Hey I’m Seth!

Founder, No Code MBA
Each week I share the latest No Code MBA tutorials, interviews, and tool recommendations with 20,000 subscribers.
I'd love for you to join as well.
2 min read only
Practical lessons
Free access to content
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form...
00
D
00
H
00
M
00
S
The Memorial Day Sale Is Live! Get 50% Off →
Stuart Landsdale

How Stuart Landsdale created Riku, an app for building, storing and deploying AI models

website
Riku
monthly revenue
Full-Time Income
Built with
Visit site

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Block quote

Ordered list

  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3

Unordered list

  • Item A
  • Item B
  • Item C

Text link

Bold text

Emphasis

Superscript

Subscript

Caption
Riku is the ultimate playground to learn, explore, enjoy and deploy the best AI models with or without code.

What's your personal background? What motivated you to start your own company?

I am originally from the UK but found myself moving to Thailand to take my first serious job doing some business consulting, this is where we used to help businesses become more efficient, this role was mainly me hacking together a no-code solution with Zapier and the like and then seeing if the business wanted a bombproof version where we’d incorporate code. This taught me a lot about no-code tools and also set me on the path to see a bunch of weird and wonderful business. It wasn’t long before I decided to start my own focusing on vacation rentals and Airbnb properties in Southeast Asia.

Been doing that since 2015 and the business still runs, got hit hard through covid of course so that’s when I went down the rabbit hole of AI tools and initially launched an AI writing assistant. There are a ton of those out and more and more coming every day so it was a good learning experience but felt that Riku was a more worthy cause and focus of my time.

What no code tools did you use to build Riku and what purpose did each play in the final product?

Riku is built using Bubble, n8n and Make primarily. Bubble is where we have the actual web app and where users interact, n8n and Make take care of some backend workflows which are more complicated than running them directly in Bubble and we also use Airtable for a few things also. I always think there is a learning curve in no-code where you experience Zapier first most likely, then graduate onto Make before mastering n8n if you really want the sparks to fly. Each of those migrations is a steep learning curve but well worth it.

Probably worth noting that when I was building out my writing assistant tool, I had no clue what I was doing with Bubble and built it into Landbot, now with all the ChatGPT hype, that’s kinda funny for me, but users were asking for a web app so I rolled up my sleeves one weekend and tried to learn Bubble and shipped an initial MVP of the web app. It looked horrible, but every time I went into Bubble since, I improve.

What were the initial costs to get Riku off the ground?  

The cost of launching Riku was relatively inexpensive in terms of products used but as we have developed the product and continue to develop it, we invest in quite sophisticated hardware to future proof the business. Being able to support all our users hosting GPT-J is one of those areas which is quite complex and can be expensive and then with the hype in image gen and all of that coming out, we want to future proof our hardware for that. With that in mind, we’ve invested significantly in those areas as we believe that open-source is the future of AI and being able to spin up the new stuff and put a front end on it, is a surefire way to continue to attract users.

What was the process of building your product from idea to launching?

With Riku, we first actually thought about making a product solely focused on fine-tuning. It didn’t take us long to realize that data is the important thing in all of this and you will see this even more with image models coming out, the custom models built on Stable Diffusion are awesome and mostly open-source but they are incredibly valuable and model creators will start to license them and paywall for use so data is everything.

Our initial product idea was going to be called finetuning.ai. We have the domain for it and built a whole frontend but then pivoted it to more of an aggregator of all the best models in a centralized playground which then pivoted further into a place to build, store and deploy what you create simply. Ideas evolve over time but I am happy where we ended up and where we’re heading.

How do you attract customers?

We’ve had quite a lot of success through word of mouth and also through YouTube. Our channel puts out tips and tricks for no-code AI usage and then more involved videos using Riku. Most of the problems that we solve in Riku are because I have personally experienced them so being able to talk passionately about the annoyances of these things and then showing a solution resonates with others.

