Abhinav Asthana, Co-Founder and CEO, Postman
Image: Hemant Mishra for Forbes India
OWhen we started, there was a lot of skepticism, and even prejudice, among people in India that you can’t build a global product from India,” said Abhinav Asthana, co-founder and CEO from Postman, in a recent interview with Forbes India. Customers in the United States, the world’s largest technology market, therefore had little incentive to take the idea of an Indian-made product company seriously.
Today, companies like Postman are at the forefront of a massive shift that is changing that perception, delivering world-class software products to customers around the world. In Postman’s case, the technology is about making it easier for businesses to use APIs, or Application Program Interfaces, software that allows disparate applications to communicate with each other.
This means, for example, in the financial services sector, that a 20-member fintech start-up with a great idea can partner with a multi-billion dollar bank and bring innovative products to end consumers. That’s what Asthana and its co-founders are enabling, industry after industry.
“What we’ve learned is that if we focus on the customer, on the end user, we can overcome any bias, wherever it comes from,” he says.
Postman started as a side project for Asthana. He was the technical founder of a start-up after finishing college in India and grappled with the complexities of connecting disparate software with each other. One of the first pieces of software Asthana put on the Chrome Web Store got a lot of attention from software developers and suggestions on what features could be added to it and how they could be extended.
This eventually turned the side project into his main interest, giving birth to Postman in 2014. An early decision that had a crucial bearing on the company’s future was convincing former colleagues Ankit Sobti and Abhijit Kane to quit. to their well-paying jobs and join Asthana. as co-founders. Investor backing came with startup venture capital (VC) firm Nexus Venture Partners.
In 2016, Postman had employees in the United States, and Asthana itself moved to San Francisco in 2017. In 2020, Postman raised $150 million in its Series C funding at a $2 billion valuation. In August 2021, the company announced its $225 million Series D funding, bringing its valuation to $5.6 billion.
New York-based private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners, an existing investor, led the round. Coatue, Battery Ventures and BOND joined existing investors CRV and Nexus Venture Partners. DoorDash product manager Gokul Rajaram and Freshworks founder Girish Mathrubootham also joined as individual investors. The company has now raised over $430 million in four rounds.
“Coatue was impressed with Postman’s ability to solve the challenges faced by developers around the world who need to build software faster than ever before,” said David Schneider, general partner at VC firm, in a statement. Press. “We also appreciated Postman’s work in providing management teams of all sizes with appropriate visibility into their API landscape and ensuring that increasingly lean teams can effectively manage APIs.” This part is important because there is a shortage of qualified developers.
At the time of the last funding, Postman claimed to have over 17 million users and 500,000 organizations on its platform, making it the largest API community in the world.
“APIs have quickly become fundamental building blocks of software used by developers in every industry, in every country around the world, and Postman has firmly established itself as the platform of choice for developers,” said Jeff Horing, Director CEO of Insight Partners. “Postman has the opportunity to become a key pillar in how companies build, deliver products and enable partnerships seamlessly across the ecosystem. Their continued and rapid expansion and strong management team portends a future for Postman with virtually limitless possibilities.
(L to R) Postman co-founders Ankit Sobti, Abhinav Asthana and Abhijit Kane
Postman has added more than 300 employees from 13 countries since the start of 2020, more than doubling its workforce, as well as adding thousands of new customers to a customer base that includes 98% of the world’s largest companies. In technology, customers include Salesforce, Stripe, Kroger, Cisco, PayPal and Microsoft.
The company said in August that its public API network is now the largest API hub in the world, with more than 75,000 APIs shared across the network.
“Everything we do is aimed at solving a customer’s problem. No amount of funding or effort will be helpful if there is a lack of understanding of an issue the client is facing,” says Asthana. “And if you don’t have that understanding, you won’t succeed as an entrepreneur.”
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(This story appears in the December 31, 2021 issue of Forbes India. To visit our archive, click here.)