Introducing Plato: Airtable for your database

Michael Gummelt
March 8, 2023
February 19, 2023

Today we're thrilled to launch Plato. Plato is Airtable for your SQL database. It’s the easiest way to make your database accessible for business operations such as customer support, customer success, and sales ops. Plato is free today for anyone to play with our sample DB or connect their own.

We created Plato because we noticed something strange. When helping our friends at a fintech startup, we saw that while they had spent weeks building an admin panel from scratch, their accountants seldom used it. They often had to run new queries and track new data that their admin panel didn’t support. Rather than waiting for features, they resorted to dumping CSVs into Airtable, which quickly grew out of sync.

We built Plato to make internal tools like admin panels more flexible and adaptible for the entire team.

👀 PM needs a single view on each user? Join tables together into a single virtual table. No SQL needed.
📝 Success manager needs to track notes and other ad-hoc fields to support new operations? Track new fields entirely in Plato with virtual columns.
💰 Sales agent needs to extend a free trial? Update the trial length with inline updates.

Providing your team with direct access to your database can be scary, which is why Plato lets you configure tables to be read-only and never stores your row data. We’re also soon rolling out on-prem and an internal API client.

Most think low-code platforms are built to bring power to those outside of the engineering department, or “citizen developers”, but the leading internal tool builders are all marketed exclusively to engineers. What gives?

Internal tool builders vs Plato architecture diagram

Today’s launch is just our first milestone on the way toward creating a new kind of tooling platform: a sandbox. A sandbox is a safe playground for anyone to build and extend their own workflow tools: admin panels, scheduling apps, inventory management, task trackers, etc.. Engineers surface internal systems as building blocks that operators can then safely assemble into new tools. Data teams already understand the importance of providing their teammates with a sandbox for self-serve analytics. We believe engineers will likewise come to see the importance of providing a sandbox for tools.

Plato's mission is to be the best sandbox for internal tools, where everyone can build new tools on a reliable foundation. For many, that foundation begins at the database. To support a wider range of tools, we’ll soon be rolling out custom views, pages, and automations. We hope you'll follow us for further developments.