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Hi, I'm Timo, and I'm a co-founder of Avenify, a lending platform for Income Share Agreements. Income Share Agreements are an alternative to traditional loans that allow a student to pledge a share of their future income in exchange for funding to attend school. My co-founder Justin and I built a two-sided marketplace that, on one side, allows students to apply for funding, and on the other, allows investors to browse student profiles and make investments. We built the marketplace to validate investor demand for individual-specific investment opportunities (as opposed to "pooled fund" investments that spread risk across many students). It was the perfect use case for plug-and-play no-code tools that shorten the idea-to-launch timeline.
We built on Webflow, Zapier, and Google Sheets. It's amazing how no-code takes development back to basics - we essentially built a model-view-controller machine straight out of CS 101. Sheets is our data store, where we track student profiles and investments. Webflow is our user view, allowing students to submit data for investors to access. Zapier, as controller, manages communication between the UI and the database.
The complete process is fairly straightforward: a student submits their profile through an online form built with Webflow. Zapier translates the Webflow item into a row on a Sheets Table. Once the new row is added, Zapier validates the data, sends a confirmation email to the applicant (using Mailchimp), and can even auto-approve or deny them. We manually review every student who gets listed on our platform; once we toggle their profile to 'Listed,' Zapier creates a new Webflow item and that student's investment page is automatically generated, with its own unique URL. Investors can now view the student profile and choose to invest by submitting a Webflow form that Zapier translates into - you guessed it - a new Sheets row in a separate 'Investments' Table (that's linked, by Webflow ID, to a student row in the Student Table from before). Et voila, a fully-functional relational database, with no code required!
We finalize the investment (by collecting investor and student signatures and initiating bank wires) manually, with help from the Modern Treasury API. Because we're still validating a market, we don't need the most tricky compliance steps to be automated - yet.
"We built the marketplace to validate investor demand for individual-specific investment opportunities (as opposed to "pooled fund" investments that spread risk across many students). It was the perfect use case for plug-and-play no-code tools that shorten the idea-to-launch timeline."
No-code enabled us to build a working prototype in a matter of days, where it might have taken a month or more before. We had some technical issues with Zapier hooks that weren't as 'instant' as we would have liked, but we didn't encounter anything prohibitively challenging. For a larger-scale operation I'd want a more robust database than Sheets (I've heard good things about Airtable, but haven't had a chance to dig in). This was our first project with no-code tools; I can't wait to see what else we can build.
"No-code enabled us to build a working prototype in a matter of days, where it might have taken a month or more before"