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Kong today announced that it has closed a $43 million round of venture capital to extend the reach of its API automation service.

The San Francisco-based startup is riding the wave of microservices as companies rethink the way they develop applications for cloud-based computing. Kong says adoption of its platform accelerated in 2018 to reach more than 75 million downloads of its open source API platform and deals with 110 enterprise customers.

“We’re building the nervous system of the cloud,” said Kong CEO and cofounder Augusto Marietti. “Our platform makes it easier to move data in and out the cloud by connecting all of these applications.”

Cloud-based computing calls for breaking out separate features, or “microservices,” and placing them in containers that have all the necessary pieces for an application to run in one package. The development philosophy holds that breaking applications into smaller, self-contained units can significantly reduce costs and the time needed to write, deploy, and manage each one.

Ideally, this allows the application to be moved across different platforms and operating systems without having to be rewritten, and it has the added benefit of making the overall system more stable. IDC projects that 90 percent of all new applications will use microservices architecture by 2022.

It’s a dramatic shift, and Kong seems to be in the right place at the right time. Its Kong Service Control Platform connects various APIs and microservices across cloud-based computing environments and then uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate their management.

The company was actually born from another startup, Mashape, which was founded in 2009. Mashape created an API marketplace and then a few years ago developed the Kong product as part of its service. However, Marietti said Kong quickly took off, and the company sold off its API marketplace to focus on Kong, eventually changing its name.

The company raised $18 million in venture capital two years ago. This latest round was led by Index Ventures, with participation from previous investors Andreessen Horowitz and Charles Rivers Ventures, plus new investors GGV Capital and World Innovation Lab.

Kong will use the money to continue product development, as well as expanding its international marketing and sales in Asia and Europe.


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