Ragic turns spreadsheets into apps, works just like magic
June 7, 2012 by Terence LEE
Spreadsheets are like Swiss Army Knives for startups: They are cheap and often free, and you can use it for a multitude of tasks.
But as startups mature, they’ll need move away from spreadsheets into more specialized apps either for CRM, database and project management. The transition can be painful however, as the team will have to get used to the new system.
One way to remove the stress is to allow companies to create database apps using spreadsheets, and that is what Taiwan startup Ragic has done.
A top ten finalist of Echelon 2012, a major technology conference that will be held in Singapore, Ragic makes it possible for non-technical users to build apps without coding.
Founded in 2008, the company has about 4,000 registered accounts and 30 paying corporate accounts. They’ve just released a new entry-level Lite version at US$5 per user per month, in a bid to attract more companies to pay for the service.
Ragic is aimed at companies with limited IT resources, and are already using spreadsheets for data management. Often, it is too difficult and costly to build an online database system using traditional PHP or Java programming languages.
While companies develop these systems in-house or by outsourcing, the quality is often compromised due to lack of time and money. Faced with a global developer crunch, firms also find it hard to find decent IT talent to build these apps.
Another solution is to rely on pre-packaged software, but these are not value for money either as companies rarely use most of the features.
Ragic allows users to create apps that fit their needs exactly, at a fraction of the cost. Although the user interface isn’t highly customizable, the company’s co-founders say this isn’t an issue for internal enterprise apps.
Other features of Ragic include the ability to flexibly link data, an online analytics engine, and a query builder that allows users to quickly find the information they need.
So far, the service is commonly used in the CRM field, which includes sales force management, customer support, and point-of-sales.
Developers can even create apps that are open to public, and they’ve taken advantage of Ragic to create a concert ticket exchange system that lets users buy, sell, and exchange tickers for a certain concert.
“It’s basically a database version of Craigslist, so that users can query postings much more easily, according to price range, concert dates, and more,” explains Jeff Kuo, the CEO and founder of Ragic.
Jeff’s four other team members are mostly friends of his from graduate and undergraduate school. Four of them are developers. Prior to Ragic, they’ve started two website projects for fun, both of which have around 20,000 registered users in Taiwan. They then decided to venture into something more serious and generate revenue.
They’ve been bootstrapping all these while, and are just beginning to seek funding. The startup hope to secure US$1M to US$2M to start field offices in the US or Singapore and to expand the R&D team in Taiwan.
Interestingly, when they first conceived Ragic, they did not imagine it with a spreadsheet interface.
“But we’ve found that business users love and understand spreadsheets so much, it’s actually the perfect design interface for a database application,” says Jeff.
Moving forward, they plan to enhance the user experience to make it easier to use by non-technical users.
Ragic is a top ten finalist at Echelon 2012 and the winner of the Taiwan Satellite event. Organized by tech blog e27 for the third year running, Echelon 2012 is a key startup launchpad in Asia with over 1,100 delegates in attendance and 50 startups exhibiting in the Marketplace. Check out SGE’s coverage of Echelon 2012.
Find out more about SGE’s research arm: SGE Insights, providing customized in-depth research reports to help you navigate the business of technology in Asia.
About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE