Dov MoranApril 4th, 2022

The rapid rise of RapidAPI: Why we believed in this developer-led startup when the CEO was just 15

Grove Ventures portfolio company RapidAPI gains unicorn status. It’s a great time to reflect on what happened since we gave them their first check until they became the world’s largest API hub for developers.

Last week, we had some exciting news from one of the fund’s earliest investments. RapidAPI — one of Grove Ventures’ first portfolio companies — announced that it had raised $150M in a Series D led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, reaching the coveted unicorn status.

Within a short period of time, RapidAPI became the world’s largest API Hub for developers. The company empowers millions of individual developers and enterprise companies to find, connect to, and manage thousands of APIs. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) have become an essential building block for software development. These interfaces are often used by developers to connect to third party services and microservices that help them perform vital functions.

To put things simply, let’s imagine you as a software developer in the midst of an app development process. Instead of writing a lengthy code from scratch to, say, charge a user’s credit card or search something on a map, you simply find a suitable API that does exactly that. In seconds, you connect and boom, the magic happens.

But magic, as we all know, is often the product of hard work.

So is the case with RapidAPI.

Our Teenage Partner

If there is one story that epitomizes our thesis here at Grove Ventures, ‘The Deep Future is Now’, it is the story of RapidAPI. We placed our bets on RapidAPI early. Real early.

I first met Iddo Gino, its founder and CEO, when he was just 15.5, and I was invited to judge at a young entrepreneurs’ event. I was impressed by his maturity, vision and drive and invited him for a meeting on a weekend at my office in Yarkona, a small village about 20-minutes from Tel-Aviv. We discussed different ideas he had for startups and analyzed their pros and their cons together. It took three such meetings for Iddo to mention that it takes him hours to arrive to Yarkona from his home in the north of Israel. When I commented that this location might be too far for him, he insisted to return and visit me at this office.

Iddo always kept going, and has not stopped since.

Partnering with a 15-year-old entrepreneur (first as an angel investor and then with Grove Ventures) could be seen as one of my biggest bets. But, for me, I only saw an exceptional talent in need of an opportunity. One of Grove Ventures’ core values is putting people first. And putting people first means seeing and respecting everyone in front of you. Other venture capitalists could have failed to appreciate an exceptional entrepreneur such as Iddo at such a young age, and they would have been wrong.

The Deep Future is API Economy

It was amazing to see this company grow. Iddo’s initial idea was to create a mobile payment platform for kids without a credit card, RapidPay (years before Apple Pay was launched). This was another idea ahead of its time… The Rapid mission stayed with the company, but it shifted focus from Fintech to DevTools.

Over the past few decades, the requirements for software development exploded. This led to a shortage in developers. To bridge this gap, many companies are constantly looking for tools — such as APIs — to continue to build quickly and efficiently. At Grove Ventures, we understand that the building the API economy is essential for this growth to be maintained and increased. At the heart of this economy, which is currently growing at over 63% CAGR, sits RapidAPI. Millions of developers trust it and use its services to search for, pay and connect to public APIs each day, and it has rapidly become the world’s largest API Hub.

The road was not always easy, but the growth has been phenomenal.

Fueled by self-service users subscribing, Global 2000 enterprise companies strategically adopting RapidAPI as their own internal API Hub, and the successful acquisition of favored API development platform Paw, RapidAPI has maintained its significant momentum.

  • Self-service developers leverage RapidAPI to consume paid APIs. They set up private workspaces using RapidAPI for Teams where they can collaborate on internal APIs and microservices.
  • Enterprise organizations, harness the RapidAPI Enterprise Hub to create a private internal API hub. Here their developers can all publish and consume APIs.

Through the years, the company has grown its offering and is now supporting the full API development lifecycle in one platform. In 2021, it almost tripled the number of enterprise deployments, and it looks set to continue growing at that rate in 2022.

We are excited to see how RapidAPI has been able to scale their vision and we are thankful to all of the top-tier investors that joined Grove Ventures in this endeavor: SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Andreesen Horowitz, Citi Ventures, Qumra Capital, M12 — Microsoft’s Venture Fund, Stripes, Viola, and Green Bay.

Congratulations to Iddo and the amazing RapidAPI team in San Francisco and in Tel Aviv on this incredible milestone. I am positive that this is only the beginning of something much bigger.

For anyone else listening, and as a former developer myself, I am always excited to discover and assist developer-first startups. Even at the age of 15.5…. 😊

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