Creating a successful software venture can sometimes require an exorbitant amount of money, time and expertise. Often a founder needs to raise a multi-million-dollar seed round just to achieve any critical mass, or has to tie themselves into arrangements with a cloud company with bills that start small but compound exponentially as a company scales.
A new Cary-based startup, Vino, is lowering those barriers to entry and making software more accessible to everyone with its composable application platform.
Vino founder Jarrod Overson has helped his fair share of large software companies rebuild their software applications, most recently as the Director of Engineering at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Shape Security, which he helped lead from no customers all the way to a $1 billion acquisition by F5 in late 2019.
Vino officially launched in April and is close to releasing its beta version of the software that Overson believes will change coding and the way companies build applications.
Overson experienced the pain points first-hand working in a team that went from being very fast and productive in the early stages to slow and sluggish over time as small changes made by individuals to applications create so much friction that making any changes later on takes much more time. In short, code is cheap but integration is expensive, Overson said.
It’s easier to add, update and share functionalities on Vino applications, Overson said, because the applications are made as building blocks that are composable and reusable anywhere (like Legos). Vino applications all have the same interface, so the code naturally connects to other code like magnets.
“Once you have the platform of building blocks, everything becomes easier to build on top of it,” Overson said. “You build things once and then they scale everywhere without the additional cost of development.”
Companies attempting to level the coding playing field is hardly new (and many have failed), but Vino’s secret sauce is using WebAssembly technology to tackle the problem. Overson believes WebAssembly is a transformative technology that, when used wisely, can allow companies to scale faster and change the way people work.
Vino’s standard unit of deployment is WebAssembly modules that house a collection of stateless components. Companies don’t have to use Vino runtime if they want to deploy it themselves, but Vino is building the runtime platform because subsequent applications can be built on top of it without any additional configuration or effort, Overson said.
Fundamentally changing the way people code is no easy task, of course, and there have been many failed iterations of similar software over the decades, so Overson said they are being careful. Vino is launching its product in stages—starting with getting runtime widely distributed—and making sure the customer experience is good in each stage before moving on.
“We want to take our time and iron out those experiences as much as possible so when people use it, it doesn’t feel like something they’ve seen before with all the things that they had criticisms for,” Overson said.
Preparing for beta trial
Companies interested in trying out Vino’s technology during the beta trial don’t have to erase all of their code and start from scratch. Instead, Overson said they will work with what companies already have by integrating the platform into native SDKs (software development kits) or by implementing Vino as a micro-service.
“We think WebAssembly is easily one of the most promising new technologies that we’ve seen in the past 10 to 15 years,” Overson said. “So getting people comfortable and familiar with it using our tools has been one of our most satisfying customer-success stories.”
Overson’s long-term vision is to make it cheaper and easier for anyone—including mom-and-pop businesses—to do anything with software, without relying on multi-billion dollar cloud companies like Amazon, Google and Shopify.
“It is not something that needs to be the way it is,” Overson said. “I want to make it so that anyone can build a type of service without having to build it on top of something like Facebook or Google. We’re leveling down the experience necessary to build things so you don’t need to be a senior distributed systems architect with decades of experience to build enterprise software.”