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Nylas, an application programming interface (API) platform that helps businesses and developers integrate key productivity features — such as email and calendar functionality — into their apps, has raised $120 million in a series C round of funding led by Tiger Global Management.
The raise comes amid a booming API economy, as organizations are using APIs to improve their efficiency by tapping into the wider digital ecosystem. Rather than consuming internal resources developing their own infrastructure from scratch, businesses can use purpose-built APIs created by third parties to bring login authentication to their finance apps, privacy to their data-hungry health care apps, or customer service support to their ecommerce apps.
Nylas offers APIs spanning email, calendar, contacts, and scheduling and includes integrations with all the major services from the likes of Microsoft, Google, AOL, Yahoo, and IMAP. So rather than having to develop multiple integrations for all these different services, a resource-intensive endeavor that requires ongoing maintenance and management, a CRM software maker (for example) can use Nylas’ email API to bypass all these hurdles and let sales teams send and receive emails from any provider directly through the CRM.
Among its client base is cloud communications juggernaut Dialpad, which uses Nylas to offer end users full create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) functionality spanning email, calendar, and contacts. This ensures all data is constantly synchronized in both directions between Dialpad and the service provider accounts (e.g. Google or Microsoft).
Automation for the people
In the past year, Nylas has launched a new neural API. This stems from its first acquisition last March, when it snapped up June.ai, an AI-enabled email client that automatically organizes a user’s inbox. As part of Nylas, the technology helps aggregate, analyze, and process vast swathes of data gleaned from emails, calendars, and contacts, taking unstructured data and transforming it into something more usable.
“The Nylas neural API takes unstructured data and uses intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to trigger automations that can save the average person one full day’s worth of work each week,” Nylas cofounder and CEO Gleb Polyakov told VentureBeat.
For example, “categorizer” distinguishes machine-to-human from human-to-human messages while also detecting bounced emails and automated out-of-office responses.
“Customers use this feature to automatically pause sales cadences based on detecting out-of-office emails and restart them based on the dates found in the email,” Polyakov explained. “Customers also use the categorizer API to trigger business-specific automations — for instance, ecommerce customers use a categorizer to detect a shipping confirmation-related email and send custom notifications to their customers.”
Elsewhere, the neural API can extrapolate key data found in email signatures to automatically update address books or even trigger workflows based on a job title change, while sentiment analytics helps users figure out whether an email was positive, negative, or neutral. Meanwhile, a “clean conversations” feature helps filter out “non-essential” content from messages to get to the nuts and bolts of a conversation.
“Emails are often polluted and hard to read through since they contain past responses, signatures, legal language, and so on,” Polyakov said “The clean conversations API makes it easy for developers to access the most important part of any email — the body — via a single API call.”
Nylas had previously raised around $55 million, almost half of which came via its series B round last June. Its latest investment included a host of notable old and new investors, including Slack (via Slack Fund), Stripe cofounders Patrick and John Collison, Nest founder Tony Fadell, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Citi Ventures, 8VC, Round13 Capital, and Owl Rock Capital.
With another $120 million in the bank, Nylas said it plans to continue investing in its product, including boosting security, components, and automation — such as AI and ML, sentiment analysis, natural language processing (NLP), and more.
“There’s a lot of work a developer has to do to build modern software — everything from integrating backend APIs, mining and filtering data, orchestrating workflows, and building rich front-end user experiences,” Polyakov said. “We’re developing products and services across all of these areas to help developers ship value faster to their end customers.”
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