I spoke with Jed Ng, the Founder and Business Head of Rakuten RapidAPI. Jed has had a very interesting career. He has built a philosophy and methodology for effecting corporate entrepreneurship. This essentially means figuring out how to build and grow a significant new business line inside a well-resourced organization. This not just zero to one stuff. It requires a very interesting set of skills. There are internal politics involved, storytelling to senior executives and Jed points out that selling to internal management can be very different than selling to external investors. He had some very interesting insights on this topic.
The meat of our conversation was on the development of the API ecosystem and the marketplace that is getting built around it. Jed went back and discussed the founding of Twilio and added SendGrid and Stripe as other relevant data points. Based on the cumulative valuation of these companies alone, one can make the case that the API ecosystem is huge. Jed noted that a company called ProgrammableWeb had already created a phone book for APIs.
The idea behind creating an API marketplace was multilayered. Through our discussion, Jed established that APIs are valuable but that mere aggregation was not good enough. Jed posits that potential purchasers of APIs need a place to test the services prior to buying and a central place to manage all of the associated admin.
Listen to this entire episode to get a much better understanding of what is happening in the API market space.