Application Programme Interface, or APIs are connectors that sit on top of existing software programmes and help in making processes run by that software (or other external software) efficiently – in terms of time and money. Every single function in our mobile phone has been facilitated by an API – be it syncing with Google, Facebook prompting us to sync our contacts or the contacts app populating itself with our most-used phone numbers. All work on APIs.
Gartner Inc. has stated that “APIs are at the heart of digital business”. Programmable Web reports the number of public APIs has grown from 5,018 in January 2012 to a current count of 16,784. Clearly, APIs are becoming critical to every aspect of computing, and developers are constantly asking for more APIs!
Abhinav Asthana, CEO and co-founder, Postman, realised it was a great market to be in, right now and decided to utilise this opportunity. However, his interest was not triggered merely by observing market trends but through personal experience.
“I worked on APIs as an intern at Yahoo. My experience at Yahoo!, which is also where I met my co-founder Ankit Sobti, and the knowledge I gained working around APIs made me see one thing very clearly – the way we see software and use it, was going to change radically due to the need for interconnectivity in software,” says this BITS Pilani, Goa, graduate. The two realised that the tools available for supporting the API development process were not standardized, let alone automated or developer-friendly. “The process was fragmented and required using a bunch of software for different functions, so we thought we’d change that,” he explains. And, so Postman was born, in 2014.
Before Postman, Ashthana co-founded first company, TeliportMe, as a CTO, developing panorama apps on Android that received more than 5M downloads. Then he consulted for startups before connecting with co-founders, Sobti and Abhijit Kane to establish Postman. Sobti, CTO and co-founder, an MBA from Indian School of Business, has worked at Yahoo and Adobe as a developer, headed the Real Time Bidding business at the ad-tech company, and later at Media.net. Kane also had worked at TeliportMe, is a graduate from BITS Pilani, Hyderabad, interned at Adobe, worked with Walmart Labs, before joining Postman as its co-founder and product architect
The company raised US $1 million in its first round of funding in 2014 from Nexus Venture Partners, and US $7 million in Series A in 2016, also from Nexus. The investment is being used to expand the team to strengthen the product. “We are continuously working on adding more features to the product to provide an easy interface for our clients – individual developers as well as enterprise clients,” explains Asthana.
The company has offices in two cities – Bengaluru and San Francisco – and a team of more than 30. “We recently started an office in the U.S. where we have some engineers who were actually our customers and wanted to join us,” says Asthana. The sales and marketing team also is present there as it will allow it to be more responsive to its customers, many of whom are based in Europe and the U.S. “The company is building a marketing and customer success team in the San Francisco office, led by the VP of Marketing,” he adds.
Postman team has been steadily growing in India as well, and therefore it has taken a larger office space in Bengaluru. “We are looking at hiring more talent but we are very careful and try to pick wisely,” says Asthana.
The [API Development] process was fragmented and required using a bunch of software for different functions, so we thought we’d change that
Postman is constantly working at making APIs easier for developers, and it strives to be the best, most ubiquitous API toolchain around. “We recently gave users of Postman 5.0 limited-quantity access to many of the paid features of Postman Pro, intended to support small and individual development projects,” explains Asthana. It includes features such as API monitoring, API documentation, mock servers and the Postman API. Postman 5.0 is free to all users, and available as Mac, Windows and Linux native apps, as well as a Chrome app.
“We have also enabled developers to select geographical locations from which to run API tests,” he adds. This solution enables developers to monitor and measure network latency issues from a network in one region to a network in another region. Postman supports six regions, namely, US East, US West, Canada, EU, Asia Pacific and South America to allow broad coverage for customers.
Postman Pro is a premium version with additional functionality for the professional developers and developer teams, and priced at US $8/user/month. The company is also in beta for an Enterprise version.
Postman is used by nearly four million developers and 30,000 companies worldwide. “Postman was designed to support the entire development workflow – allowing the developer to stay within Postman for all their work,” explains Asthana. Most other tool providers focus on one aspect of API development, rather than the entire flow – for example, an emphasis on monitoring only, or just documentation. Postman, on the other hand, supports the entire API development cycle: designing, debugging, testing, documentation, and monitoring. It also supports the integration of other tools, to allow developers to customize their environment, with great user experience and serving the developer being the main focus.
Asthana hopes to make APIs easier for all developers, and be the best, most ubiquitous API toolchain around. “In 10 years, when I go to a hackathon and ask, ‘Who here has used Postman?’ – I want every hand in the room to go up. Right now, we see about one third or half of the hands in the room go up – great for a company our size, but we’re hoping for more,” shares he.
Founded by: Abhinav Asthana, CEO & Co-founder, Postman; Ankit Sobti, CTO and Co-founder; Abhijit Kane, Co-Founder & Product Architect
Founded in: 2014
Focus: API development
Funded by: Nexus Ventures
Meeting the API Developers’ Demand
Application Programme Interface are connectors that sit on top of existing software programmes and help in making processes run by that software efficiently. It is considered to be the next wave to watch out for in software development. Abhinav Asthana and his co-founders, Ankit Sobti and Abhijt Kane, realised the potential. Having already worked in an API development environment and realising there was no standardisation and decided to fill this gap. This led to the setting up of Postman in Bangalore in 2014. Soon, with clients in Europe and the US, they set up an office in San Francisco. The company currently has a team of 30, serves four million developers and 30,000 companies. Its USP is being able to cater to the entire API development lifecycle. It has been funded by Nexus Ventures, which is enough for it to fuel its future development plans.