2020, Costa launched the first version of the Abstra prototype with his own capital (the proceeds from the sale of his former company to Descomplica) and managed to capture Stone as a client. Today, the startup serves 12 large technology companies such as Accenture, Qulture Rocks, Stone and Descomplica itself. According to Costa, a tool that would require Stone a team of three developers, plus a validation team, took only one afternoon through Abstra and the help of a service coordinator and a data analyst.

READ ALSO: Brazilian Y Combinator-backed Jestor helps companies to run with a no-code platform

In June 2020, Abstra raised an angel round with investor friends. In January this year, Costa began seeking a Seed round. “We raised Seed bit by bit: we had pre-Seed with Iporanga, we had Y Combinator acceleration, and then SoftBank picked up the bulk [of the round, $2.3 million].”

One of the first checks on this new early-stage SoftBank front, Abstra wants to leverage the new round to hire more people and further develop the product. “We’re controlling not to sell [the platform to new customers] too quickly to make sure we have a great experience for every customer.”