Hotglue, an early-stage startup that wants to make it easier for developers to connect to business applications like Salesforce, announced a $1.5 million seed today led by Uncommon Capital and a group of angels. The company is the brainchild of a couple of 20-year-old founders, CEO Hassan Syyid and CRO David Molot, who dropped out of the University of Maryland last year to build their startup.
Syyid explained that the idea that caused them to shift their life plans is a product for developers that makes it easier to build integrations with business apps like Salesforce, QuickBooks and HubSpot. Today the pair has built 250 such connectors based on the open source project Meltano.
“If you’re a developer and you want to build a product that serves businesses, you generally have to access that data from wherever it lives. And so whether that is a Salesforce account or QuickBooks account, accessing the data can have a lot of challenges, and so we make it easier by giving you an embeddable way to solve that,” he said.
While using connectors to access data on business systems isn’t necessarily a new idea, Syyid says that their focus on developers is different. “I think traditionally if you think about products in the data [integration market], you’re thinking about FiveTran or Stitch because they can help consolidate your company’s internal data into a data warehouse. The difference here is that our users are actually engineering teams,” he said.
Syyid came up with the idea for the company while interning at an accounting startup where he saw the company’s customers struggling to access QuickBooks data and deal with issues like exceeding the number of calls allowed for the API. So he built a connector to handle all of that.
At this point, he connected with his friend Molot and the two decided to drop out of school to pursue their idea full time. While their parents were worried about their decision, they initially accepted the idea of taking a semester off to work on building the company. They each moved home and went to work. Getting into the Y Combinator Summer 21 cohort helped convince their parents that they were onto something.
“We took a gap semester technically initially, and then we got into Y Combinator and then our parents were like ‘okay maybe this is legitimate,’ and that kind of gave them the vote of confidence to allow us to pursue this,” Molot said.
At YC, they learned about building a business and listening to customers and building connectors that solved the problems their target developer audience was facing as they tried to build these integrations themselves. It also prepared them to build a business and revenue engine to start selling the product, knowledge that they have continued to build on.
“We have spent a lot of time reading and building our knowledge base internally and making sure that we’re always on point using knowledge tools that have helped us understand these business metrics and ideas,” Molot said.
They also began writing content early on, publishing about the nature of the data integration on Medium, and this content marketing approach helped them get their name out there and further refine the problem as they built their products.
Today they have around 15 customers, with a similar number in the pipeline. They are generating revenue and growing the active user base by 50% month over month. With the seed investment, they hope to hire a couple of engineers and continue building the company.