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The future of DNN and DNN Sharp | Be Part of It

Written By Bogdan Litescu


The future of DNN and DNN Sharp

It's been a long 14-year journey for DNN Sharp. I've collected so many good memories and have many stories to share about the wonderful people that make up our community. I've met many of you in person at conferences or via online meetings. We've discussed passionately about technology and built successful and challenging projects together. It's what defines me today as a technology entrepreneur, and for that I'm very grateful to everyone.

But now, it's time to move forward.

When we started, there was a big gap between DNN and the front end technologies that were emerging at that time, such as jQuery and later Angular and Bootstrap. We were the pioneers to bring those into DNN, which got us to be the number 1 module vendor by 2014. A glorious future was revealing itself. You could say we were high on success, and that was a very powerful drive to build more.

In reality, that's when our problems started. The market for Content Management Systems became very competitive, and DNN Corp was slow to adapt to the new world and create a unique positioning and a compelling value proposition, which led the DNN ecosystem to shrink. 

For years, we refused to go down without a fight. We’ve invested every bit of profit and energy into realigning our technology to be very competitive on the global market, with the hope that one day we'll once again be a company focused on building state-of-the-art technology that more and more people use.

I'm extremely thrilled to announce that that day is finally here!

Let's be honest. DNN is so much more than a CMS. Competing in this space is tough because there are so many solutions out there that are simplified for the sole purpose of managing content. 

However, where DNN makes an excellent stand, is for smarter websites. That is, websites that have a customized back office that handles data, business logic and integrations with other systems. There is really nothing out there that can do both so well. Outside DNN, people end up integrating the website with a dozen systems then struggling each day to keep those integration running, to manually sync data or trigger some processes.

Back in the day, we'd call building such systems with DNN and DNN Sharp RAD (Rapid Application Development). Nowadays, there's a much better name for it - Low-Code Development. It's a market that grows yearly at 45% on average. And it's not yet crowded as the CMS market is, which only grows at 13%.

And that's exactly what we've built, a Low-Code Development Platform that sits on top of DNN and leverages all DNN Sharp modules, plus a lot of new features. We call this platform Plant an App.

We move forward, and we invite you to join us on this new journey.

Our loyalty to our community is what stood behind the decision to build our low-code development platform on top of DNN and create a smooth transition path. Adopting Plant an App is as simple as installing a new module on your DNN instances. It's a non disruptive process. The new features can be adopted incrementally, while the existing system continues working as before.  The licensing model even allows using the DNN Sharp modules individually on some websites - though with the 1 click install and 1-click upgrade features, it'd be a waste of time to deploy modules individually.

Plant an App is a new brand and a Delaware C-Corp that we formed for 3 reasons.

First, we needed a new brand that would mean something outside the DNN community. There is some meaning that we wanted to capture. We strongly believe that there is a lot of waste in software development with writing the same code over and over again. We also believe that it shouldn't be expensive to keep software systems up to date as the business requirements change. Hence, our intent is that the word "Plant" captures both the efficiency of avoiding waste and the aspect of software evolving organically over time. "App" refers to software systems in general, not mobile apps as one would assume.

The second reason is that we wanted to present ourselves as a start-up that spun-off from DNN Sharp, not a 14-year old business that had struggled to survive for years. Plant an App currently owns all the intellectual property and the team. All due diligence has been performed to position Plant an App in the best situation possible to attract funding and scale sales. My vision is that in 12-24 months, the DNN Sharp brand will be completely absorbed into Plant an App. In the meantime, there will be some confusion around mixed branding that we'll have to educate on.

Finally, the third reason is that we need to emphasize our US presence, where most of our customers are. This year, our team has expanded with 3 new members that are based in the US. They streamline support, create technical documentation and videos and do key account management. We still have 19 people in the Bucharest office that support Europe and the rest of the world. Our community is international and we leave no one behind.

We're seeing very good signs of initial traction. 

We only started selling Plant an App as a low-code development platform this year, but it already generates 70% more revenue than we do from selling DNN Sharp modules. We are now in a good position to ramp up sales, marketing and product development. But to do so, we need funding.

We're taking a new approach in the startup world: an open investment campaign. 

Instead of relying entirely on traditional Silicon Valley investors, we're opening up the investment opportunity to anyone interested in owning a stake in our growing business for as little as $150. We've launched the campaign on Republic.co, one of the most popular platforms of this kind in the US. The campaign is regulated by the SEC through Reg CF and we went through a long due-diligence process to get our securities listed.

I believe this is a great opportunity to continue building something amazing together as a community and move DNN to a space where it can grow to achieve its true potential. Let this be that story that fills us with pride 5 years from now when Plant an App is a unicorn valued at $1bn+, with 100x return on investment, and we look back at where we started.

In conclusion,

  • Share this investment opportunity with anyone you know who might be interested

  • Invest in us $150+ via the campaign page

  • Ask questions! Join the conversation on the campaign page

  • Embrace low-code! Embrace Plant an App. Or, if you're not ready for the rebranding, embrace it as the App Builder module. Advertise yourself a Citizen Developer or Low-Code Engineer and reap the benefits.

Join our Low-Code Revolution for 14 more years to come! 


PS: if you want to hear more about this subject, it was discussed for about 40 minutes in Low-Code Cafe #15, with notes on the Future of DNN from well-known members of the community that believe in this future. Thank you, once again!

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