Startup CodeSandbox

Online development environment for web developers

Startup CodeSandbox
“CodeSandbox is growing thanks to its enthusiastic users. Our platform already features 1.3 million public projects. If we were to quit now, we would piss off a lot of people.”
Ives van Hoorne and Bas Buursma
Student entrepreneurs CodeSandbox

The startup CodeSandbox recently received a TOP Program grant of €40,000, has already rejected four takeover offers and recently spoke to potential investors in London and San Francisco. The student entrepreneurs Ives van Hoorne (22) and Bas Buursma (21) are doing everything right, it seems.

Online development environment for web developers

CodeSandbox offers a development environment in which web developers can quickly build, exchange and test prototypes. “It is like a Google Docs environment in which you can collaborate on your code in real time,” Bas explains. “It also contains a library of code snippets that anyone can use.” The idea for CodeSandbox was born in 2016, when Ives received a question from a colleague while on holiday. “I could not answer that question without access to my laptop and development environment. That is why I came up with the idea of an online development environment. I worked on the idea with Bas and we launched the first version in early 2017.”

Do not be distracted by business models

After some initial positive feedback from fellow students, their confidence grew and they shared their platform via a news report on Reddit. “It took off quickly from there,” Ives says. “The userbase grew and CodeSandbox currently contains 1.3 million public projects.” The two were focused entirely on their product at first and did not allow themselves to be distracted by business models. “That would curb our creativity too much. We might not even have released the platform in that case,” Bas states.

Major interest from investors

The first revenue came in the form of voluntary contributions from users. “It benefits the community when code is public. That is why we offer the basic version for free. If you do not want your projects to be available to the public, you can pay for private sandboxes,” Bas explains about their business model. The duo received a TOP Program grant to further develop CodeSandbox. “We are making the platform even simpler and even more intuitive,” Bas explains. “In five years’ time, CodeSandbox must be the standard for web development and replace the development workflow.” They are looking for an investor to finance the next stage of development. Ives: “During Novel-T’s investor readiness bootcamp, we learned how venture capitalists and business angels work, what they expect and what we need to look out for.” They have since pitched their startup to many investors already. “There is interest aplenty; now it is up to us to make a strategic choice. Luckily, we have help from a number of experts.”

Do not wait until your product is perfect

Ives and Bas have a golden tip for other students with business ideas of their own: “Just start. All development costs is time, which, as a student, you can afford to spend. Do not wait for your product to be perfect; let people try it out. User feedback will motivate you to continuously improve your product.”

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