6 API-Driven Startups Shaking Up Silicon Valley Posted in Business Models J Simpson August 26, 2020 Earlier this year, more than a few eyebrows were raised when Daily.co, an API-provider that lets users quickly and easily integrate video chat into their websites, raised $4.6 million in venture capital during a round of fundraising. But this is just one of many cases of late. APIs have been changing the business world in all manner of unexpected ways in recent years. To say that we are living in unprecedented times would be an understatement. The business world was already reeling and quaking for most of the 21st Century, in light of increasing globalization, a never-ending onslaught of new technologies, and the unexpected demise of several previously-monolithic industries. Luckily, we’ve seen a rise in new industries, as entrepreneurs find new ways to leverage emerging technology into new businesses. Considering the power and versatility of APIs, it’s unsurprising that they’re powering a whole new industry of API-driven products. Let’s look at some of the API-driven startups that are shaking up Silicon Valley. 6 API-Driven Startups Making Waves 1. FalconX Blockchain technology might not be garnering as many headlines as it was a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean it’s lost any of its potential. In fact, blockchain has been slowly, but-steadily, integrated into both the business world and the economy. FalconX bills itself as the most advanced digital asset trading platform globally. It offers realtime assets to help people make the best cryptocurrency investments. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Cryptocurrency moves through a number of decentralized exchanges, which makes it hard to keep track of the going rate. That makes FalconX a blessing for cryptocurrency traders who’ve been wanting to move into realtime trading. It also addresses some of the other major concerns facing the cryptocurrency industry, like ensuring a company’s ethics. It also means that FalconX’s API could be a blessing for anyone who wants to integrate realtime cryptocurrency insights into their projects. Investors seem to be excited about this, as FalconX raised $17 million during fundraising as of May 2020. 2. Flinks Connecting apps with financial data isn’t as simple or as straightforward as it might seem. Several APIs have arisen to fill this need. Flinks is a firm favorite among developers. The Flinks API and the Connect UI lets you authenticate financial transactions by integrating realtime Digital KYC, Account Authentication, and Transaction Histories. Flinks also supports multi-factor authentication, account selection, consent pages, or custom tagging. To get an idea of how Flinks works, check out some of their use cases. You can see how they handle user verification, for instance, returning Transactions, AccountNumbers, Balance, and other information commonly found on a voided check, reducing the amount of time it takes to reduce the time it takes to verify a transaction. Flinks has garnered $14 million in funding, so far. Clearly, they’re on to something and providing a service of real use. 3. Spruce Real estate is big business, which means big money. Any industry that generates that kind of revenue is going to have a rich ecosystem of products trying to capitalize on it. That means developers need * realtime data*. Yet, many real estate assets are still handled via paperwork. Spruce is set to change that. “Instead of using local offices with manual communication and manual processes, we provide [our clients] with API’s that allow them to scale effectively and to provide great digital experiences to their customers,” Spruce CEO and cofounder Patrick Burns told TechCrunch. Spruce isn’t aiming to provide real estate services on their own. Instead, they’re focusing on simply providing realtime real estate data to homeowners, brokers, and lending institutions. That’s how they’ve managed to be so effective. They’re simply offering the infrastructure that empowers real estate professionals. Spruce API comes in OpenAPI format with a number of endpoints specifically for real estate. They’ve got specific calls for Quotes, Orders, Title Reports, or Settlement Statements. All of these queries return assets in a standard JSON format. For Spruce, realtime data is one of their big selling points. Also, the API lets its platform integrate with other financial software. Spruce has raised more than $19 million in two rounds of fundraising. They recently added another $29 million in backing from Scale Venture Partners. The real estate industry appears to be ripe for change. 4. Evervault With so much money to be made with data, not to mention the ways it can be used for even more nefarious purposes, data privacy is obviously important. Evervault is an API-driven startup based out of Dublin that lets developers integrate data privacy easily and effectively. Evervault CEO Shane Curran feels that a true data privacy solution isn’t yet available. Today’s data privacy laws, he argues, are bad for consumers and businesses alike. Evervault is built around the idea of ‘privacy cages.’ This prevents anyone but the data owner from decrypting the data. The privacy cages are modular, as well, meaning they can be adapted easily, over time, as the security landscape shifts. Evervault’s data privacy also relies on mathematical principles rather than judicial approaches like GDPR, CCPA, or ePrivacy. Some investors see the potential in this application. Evervault raised $3.2 million in venture capital from a number of high-profile investors, like Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, or Frontline. This will allow Evervault to continue developing their data privacy API that will protect anyone using Personal Identifiable Information. This means that even if there is a data breach, the data will still be safe and secure. Evervault isn’t publicly available quite yet, but you can sign up to request access to their API. 5. Nylas Email integration might not seem that exciting until you realize that nearly every app on the planet needs it. Nylas is an API that lets you integrate email, contacts, and calendars into any application. Nylas offers a full range of communication tools via its API. These are all returned in a standard REST format, meaning you can GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE. Responses are returned in a standard JSON format. Nylas works similarly to Twilio or Stripe. It lets developers add email connectivity with just a few code lines so they can focus on developing their apps. It essentially functions as an adapter between the app and the most popular email providers. Adding email, contact, and calendar connectivity might seem like a simple utility, but Nylas’ popularity suggests otherwise. It’s already being used by high-profile clients like Comcast, Hyundai, Salesloft, and News Corp. CRM integration is one of its most powerful and popular applications. Clearly, investors see the potential in this email API. Nylas has raised over $30 million in two rounds of fundraising. This windfall paves the way for Nylas to pivot to providing B2C services, as well. 6. Segment Businesses operating without a data strategy by this stage in the game are essentially fumbling in the dark. Big Data lets businesses know exactly what their customers want, leaving those without it to make educated guesses and hope for the best. Segment is an API that offers comprehensive business intelligence business tools for gathering business data for marketing purposes, letting business owners and developers focus on building products and developing their business. Segment collects data from all of your sales and marketing channels, as well as your other digital assets like apps, websites, and servers. This data is collated alongside insights from CRM software, payment systems, and internal databases. This provides a powerful, customizable dashboard. It also lets you route your data from virtually anywhere to any number of popular business software tools, from Google Analytics, Mixpanel, KISSMetrics, and over 300 more. Segment has raised over $283 million in venture capital to date. Segment was one of the earliest APIs that became a product in their own right. Perhaps it might be better to consider them an API success story and an example of what’s possible when APIs meet the business world. Final Thoughts APIs are quickly becoming an accepted business practice. They’re even becoming businesses in their own right. If data is the new oil, as the headlines claim, these API-driven startups are some of the first boomtowns. Expect to see many more as the world continues to adjust and adapt to today’s data-driven climate.