Our share links which is also a big part of what we have and where we’re heading also show a Riku text at the bottom. The more people use Riku, the more the word gets out so we’re very much focused on helping all of our users have that initial eureka moment with AI and realize just how much easier it is than they think. They don’t need to spend hundreds on another company when they can build their own, better tools quickly in Riku.

What are the biggest challenges you've overcome building Riku?

There are challenges everyday which is a cliche of course but challenges are mainly faced due to infrastructure and being able to set things up exactly how we want them to be for a fluid backend. We’ve tackled this over and over and then something new and shiny comes out and it is almost a race to get it out first. We pride ourselves on seeing things primarily before anyone else and making it available for users before anyone else. It is our job to be knowledgable and keep an eye on the AI landscape as a whole and we take that pretty seriously.

How much money is Riku making per month?

Riku is profitable in the sense of if I wanted to sit on my thumbs all day and do nothing, then I could but if you aren’t growing then you are dying so that isn’t what we want to do. Like we have said in previous answers, for us it is about future proofing the business and ensuring we put in place the hardware and processes now so we are ready to support even more powerful models as soon as they drop, video models when they drop and much more.

Investing funds back into the business is really the priority at the stage where we are at the moment and we’re fortunate to be in a position where we have the customers and revenue to be able to do that at the level we are. Similarly, our approach to building is mostly about building an ecosystem on what we’re working on so there are other areas of interest in AI other than Riku where our investment can reap dividends in the future.

What's your advice for non-technical people who want to start a company?  

So much of starting a company is just starting, make progress every day no matter how little and avoid the Debbie downer in your mind who is telling you that you are stupid. You might not hit a success first time, that’s pretty rare but you will learn something from every single thing you create and those skills are invaluable and give you the wisdom to succeed in future. I’ve tried a ton of things in the past, a ferry ticket company to supplement my vacation rentals, a tour business, AI brand tools when DALL-E API first came out, chatbot for vacation rentals, e-commerce aggregator, stock buying app for Thailand, food delivery and probably many more I am successfully forgetting. My domain name purchase graveyard is a long one although I have got better at not buying domains now! Lot of failures along the way with little to no traction.

What are your future plans for Riku?

Riku will become the central hub to spin up models quicker than ever in both text and image and probably audio and video when those models get better. We want users to be able to experiment and build their own writing assistant tools, image generation tools and everything in between. You can white label them, monetize them and do what you like with your creations either via no-code methods or via our aggregated API endpoint. There is a lot of fun stuff coming in the AI space as a whole and we’re here to help you get in at the ground floor and make efficiencies in your life, business, new ventures.

How do you think the rise of no code tools will impact entrepreneurship?  

No-code tools will continue to get better. I hope they take a similar approach to N8n and more open-source tools come out. Typebot is an excellent example of a business that open-sourced the core tech but continues to go from strength to strength for the founder. At the end of the day, there will be people who always have an excuse for not launching or doing the work and there will be those who do. Bad workman always blame their tools or so the saying goes.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Thanks for the questions, if you want to checkout Riku, we’d love to help you on your AI journey!

Access all of this with No-Code MBA Unlimited
Unlock premium step-by-step tutorials building real apps and websites
Easy to follow tutorials broken down into lessons between 2 to 20 minutes
Get access to the community to share what you're building, ask questions, and get support if you're stuck
Friendly Tip!
Companies often reimburse No Code MBA memberships. Here's an email template to send to your manager.

Get all access with No Code MBA Unlimited

Unlock premium step-by-step tutorials building real apps and websites
Easy to follow tutorials broken down into lessons between 2 to 20 minutes
A community to share what you're building, ask questions, and get support if you're stuck
Access all of this with No-Code MBA Unlimited
Unlock premium step-by-step tutorials building real apps and websites
Easy to follow tutorials broken down into lessons between 2 to 20 minutes
Get access to the community to share what you're building, ask questions, and get support if you're stuck
Friendly Tip!
Companies often reimburse No Code MBA memberships. Here's an email template to send to your manager.