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As software is turning into a collection of services pulled from various providers, the application programming interface, known as an API, is getting some serious attention. That’s why Runscope (see disclosure), a year-old startup based in San Francisco, has raised a $6 million series A round led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from True Ventures and Lerer Ventures.
The company, which raised a $1.1 million seed round from True Ventures last year, provides debugging and testing tools for APIs. In short, it helps make sure those APIs are working — a big deal as more and more companies start using APIs to build customer and internal software. For example, a business might build software that uses inventory tracking from an internal API combined with shipping data from FedEx’s API to show customers when an order might be available.
The rise in APIs is driven by several trends, most notably the rise of mobile apps. Instead of loading a giant software program on the relatively small processing and memory of a phone, building a lightweight app that pulls in information form a cloud back end makers more sense. APIs are the way to grab that information. But they aren’t always easy to manage and, if you have hundreds of APIs, figuring out if one is broken or misbehaving can be costly. Runscope addresses this problem with its service for customers that include Docusign, Fitbit (see disclosure), Xamarin and uShip.
As part of this funding Runscope is offering its services for on-premise deployments behind company firewalls. That will be a huge step in helping drive enterprise adoption of the more modern way of developing software applications, according to Steve Herrod, a managing director at General Catalyst Partners and the former CTO of VMware. Herrod is joining Runscope’s board as part of this financing round.
Runscope so far has gained credibility with developers, but advancing into the enterprise will be both a big challenge and big opportunity. Enterprises aren’t just thinking about developing applications that can be consumed on mobile phones, they are also trying to tie together streams of sensor data from their vehicle fleets, manufacturing floors and even employee work stations to build services that can make their operations more efficient. That data from connected devices will be consumed as an API, and Runscope aims to make sure those APIs are working.
Runscope’s founders Frank Stratton (pictured above left) and John Sheehan (pictured above right) are familiar with the developer world from their histories at Twilio and IFTTT, but having Herrod on the board should help give them the enterprise perspective they’ll need. The entire topic is one we’ll discuss more fully at our upcoming Structure event June 18 and 19 in San Francisco.
Disclosure: Both Runscope and Fitbit are backed by True Ventures. True Ventures is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media.