The most impactful companies are founded on solving problems. These are typically problems that affected a founder personally. In that respect, Postman, a company offering a platform for teams developing APIs, is off to a good start. Added to that, the India-based startup has also bagged a $1 million seed round from Nexus Venture Partners.
Postman CEO and co-founder Abhinav Asthana recounted how he first ran into issues developing APIs when he was at intern at Yahoo in 2009.
“We would go back and forth over API production and development,” he explained in an interview with TechCrunch. “As a result, it took a lot of time to ship the product. You are building out an API that isn’t documented properly, and you don’t have time to do it.”
Bangalore-based Asthana said the problem followed him around — he started panoramic photo app TeleportMe in 2010 — and that prompted him to develop an open-source solution to his pains in 2012. After realizing that this side project had potential, Asthana started Postman in September 2013 with ex-Adobe engineer Ankit Sobti (Postman’s CTO) to build it out.
More than 18 months have passed since then and Postman’s service, which is currently available as a Chrome app, has picked up significant steam. Over 1.5 million developers have registered for the service, Asthana said that more than 800,000 are active. That user base is pretty global, too, with over half located in the U.S., including members of major tech firms like Box, Microsoft and Cisco.
Not bad for a company of nine based in India. With uptake in the U.S. and a seed round in the bag, the company is looking to open an office in San Francisco at some point this year, Asthana told us. There are also plans to hire more staff, although he stressed that Postman wants to maintain a small team.
At its core, Postman is akin to Google Docs for APIs. That’s to say that it enables teams to track their changes and work collaboratively, all of which helps to develop APIs without breakage and miscommunication.
Asthana explained that, primarily, Postman Sync puts all the API workflow into one single place. That, combined with search and an in-app collection of APIs, alleviates the need to check multiple sites and documents to keep track of the current status or changes.
Like any cloud-based software service, Postman includes a news feed that provides updates for the ongoing development of an API, and it syncs data to the cloud. That, the Postman CEO said, helps root out bugs and avoids making changes that screw up an API — and thus bring a service or app to its knees when live.
“We’re looking to change the way people work with APIs,” Asthana said. “The biggest problem with APIs is that things are changed and undocumented, then are pushed out and break. We want to end that.”
A limited version of the service is available for free. The full Postman Sync service costs $49 per month with up to 10 developers — Asthana is aiming to convert 5 percent of registered users to paying members. He said the company is open to providing flexible pricing plans for organizations with larger needs.
Postman, which has relied on word-of-mouth to grow its user base thus far, is currently working on improving Sync, its collaboration platform. Once done, it will then begin developing native apps — Asthana said that mobile apps might be considered if there’s sufficient demand — and system integrations.