Most businesses use more than one piece of software. If they want to send data from one application to another, they could take time to write custom code, or they could use services designed for that purpose.
The thing is, multiple application-connecting services exist. MuleSoft, one of the more popular ones, wants to fend off competitors and keep adding customers. Today the company announced a new $50 million in funding, which should help it keep growing despite the competition from new and existing competition.
MuleSoft pushes software to let companies connect applications running in their own data centers, cloud-based software, and application programming interfaces (APIs) they create to make their data or services available to the external world. Such services could be especially compelling for large companies, which can’t take the time to fix every dependency whenever they add, remove, or otherwise change their setup.
It hasn’t been long — less than a year — since MuleSoft last announced funding. But the company wants badly to keep growing.
“There’s a tremendous amount of investment just going into growing the company right now,” Greg Schott, the company’s chief executive, told VentureBeat in an interview. “It’s really across the company — heavy investment in engineering, marketing, and the field organization.”
The company wants to expand around the world, especially in the Asia Pacific region, Schott said.
Perhaps the company needs another solid push before it feels good and ready to go public. Last April, Schott told VentureBeat that MuleSoft was seeking to go public within 12 to 18 months.
Then again, the company could stand to keep promoting newer products in its lineup. For example, last year it launched the AnyPoint API Manager to let companies set policies for APIs they create and keep tabs on performance.
That service isn’t a standalone hit. But customers see API management as just one part of a bigger system for controlling the flow of data.
“They … really value the whole back-end connectivity and all the integrations, because an API at the end of the day has to connect all those back-end systems, and that’s what the core of our product does,” Schott said.
Still, the API component of MuleSoft could pick up. API management startups have been taking on funding (like 3scale) or getting bought (like Mashery). And more and more companies and organizations are exposing their data and services through APIs. MuleSoft knows about that shift. Last year it bought ProgrammableWeb, a news outlet and registry for APIs.
Regardless of what happens to demand for MuleSoft’s API products, the company clearly has formidable competition to fend off. Legacy vendors like IBM and Tibco sell application-integration products. So does publicly traded Informatica. Newly private Dell has Boomi. And there are earlier-stage players, including SnapLogic and Zapier. The key is for MuleSoft to demonstrate how it can handle lots and lots of integration among applications while also beating old-school technologies on usability.
NEA, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Meritech Capital Partners led MuleSoft’s new funding round. Bay Partners, Cisco, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Morgenthaler Ventures, Salesforce.com, and SAP Ventures also participated.
San Francisco-based MuleSoft started in 2006. It has now taken on $131 million in funding. The company has more than 290 employees now, and by the end of the year it should have around 500, Schott said. MuleSoft has accrued 600 paying customers, up from 400 less than a year ago.