- On Tuesday, the startup RapidAPI announced it closed $25 million in series B funding from Microsoft’s venture fund M12, as well as DNS Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Green Bay Capital.
- Investors decided to fund the company, which started from a hackathon tool, in part because of the boom in developer-focused companies like Twilio, Stripe, and SendGrid.
- Now, RapidAPI has partnered with large companies like Microsoft and Google, and is used by over a million developers.
- Read more on the Business Insider homepage.
The idea for the startup RapidAPI first came about from a hackathon tool to help neophyte programmers.
Back in 2014, RapidAPI founder and CEO Iddo Gino had helped organize World Hackathon Day in Tel Aviv. Many of the people participating were beginners and had little experience coding. As the name suggests, a hackathon is an intensive coding event that can last hours or days, with participants teaming up to work on small projects.
“The idea behind these hackathons where to get people excited about software development or software engineering,” Gino told Business Insider. “A lot of them were immature in the field of programming and not coming in with a lot of experience.”
Gino realized that he could give those newbies some real help by making it easier for them to use APIs, or application programming interfaces. APIs are the way by which programs “talk” to each other, to perform specific tasks. Using Facebook to log in to Spotify, for example, uses the Facebook Login API.
And so, Gino created a page called “Awesome APIs,” a directory full of some of the most popular APIs, as a resource for hackathon participants. Soon, however, people started using this page not only at the hackathon Gino organized, but also for their own personal edification.
“We saw there was real value for [APIs] and we wanted to turn it into a product offering,” Gino said.
“Awesome APIs” soon evolved into RapidAPI, a startup making tools to help developers pick and manage their API usage. And on Tuesday, it announced that it closed $25 million in Series B funding led by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund. DNS Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Green Bay Capital also participated.
In total, RapidAPI has now raised $37.5 million.
Just for developers
RapidAPI says it now has over a million developers and 10,000 public APIs on the platform. With RapidAPI, developers can search for API’s, share them with each other, and connect them with other apps they’re using. Developers can find the right API’s they need, as well as test and monitor them right from their browsers.
It also has a product for business teams to use to publish, share, manage, and collaborate on public and private APIs that their developers are using.
When RapidAPI first received its seed funding in 2015, investors saw potential because of the boom of API-focused companies like Twilio, Stripe, and SendGrid. Gino says that he sees API’s as the “fundamental building blocks” for software.
“It all comes to finding investors who understand the vision of what we want to build,” Gino said. “Developers are winning the charge and helping those companies decide and understand what tools and technology they should be using in the future.”
‘A lot of handholding’
Since then, RapidAPI has partnered with even more API providers. Originally, Gino says, starting these partnerships was a major challenge, and RapidAPI had to prove its track record to other companies. He had to convince them that allowing more people to use the API through RapidAI will bring value to those companies.
“Initially it was a lot of handholding with those API providers and explaining why we think those APIs will be a great fit,” Gino said.
Now, RapidAPI has been able to partner with large companies like Microsoft and Google, and Gino says that smaller companies are following suit after seeing the popularity of the product.
Read more: ‘Low code’ and ‘no code’ products is the hottest trend in enterprise startups
Outside of developing its platform, Gino also wants to continue reaching more developers, such as by writing blog posts that help developers discover the right API to use for their app or even start their own company.
“The amount of money to start a software-based business is a lot lower,” Gino said. “Now what’s happening is becoming even simpler. You don’t need to write a lot of code. You can consume a lot of that functionality from API’s. That’s what gets me excited about being in this space. I really think APIs are part of that story.”
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