Enterprises collectively spend $500 billion annually working with system integrators to link up the apps and services they use to run their businesses so that they can work together. Now, tapping into the growth of APIs for everything, a new company out of London, tray.io, has built a platform that it calls an “integration marketplace,” which wants to make costly IT integrations a thing of the past.
It has raised a seed round of $2.2 million led by True Ventures, with participation from Redpoint Ventures and Angelpad, where it spent a period incubating the company. It will use the funding to continue to build out its product and to put down roots in Silicon Valley to build out partnerships.
In total tray.io has now raised just under $3 million, including a previous $600,000 angel round from Passion Capital, Ballpark Ventures, Firestartr, Andy McLoughlin, Tom Hulme, Ustwo founders Mills and Sinx, FIG and Richard Fearn.
Tray.io has another connection to ustwo — the app studio that may be best known as the makers of Monument Valley. It is based out of Ustwo’s London offices as part of a new program Ustwo has started to find and grow startups in the area (others that have launched include Dice, the music ticketing startup).
You can think of tray.io as an IFTTT for the enterprise world. Just as IFTTT lets more tech-minded consumers create “recipes” that trigger actions between different apps and connected objects that haven’t been built into the apps themselves — for example, instantly uploading an Instagram photo to a Dropbox folder or Flickr, or triggering temperature changes on a Nest thermostat based on whether you are in the room or how far you are from home — tray.io has created a the enterprise equivalent: a catalogue of connectors between popular business apps and other services that let them speak to each other.
Why not just create these in IFTTT? The twist here is that business apps tend to be far more complex than the average consumer app in terms of functionality and data, and so what tray.io is essentially created is a very user-friendly way of visualising actions for people to set up scripts, using drag-and-drop icons.
Connections between services can be created by people with no technical expertise. However, those who do have programmers on staff and want to add more functionality on top of that can also go into the code at this point to further customise things.
“Being able to push data between services in the past has required hiring an engineer and building something from the ground up,” Rich Waldron, co-founder and CEO of tray.io, says. “It’s an incredibly expensive and time consuming process. What we’re providing is a path to construct services that are entirely bespoke to a business without needing an engineer to put them in place.”
As one simple example of how the app works, take sign-ups for further information on a website. A user whose name is added to that list can have his name/email address checked against a larger contact database that gives more detail about his or her actual job, and that data can then be used to figure out how best to follow on from that lead, sending the new contact to one sales rep or another.
The sales rep, meanwhile, would be able not only to see the name but potentially get more intelligence about the company that new prospect works for. And at the same time the propsect’s will get added to a larger database for future marketing. All of this flow can be created through tray.io’s platform.
Tray.io is tapping into a very hot area. “APIs are exploding today,” says Waldron. “There is an expectation for one everywhere, but also an expectation from businesses that they should be able to build into them.” And as such, it is not without competition, with much larger companies like Mulesoft also making some big strides in providing platforms to connect APIs and others like Tibco, Snaplogic and smaller startups like YC alum Zapier. Tray.io claims to be easier to use and less expensive than the rest.
This is also what has driven investor interest in the startup, too.
“There are other services out there, but I have been looking to find a company doing what tray.io does for the last seven or eight years,” says Puneet Agarwal, a partner at True who led his firm’s investment in tray.io.
Agarwal’s own background is in integration and so he knows the pain first-hand. “In the SaaS world there is something like 5,000 apps with 11,000 APIs. There needs to be a new platform for this world that is easy to use and not cumbersome. The simplicity of tray.io’s connectors and its workflow and product shows they are thinking about it the right way,” he says.