Less than a year after raising $25M led by Microsoft for its take on building API marketplaces, RapidAPI has rapidly followed that up with another infusion of capital as it reaches 20,000 APIs tracked, integrated, and used across its marketplace by millions of developers. Today the startup is announcing that it raised another $25 million from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, DNS Capital, Green Bay Ventures, M12 (Microsoft’s Venture Fund), and Grove.
This is a second closing of RapidAPI’s Series B, which we first wrote about last year, bringing the total for the round to $50 million and $62.5 million overall. PitchBook notes that the startup’s previous valuation was $80 million, which would put this now at upwards of $105 million but likely higher, considering that the company has scaled by quite a bit. Co-founder and CEO Iddo Gino would not disclose the actual amount in an interview this week.
APIs are the building blocks of today’s digital world: developers use them to quickly integrate features, data, services and functions into their own apps, removing the need to build and scale all those elements themselves from scratch. But while the big selling point of using APIs is that they allow developers to integrate using only a few lines of code, that doesn’t tell the whole story. The issue is that a lot of API interfaces are not uniform and so sourcing and using a variety of them can become very time-consuming and on aggregate a lot more difficult than the basic concept of API would have you assume.
“You can’t build everything from scratch, and using APIs makes work a lot more efficient,” co-founder Iddo Gino once said to me. “But each API has a different format and authentication strategy. You have to speak a lot of different languages to use them all.”
RapidAPI’s approach is to create a framework that not only helps you find the API you are looking for, but lets you integrate them more easily by way of a single API key and SDK. It covers both free and paid APIs, and public as well as “private” APIs. When your company is a subscriber — by way of the RapidAPI for Teams product — it can also help keep track of your own organization’s API work.
The formula has been a success. There are now 18,000 teams using the Teams product among more than one million developers using the platform overall.
Within that number, RapidAPI — originally founded in Israel in 2015 and now based also in San Francisco — says that since January, it has added 300,000 new developers, up six-fold monthly compared the the same five months of 2019. The marketplace itself now has 20,000 APIs, doubling in the last year, with 1,000 getting added each month. Contributors to its marketplace include Microsoft, Twilio, SendGrid, Nexmo, Skyscanner and (our former stablemate) Crunchbase.
RapidAPI doesn’t charge people to use APIs that are already free to use. Rather it makes its money from subscriptions to its API management service as well as through serving paid APIs. It says that paid subscriptions have also grown by 30,000, with those using the enterprise tier — where you can develop your own white-label, in-house version of a marketplace for your own staff and customers — are on the rise with financial services, insurance companies, carriers and healthcare companies among those building marketplaces on RapidAPI’s rails.
While a lot of businesses, including even tech startups, have had to make big adjustments to work in our new environment and its focus on social distancing to help manage the spread of COVID-19, the same didn’t go for RapidAPI, noted Gino. The company already had remote teams — a consequence of being founded in one country and now essentially having two gravitational poles — and RapidAPI’s team of 75, and its customers, have in their culture working across different environments including virtualised ones.
What the current climate has pointed to, however, is that RapidAPI is the kind of company that stands to benefit from how other organizations are coping with digital transformation, by helping provide developers with libraries that they can use, wherever they happen to be.
Another interesting thing that has come up in the current climate is the impact it’s had on what APIs are getting the most calls. In addition to the regular roster of most popular APIs that include communications, payments and other financial services, Gino told me that APIs related to COVID-19 data have emerged as some of the most heavily trafficked, in line with how so many are working to make sense of what is going on, and how they might help the rest of us.
These include API calls for datasets and geolocation, as well as other statistics, some of which are free and some of which are paid. RapidAPI says that between March 1 and mid-May, the top five COVID APIs had more than 224 million calls with a peak of almost 4.5 million in a single day.