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CodeSandbox raises $12.7 million to boost application development collaboration

CodeSandbox has raised $12.7 million as the Amsterdam-based company seeks to make it more efficient for teams to collaborate on the development of web-based applications. With teams becoming more distributed and development cycles accelerating, the company sees an opportunity to facilitate the creative process by also making it easy for non-developers to participate.

EQT Ventures led the round of funding, which also included participation by previous investors, including Kleiner Perkins, Arches Capital, and angel investor Guillermo Rauch. The company, which has now raised a total of $15 million, plans to use the money to launch Pro Workspaces as it begins to focus more intently on monetizing its surprising growth.

“We want to expand our use cases for CodeSandbox,” said CEO and cofounder Ives van Hoorne. “We want to make it possible for anyone on the product team to contribute to the final results.”

CodeSandbox is part of a broader move to simplify coding and make it more accessible, commonly dubbed “low code” or “no code”. It’s a big trend which also means that CodeSandbox will face some tough competitors. That includes Airtable which recently raised $185 million in funding at a $2.585 billion valuation. On the collaboration side, GitHub’s Atom text editor lets coders work together.

Founded in 2017 by van Horne and Bas Buursma, CodeSandbox bridges the collaboration and low-code elements by creating a service that is browser-based. The concept occurred to van Horne a few years ago while on vacation. He only had a phone with him, and team members kept asking him questions but he couldn’t access the development environment.

While there are web-based tools for individual coders, CodeSandbox is expanding that by making projects available to teams.

In addition, those coding projects are presented in a way that product designers and managers, who may not have coding skills, can directly make or accept changes. This avoids the cumbersome process of having to pass suggestions to developers, waiting for changes, reviewing them, and then moving to the next step.

Above: CodeSandbox cofounders Bas Buursma (left) and Ives van Hoorne.

The cofounders originally started the service as a side project. It was only after usage began to surge that they decided to turn it into an official company two years ago. CodeSandbox now has more than 2.5 million monthly users who have created more than 10 million projects on the platform.

While the product so far has focused on collaboration, the upcoming Pro Workspaces product will introduce features that make projects accessible to non-developers.

Meanwhile, the investment by EQT was the 8th such deal that resulted from the Swedish firm’s use of its AI-driven Motherbrain tool. In this case, the data being crunched noted both early seed investing into CodeSandbox as well as factors like a rapidly growing userbase, prompting partners to reach out to the company when it wasn’t looking to raise money.

In talking with EQT, van Hoorne said he was surprised by how much the firm’s partners already seemed to know about the business. When the company finally did decide to raise another round, EQT was at the top of the list.

“We were happy to see the fruits from our data-driven proactive approach with Codesandbox,” said Henrik Landgren, Motherbrain Partner at EQT. “We saw this company early on, researched the space, tracked them, and then decided to reach out. Motherbrain also helped us to find and compare the various other related companies which made us even more excited about CodeSandbox.”

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