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Apigee, a company that helps manage and monitor APIs, snagged a $20 million round of funding led by new investor Focus Ventures, with participation from current investors Bay Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, SAP Ventures and Third Point Ventures. The eight-year-old company plans to use the money to match its growth with the overall rise of APIs and the app economy.
APIs are the rivers of data that companies offer access to — be it for a fee or as a way of building out its own platform. There are as many APIs as there are services on the web, with Twitter’s metadata and tweets being one element delivered via an API to Amazon’s web services (s amzn), which users connect to using APIs. It is the connective tissue of the cloud. And it’s also a growing force for monetization both on the web and in mobile.
And as APIs become more of a tool for business, the need for Apigee’s API management services and infrastructure become more important. While it originally focused on tracking APIs for web users, in the last year it has done several deals that clearly position it in the mobile realm. Just last week it purchased the assets of the Wholesale Application Community, an effort by a few dozen wireless carriers to create a runtime environment to entice developers to build apps on the WAC platform instead of Google’s Android (s goog) or Apple’s iOS (s aapl).
The WAC API’s are built on Apigee’s API Platform and Apigee plans on supporting the nine remaining carriers who are trying to use a WAC API for payments, although the effort seems relegated to obscurity among more widespread and popular payment APIs. This month Walgreens said Apigee helped it build a developer portal to help the drugstore link its real world services to users’ mobile devices.
Back in January it bought Usergrid, a company that built an easier development environment for mobile developers. Usergrid also provides the metrics about who and how often users access an API. This way a company like Walgreens will know which service is sending a lot of business its way.
Apigee CEO Chet Kapoor explains the heightened focus on mobile is just a reaction to the market. In an email response to my questions Kapoor wrote:
” … The API market has exploded because of the pull from mobile – companies need apps, and apps need APIs to work. An API platform must address the end-to-end problem – helping a company expose an API that developers will use, but also giving developers tools that make it easier for them to build apps on your API. This is why we’ve invested heavily recently in mobile app services, and also data and analytics.
Finally, It’s not just apps – cloud computing, big data are also powered by APIs and are API projects. This is why we’re seeing huge demand from established companies, brands, and communication players”
Mobile, with its focus on simplicity and lightweight apps, benefits from a well-written API that can hide the complexity of everything that occurs underneath it to deliver the right data at the right time and in a manner that can scale. Apigee got $20 million because it is helping a variety of service providers from telecommunications companies to Netflix (s nflx) deliver those types of APIs.