Singly, a startup aimed at simplifying the integration of third-party services in both web and mobile applications, is today launching its platform into open beta. Until now, the company has been in private beta testing with around 3,000 developers who are using Singly in some 250 applications, including TimeHop and Geekli.st, as well as Mural.ly, SalesLoft, Cloudmine, Farmstand, AdoptTogether and more.
The company was co-founded by Jason Cavnar, previously of social reader startup Nsyght; Jeremie Miller, best known as the inventor of the Jabber/XMPP open source protocols for instant messaging; and Simon Murtha-Smith.
At a very high level, Singly offers to speed up the process of manually having to write code to authenticate users via third-party services, pull in their friends list and other data (think photos, bios, etc.) from various social networks and other services, and then allow those users to share to social networks, as well. The startup refers to this combined functionality as the “app fabric.” For those who need it, Singly can also go a step further, handling even more advanced functions like data syncing, storage, de-duplication of data, powerful querying and filtering of data, and more.
Cavnar and Miller met while working on similar products, social readers Nsyght and Knowmore, respectively. The products were talking to a variety of services, including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Last.fm, and others.
“As I built this product,” says Cavnar, “I was amazed at all the challenges that came with talking to third-party services as a new application from authentication, to syncing that data down, to de-duplicating that data, and all kinds of stuff you have to do under the hood to enable a good user experience,” he says. Cavnar says he also believes all the best user experiences in the future will be enabled by the data from other experiences, and will have to connect back out to those services, too.
But the process of managing the integrations is time-consuming and challenging, especially for early-stage startups that don’t have enough resources. That’s where Singly comes in. Explains Miller, “at a really high-level, when a developer is building an application and they decide that they want to let a person sign in with Facebook and Twitter, and maybe invite friends from Google, or their address book or LinkedIn…they can come to Singly, they put in their information about their app, and we can do the work to go and fetch the friends, and do the authentication.”
Notably, the developer can turn around this functionality in hours, not days or weeks. If you’re integrating one API in your app, you’re looking at a couple of days of work, Cavnar explains. If you’re integrating multiple APIs, those days can turn into weeks. And if you’re combining data in more complex ways, that work could even take months.
The company began its life as The Locker Project, which would capture data from a user’s online activities (e.g. tweets, photos, checkins, etc.) and archive those items in a storage locker of sorts. Those efforts continue as an open source project, but Singly as it stands today is the commercial result of the problems solved while building The Locker Project. With the commercial launch, the company will offer the “app fabric” for $99/month for up to 1 million users, handling authentication, friend-finding, social sharing, and the like. Meanwhile, pricing is available upon demand for those with more complex data needs (aka the “data fabric,” as they call it), including syncing, storage, filtering, de-duping, intelligent indexing and more.
Today, the company offers integration support for over 35 services, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google, Github, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Klout, Flickr, Instagram, WordPress, YouTube, PayPal, Reddit, StockTwits, SoundCloud, Rdio, Yammer, FitBit, RunKeeper, Zeo and others. iOS and Android SDKs are available, and Singly works with web-based applications, too. More integrations are coming, and the team will also respond to feedback from developers to solve future challenges and pain points on mobile in ways that can benefit the developer community as a whole.
Singly raised seed funding for The Locker Project from Freestyle Capital, True Ventures, Venrock, Esther Dyson, and John Batelle. In April, it closed on $7 million in Series A funding from The Foundry Group, Esther Dyson and John Batelle.
Interested developers can sign up here.