French startup Blobr raised a $5.4 million funding round (€5 million) led by German VC firm 10x Founders a couple of months ago. The company calls itself the “Shopify for APIs,” which is a good way to sum up what it does: Companies that have an API and want to start selling API access to other companies can use Blobr to run their API store.
“If you have an API, you can easily connect it to Blobr in a few clicks,” co-founder Alexandre Airvault told me. “You can then define your products, define the consumption scenarios of the API. Once you’ve done that, you can build a business model on top of the API.”
In addition to 10x Founders, FJ Labs, another.vc and several business angels like Charles Songhurst, Thibaud Elziere, Quentin Nickmans, Amaury Sepulchre, Matthieu Vaxelaire and Chris Adelsbach also participated in the round. Existing investors New Wave and Seedcamp also put more money on the table.
From a technical point of view, Blobr is specifically designed for companies that have already developed their own API. It won’t help you release an API as Blobr is all about commercialization. But if you’re creating an API-first product, Blobr can help you generate revenue more quickly.
When you want to start using Blobr, you first have to upload the OpenAPI technical document that defines the structure of your REST API — for now, Blobr only targets REST APIs, which is still the most popular API format.
After that, Blobr acts as a proxy to access your API. Whenever someone makes a call to a Blobr-powered API, it will first reach Blobr’s servers and then be redirected to your own servers. The startup’s customers can then create DNS rules to make the transition to Blobr as transparent as possible.
Once this is done, Blobr helps you generate a branded developer portal with different tiers and price points. Developers who want to use an API can then explore the documentation, select the product that they want, enter their payment information and start implementing the API. Blobr handles usage, billing, API updates alerts and more. The startup also automatically generates invoices and can send consumption alerts to track usage over time.
Unlike Rapid API, Blobr doesn’t want to become the Amazon of APIs. It doesn’t have a central hub where it lists all available APIs. Instead, Blobr’s client handles the relationship with their own clients.
Overall, Blobr now has 200 clients. So far, nobody has “grown out” of Blobr as there has been no lost customer. And as Blobr’s customers grow, Blobr’s recurring revenue also grows in parallel because there’s a percentage fee on Blobr transactions. But everybody gets more money.