Postman co-founders, Abhinav Asthana and Ankit Sobti, met while working at Yahoo. The two were building a front-end architecture of an app and that’s when they had to work with APIs. They realised that tools to support API development were missing and sat down to write codes in order to solve the issue and posted it on the Chrome Webstore – and that’s when things took off.
API (application programming interface) is code that enables one software to talk to another. When you use a video streaming app, for example, several APIs are activated. One API would enable the search for a video while another renders it possible to play the video on-screen – in a designated sequence. The APIs may also involve a third API that could curate a playlist basis your previously watched and liked videos.
The issue Abinav and Ankit were facing was keeping track of API updates – for example, one added feature on one API, required an update on all other related APIs as well.
The code Abhinav and Ankit wrote to ease the pains of API development soon went from an idea to a full-fledged business and an API management company with clients including Netflix, Cisco, Microsoft, Sony and Paypal.
Founded in Bangalore, Postman is described as the complete toolchain for API developers. It is an elegant, flexible tool used to build connected software via APIs—quickly, easily and accurately.
At the seed round, Postman received $1 million funding from Nexus Venture Partners who also invested another $7 million in the Series A round for the startup. “We have had a lot of inbound interest ever since we started as a company but we felt Nexus was the best partner for us,” says Abhinav.
While the coding and everything else seemed to run well, building a great product is one thing and building a company to sell said product is another thing entirely. Each entrepreneur will have his or her own share of challenges. Abhijitt Kane, Product Architect and co-founder says, “Once you hit revenue, there is no way you can survive as a product without the leadership team being good.”
In what may come as a breather to younger startup founders, Ankit says the Postman leadership team has gotten to some level of mental clarity on the work that they “need to do” only now – about three and half years after starting the company. He adds, “One of the first challenges was that we were dealing with a very large userbase. The second thing is just the overwhelming amount of information that you have to juggle in your head, at all times.”
Having said that, entrepreneurship is something the three would propagate to anybody who wants to try it out. Abhijit says, “You owe it yourself, even if it ends up not working out, you’ll get plenty of opportunities later on.” One of the greatest learnings for Ankit has been to write down his thoughts, its probably why he advises anyone involved in entrepreneurship to take defined pauses. He suggests, “Look back and see whether this is the right thing to do, rather than being caught up in doing so much and keep moving forward without reflecting back at any point in time.”