Despite what you hear from the software giants, there are plenty of people — and certainly plenty of businesses — that don’t necessarily want to buy all their applications from the mega malls that Microsoft(s msft), Oracle(s orcl), and Salesforce.com(s crm) et al., have become. In fact, especially for small companies, there are niche Software as a Service products that suit their needs to the T. But knitting together all those third-party applications can be problematic, especially in IT- constrained small businesses.
That’s the problem that spawned Zapier, a startup out of Mountain View, Calif. that last year launched a SaaS service that integrated 100 of these applications including Evernote, Asana, Github and Box. Now it’s raised that total to 250 including new connections to Firebase and WooCommerce.
Zapier’s three co-founders Wade Foster, Bryan Helmig and Mike Knoop (pictured above, left to right) dropped everything and moved from Columbia, Missouri to the Valley when they were accepted to the 2012 Y Combinator class. Zapier, which has since grown to 8 employees, aims to mimic the IFTTT (if this than that) linkage that’s booming among consumer applications.
In some ways Zapier’s product is reminiscent of big-boy integration players like Mulesoft, SnapLogic and Dell Boomi. But Zapier’s marketing guy Danny Schreiber said its product is less expensive, less complicated to set up and targets smaller companies that probably wouldn’t look at those alternatives. He maintained that Zapier’s most direct competition is DIY efforts by companies that either assign this integration work to in-house IT people or contract it out to consultants. Either way: ka-ching.
Zapier said its service sets up in minutes; you start with a free trial and then tiered pricing is based on number of “zaps” or interactions between applications. Basically, the price climbs as you connect more apps and send more data but the higher the price.
This is a big promise and if Zapier is able to deliver on these ease of use promises going forward and keep prices low, this is a compelling proposition for a lot of prospective buyers.