Dan Novaes

Life Hacker | Entrepreneur

"When complacency prevails, enlightenment dissipates"

BuiltinChicago: MobileX Labs raises $1.5 million so that anyone can develop an app (for free)

MobileX Labs just closed a $1.5 million round to launch a beta of itsMXLBuild technology, which allows anyone (with a smartphone) to develop an app, in the App Store. This “builder concept,” as CEO Daniel Novaes calls it, gives everyone the ability to go mobile with their idea even if they have no coding experience. Essentially, its a platform for DIY apps (that is totally free, by the way).

Already, 30,000 people have signed up to use MXLBuild, Novaes said, thanks to MobileX Lab’s “really solid referral model” of teaming up with over 50 strategic partners like Shopify, 8tracks and LevelUp who promote to their client base.

As the 31-person MobileX Labs team moves forward with building out the platform and acquiring new users, they will also be seeking more funding. Currently, The Garland Funds and Mark Cuban (who, along with Novaes, is an Indiana University alum) are among their backers.

It took a while for Novaes and his team to make the move to seek funding though. MobileX Labs has been bootstrapped over about two years and is cash-flow positive, Novaes told VentureBeat. Novaes founded the company with earnings from a startup called Elekteks that he previously bootstrapped starting in high school. The cash from Elekteks allowed MobileX Labs to stay afloat even at points when no revenue was coming in.

“In April of 2013, we were hardly making any money and in danger of falling apart, so we started building apps using our own system to bring in some extra cash,” Novaes told TechCocktail in October. “One of our paid iOS apps began generating several thousand dollars per month, and that allowed MXL to stay afloat. Then the customers started coming in… and that’s what entrepreneurship is all about: how well you can deal with the ups and downs from day to day.”

Now the startup is ready for funding to give it room to scale. And scale it will: the whole MXLBuild process takes about five minutes and is as easy to build as a Facebook page, Novaes said. Every person who can’t afford a developer (which, let’s face it, describes most average people) has a use for MXLBuild whether they are building an app for a personal creative venture or for a small business.

“Right now there are way too many hoops you have to jump to have a mobile presence,” Novaes said. “We have some really unique plans for the mobile industry and want to change the way people think about the mobile space and what it means to ‘go mobile.’ We want to take the everything that has been done in the space one step further.”