Oracle acquiring Apiary, API design for the $660m (in 2020) API market

As for Oracle, the enterprise software vendor wants to use Apiary’s technology set to make its existing API Integration Cloud more robust. Oracle’s API product focuses primarily on services that help companies monetize and analyze APIs. Apiary provides more of a front-end platform for designing, creating and governing APIs. From Natalie Gagliordi f at ZDnet

From CrunchBase:

  • $8.55M in funding, over three rounds
  • Founded April, 2011.

Apigee was acquired, by Google, last year for $625m. Of course, they were public with (let’s hazard a guess) many, many more customers and revenue: $92.03m in FY2016, to be exact.

Back in September 2015, Carl Lehmann at 451 Research said they had 33 employees (up from 22 in Dec 2014) and estimated their revenue at $2-3m. Carl says, now, it’s “likely below $5m in annual revenue.”

What Apiary does

Apiary’s promise is to be quick and easy when it comes to managing the full life-cycle of API design. As their CEO, Jakub Nesetril, put it when I interviewed him in 2015:

It all starts with that first meeting when you’re thinking about building an API and you’re either kind of, you know, you’re inside meeting room ideating on a white board and then taking a photo of it and sending it to a co-worker, or summarizing it down into an email and sending it down to somebody else, saying hey, I just thought would could build something like this. That white board should be. And, if you do that it becomes, you know, we do a lot to try to make it super simple. We have a language that is like really, really simple for developers to write and we can write down a quick API in five minutes. It’s marked down, it’s like very organic, it’s very simple for developers.

What it creates for you, is creates this kind of common space, common language kind of when you talk about it that’s machine readable, human writable so it’s super simple but it’s also machine writable, and machine readable. The important aspect of it is that we take your white board, we take your … we build a language that we have API blue prints. It’s a… We take that API blueprint and we immediately create a API prototype, the moment you hit your first button. So, from day one when you’ve proposed your first API idea, your first resource you know, your first data structure. You have an API that’s sitting out there on the internet, somebody can query it and guess what, if they decide that the API is broken, that they would like to have a different resource, they would like to change the of a certain data structure, they would like add to it, whatever. They can go in, edit that out, click the save button and boom the API prototype is updated immediately.

Load in some enterprise governance and access controls, and you have something nice and useful. See him explaining more in this 2013 InfoQ interview.

Carl at 451 summarized the meat of what they do back in that 2015 report:

Apiary structures its API lifecycle management platform into five phases. The design phase includes the means to ensure API design consistency using a style guide, a collaborative editor and an approval process. The prototype phase includes productivity capabilities such as auto-generated code and a feedback loop for quality assurance. The implementation phase enables agile-inspired and test-driven development practices, helps deploy server code, and provides for framework integration. The delivery phase includes tools for automated documentation, offers code samples, guides the release of final client code, and offers SDKs. The feedback phase includes debugging, support and usage metrics.

The Money – grabbing part of the $3bn pie

Forrester threw out some API management market-sizing back in June of 2015 (there’s likely something more up-to-date behind their paywall):

We predict US companies alone will spend nearly $3 billion on API management over the next five years. Annual spend will quadruple by the end of the decade, from $140 million in 2014 to $660 million in 2020. International sales will take the global market over the billion dollar mark.

With Oracle’s foot-print in all of enterprise applications and IT (they own Java and share much of the JEE market with IBM), there’s likely some genuine synergies to be had. That is, Oracle could be in a position to boost Apiary sales way above what the tiny company could do on its own.

To be clear, as pointed out above, Apiary doesn’t do all that Apigee does. Apiary is just for the development/design time part of APIs, also providing documentation.

That’s helpful for sure, but I’d guess most of Forrester’s $3bn estimation is likely in actually running and managing APIs. And, in fact, it’s probably more realistic to put Apiary in the development tools/ALM TAM, which is probably in the low, single digit billions. That said, I’m guessing Forrester would put Apiary in their API management bucket; after all, it has “API” in it!

As more background, we talked about the API management market back back when the Apigee acquisition was announced both on Software Defined Talk and Pivotal Conversations.