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Gravity will receive new cash to facilitate API development and maintenance

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the use of APIs — interfaces that software apps use to communicate with each other. In a recent survey when asked to predict API usage in 2022, 90.5% of responding developers expected to use APIs as much or the same as in 2021, while only 3.8% said they would use less. The challenge is that as new APIs and protocols emerge, some are not supported by existing API management and security platforms. Some developer teams struggle to make APIs usable, which leads to duplicated efforts, wasted engineering time, and lost revenue opportunities.

At least, that’s how Rory Blundell sees it. He is the co-founder of Gravity, a startup that builds a tool for creating, securing, managing, and executing APIs that supports both asynchronous APIs (ie, APIs that return data at a later time) and synchronous APIs (APIs that return data immediately). It works only with synchronous APIs, unlike some of the legacy, traditional API management solutions in use today – limiting the types of applications they can orchestrate.

After a year of growing its customer base to over 150 customers, Gravity closed a $30 million funding round led by Riverside Acceleration Capital in partnership with Creos Capital, AlbionVC and Ox. The company will deliver an “expanded” go-to-market strategy and an “aggressive” product roadmap in the coming months, raising the total to $42 million, Blundell told Technology Flow via email.

“APIs are the lifeblood of innovative companies. Whether delivering and consuming APIs internally to bring new products to market more quickly and efficiently, or monetizing user-facing APIs as a revenue stream, APIs are now the core building blocks of successful businesses,” Blundell said. “As more enterprises make synchronous and asynchronous API ecosystems the centerpiece of their business, technology teams need to embrace the coming API complexity without sacrificing security. That’s the problem Gravity solves.”

Blundell co-founded Gravity in 2014 with developers Aziz Elamrani, David Brasley, Nicolas Geraud and Titouan Compigne. Frustrated with the lack of innovation in the API tooling space, the group launched an open platform for API management, Gravity — the company’s name — which has garnered hundreds of thousands of downloads. Blundell and team later started offering paid services on top of Gravity to fund the development of the open source project.

The Gravity platform can be deployed on-premise, self-hosted, or used as part of Gravity’s software-as-a-service plan. Features in all releases include an “adaptive, risk-based” multifactor authentication system, which – as the name suggests – automatically tries to implement certain factors of authentication based on the perceived risk of API access requests. Gravity also ships with a drag-and-drop graphical tool for building APIs and deploying them prior to mock testing, as well as a dashboard where users can visualize parts of their API deployments to identify problematic usage.

“In terms of legacy vendors, Apigee — subsequently acquired by Google — is considered an early pioneer in the API management space, and we consider them to be in the ‘API 1.0’ category. Subsequently, new companies such as Kong, Tyke and WSO2 … are considered ‘API 2.0’ vendors,” Blundell said. “We now believe the industry is moving to ‘API 3.0’: authentication, security and composition on top of multiple protocols, including synchronous and asynchronous technologies and event-native architectures.”

Gravitee’s rivals include Blobr, which offers software to expose and monetize enterprise APIs; StepGen, developing graph technology to help connect and visualize various APIs; And well-funded startups like Postman, which raised $225 million last August. But Blundell argues that there is enough capital to go around.

It’s not entirely magical thinking — especially in light of expectations that APIs will become a top cybersecurity attack vector. Investors poured more than $2 billion into API companies in 2020, according to a source. Another report states that nearly 40% of large organizations use more than 250 APIs. At least one analysis predicts that the API management market will be worth $21.68 billion by 2028.

“We have a number of government contracts in Europe, with multiple French, Danish, Swedish and UK government departments actively using the platform,” Blundell said when asked about the platform’s rollout. (He would not discuss revenue figures, however.) “As turbulent as today’s macro environment is, this is an ideal time for Gravity to seize its position of strength, and it further demonstrates the confidence from our investors … we are committed to assuring. Gravity is the most feature-packed open source API solution on the market, yet delivers the robust scalability and features needed by the most demanding enterprise customers.

Gravity currently has 100 employees and plans to expand the headcount by 20% by the end of the year.

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