- The API economy is thriving because the companies globally have embraced the digital transformation.
- Sendbird plans to connect the consumer and the company through the apps for easy interaction.
Sendbird is a platform that enables businesses to add messaging voice and video chat functionality to their applications. The raise has come when the API economy is thriving as businesses across the spectrum have embraced digital transformation. This includes an extension of online customer service channels or expansion into video-based telehealth.
The API economy showed an upward trajectory before the Global pandemic showed up. It was driven in part by a gradual shift from monolithic on-premises software to cloud and microservice-based applications. Smaller function-based components are easy to develop and maintain where individual teams take responsibility for a single service. This is where API plays a significant role to bring them together.
Expectations from the consumers:
Moreover, the consumers and end-users expect to engage with companies directly through mobile apps. But a company that offers an app-based food delivery service doesn’t want to consume resources to build its communication infrastructure. They don’t want to enable a chat facility between the user and the food delivery associate. It becomes easier if they can use platforms that were developed with customizations for that purpose. This is where Sendbird comes into play.
Statement from John S. Kim, Co-founder, and CEO at Sendbird:
“Even before Covid, there has been a shift to more and more of the tasks we accomplish in our lives occurring within mobile apps — online purchases, entertainment, food delivery, and lots of others,” says Sendbird co-founder and CEO John S. Kim. “Brands are increasingly choosing in-app chat over SMS as the way of connecting with users and connecting users with each other within the mobile and sometimes Web experience. These interactions facilitate purchases, provide support, and build loyalty. This is what’s been driving Sendbird’s growth for the last five years and continues to do so as the shift from offline to online continues.”
There is a lot of activity going on in the API sphere: Messagebird acquired Pusher for expansion of its real-time communication API. Idera acquired Apilayer which is a startup that offers cloud-based API to tech giants like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook; RapidAPI acquired Paw to help developers develop, test and manage API. In the funding sphere companies including Messagebird, Postman and Kong have managed to raise huge amounts of money at multi-billion dollar valuations over last year.
History of Sendbird:
Send Bird was found in 2013 out of Korea and largely focused on providing chat and messaging services to developers. But last year in March, it expanded to introduce real-time voice and video calling as well. Businesses can choose from a huge range of freely available tools to connect with clients or customers. But these tools don’t provide adequate control over the experience. This is the reason why many users prefer to develop customized solutions in-house.
“Smaller companies typically rely on free services like Zoom or WhatsApp to connect with their customers,” Kim said. “But brands who want to control the branding and user experience, get the benefits of the data and analytics, and integrate conversations into a core workflow — such as connecting a seller with a buyer who has questions — those businesses are going to invest in a great mobile experience and that experience is going to need a chat, voice, and video interactions as a core piece.”
A regular customer at Sendbird is a mobile-first digital company instead of traditional enterprise clients like banks or insurance companies. For instance, it counts mobile wallets as customers such as the Indian super app called Paytm. Sendbird also has traditional enterprise clients that include Korea Telecom and ServiceNow. “We do have traditional industries that did not start cloud-first or mobile-first as our customers, but going after those companies proactively is not a focus for us,” Kim said.
Before this moment, Y Combinator alum Sendbird raised about dollar 121 million in funding. A bulk of this funding arrived from the Series B round of funding closed in 2019. The company’s latest cash injection was spearheaded by Steadfast Capital Ventures. Other participation included Emergence Capital, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, World Innovation Lab, Iconiq Growth, Tiger Global Management, and Meritech Capital. According to the company, it will use the funds to aggressively accelerate its research and development efforts. It will also hire across key hubs in San Mateo CA, New York, London, Munich, Singapore, Bengaluru, and Seoul.