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RapidAPI, an online marketplace that lets developers discover and manage application programming interfaces (APIs), has acquired Estonian startup Paw, creators of a Mac app for designing and testing web APIs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition comes amid a flourishing API economy, largely driven over the past decade by the gradual shift from monolithic on-premises software to the cloud and modular, microservices-based application architectures. Using APIs allows companies to focus on their core product utility, bypassing the significant time and resources required to build every single element of their application internally. Uber could likely develop the infrastructure required to support in-app messaging between drivers and riders, but why bother when it can use MessageBird’s dedicated APIs instead? Additionally, as more companies become software-first businesses, a trend accelerated by the pandemic, the need for software developers will only grow. But not all developers have the skills required to develop the deep, critical functionality modern software requires, which is where APIs come into play.

Founded in 2014, RapidAPI helps developers find, test, and connect to thousands of public APIs, covering everything from file storage and message sending to data enrichment and sports results. The company, which counts Microsoft’s M12 VC arm as a backer, raised $25 million in the midst of the pandemic last year. At the time, it said it had seen a “significant developer response” to COVID-19, with users turning to RapidAPI to integrate myriad coronavirus-driven APIs into their own applications, covering statistics, data sets, news, and more.

Paw, which was founded out of Tallinn, Estonia in 2014, has so far offered a Mac-only API client, which developers use to expedite the API design and test process through a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI), with support for any type of web API and baked-in tools for developer collaboration.

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Above: Paw: An API client for Mac

In tandem with today’s acquisition announcement, Paw is expanding its API client support to include Windows, Linux, and the web, significantly broadening usability across the spectrum. This also means developers will be able to collaborate across platforms, regardless of whether they use Macs or not.

Above: Paw: in-app collaboration

For RapidAPI, the benefits of taking Paw on board are clear: It provides a more extensive reach into the API sphere, stretching across “the entire API development lifecycle,” spanning the build, test, and management aspects.

Moving forward, RapidAPI will offer Paw as part of a marketplace subscription or as an add-on to its enterprise hub, which is a white label version companies can use to create private marketplaces for internal or external API subscriptions.

“As part of our platform, users will be able to design, test, publish, manage, and consume APIs across multiple clouds and multiple API gateways,” the company told VentureBeat. “Other vendors in the space are not focused on building out the developer experience. Rather, they are more focused on locking the development team into a particular infrastructure, platform, or cloud. We are all about an open platform for developers.”

The rise of the API

While APIs have served as critical components of the software world for decades, there has been a marked rise in activity in recent years, with Salesforce snapping up Mulesoft for $6.5 billion and Google shelling out $625 million for Apigee. In the past year, major API players such as MessageBird, Postman, and Kong have raised large sums of cash at billion-dollar valuations.

Amid all this activity, there has also been significant consolidation through acquisitions. In December, for example, MessageBird bought Pusher to bring more real-time communication APIs to businesses, while last month Idera acquired Apilayer, a startup that provides cloud-based APIs to big names such as Amazon, Apple, Slack, Uber, Facebook, Airbnb, and Zendesk.

RapidAPI’s Paw acquisition fits neatly into that broader trend. “Investments are starting to heat up as factors such as the pandemic have ignited digital transformation efforts, and companies are turning to APIs to build digital services and business models at a more rapid rate,” the company said.

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