- On Thursday, startup Transposit announced that it’s closed $12.2 million in Series A funding.
- Transposit CTO and co-founder Tina Huang previously worked with API integrations at Twitter and Apple, which inspired her to start Transposit.
- With Transposit, Huang hopes to focus on developers and the developer community, as it helps make it easier for them to build apps that integrate with other services.
Transposit CTO and co-founder Tina Huang — formerly of Twitter, Google, and Apple, calls developer tools her "first love."
So she and co-founder and CEO Adam Leventhal decided to take that idea and turn it into Transposit, a startup to make it easier for developers to manage the integrations between multiple apps.
And Thursday is a big day for Transposit: Not only did it launch a public beta test for developers to get their hands on, it it raised $12.2 million in a series A funding led by Sutter Hill Ventures, with participation from SignalFire and Unusual Ventures.
Transposit makes it easy for developers to manage and weave together application programming interfaces, better known as APIs, which allows different software and services to "talk" to each other. For instance, when you use Facebook to log in to Spotify, you’re using the Facebook Login API to pass information from one to the other.
For developers, Transposit offers a way to manage all of those different APIs, and work them into their own apps. Users can also publish APIs on Transposit that can be shared and reused by other developers.
"For me, Transposit was built out of a natural desire to build applications faster," Huang told Business Insider. "We all know API’s are super powerful. As a developer, API’s are often very cumbersome to use."
From building API’s to building an API company
Huang herself has a long career working with API integrations, at both Apple and Twitter.
"I feel like my work at Apple, in a way I would not have expected, has a massive impact on how I think about products," Huang said. "They would do user research to figure out the right interface in order to make it easy and delightful for developers to build things."
After Huang left Apple, she spent nine months studying cultural anthropology. At the time, she started to feel that it was isolating to write code all day, and so she wanted a change in pace.
Huang returned to the tech world when she joined Google. There, she spent some time conducting user research, and realized she enjoyed it.
"Over time, because I’ve always had an interest in user research, product and engineering, I knew the only way I could satisfy these interests of mine was be in a startup," Huang said. "Ultimately, you’re wearing one hat as an engineer. You can’t do a little bit of all of it."
Huang met Levanthal, who is known for creating the troubleshooting tool DTrace, during their times as entrepreneurs-in residence at Sutter Hill Ventures. They started working together in 2016, and came up with Transposit as the way they wanted to focus on developers and developer communities.
"First and foremost, we saw eye to eye on how we saw the world and how we wanted to build a company," Huang said. "We said, if we can find a technology we’re both really excited about, let’s start a company together."
Building relationships with investors
Huang says that Transposit faced a challenge in explaining what problem, exactly, it solves to non-technical investors.
And so, Transposit focused on more technical investor firms. For example, Sam Pullara at Sutter Hill Ventures, one of Transposit’s investors and board members, had previously worked with Huang at Twitter as an engineer. Pullara immediately recognized the potential for helping developers manage those cumbersome APIs.
"Transposit is a horizontal platform that does that work for you," Pullara told Business Insider. "What made me interested in investing or incubating the company is this is mapping a problem across all enterprises."
Stephen Trusheim, principal and head of operations at SignalFire, even took the initiative to contact Huang because he was interested in using Transposit to build the firm’s own internal tools. When it was time for Transposit to raise a series A round of funding, Huang reached back out to SignalFire.
"I think all startup founders have moments of insecurity, but I think pretty early on, after a few months, after Adam and I decided this was the direction we wanted to go, we realized there’s a there there," Huang said. "I feel like entrepreneurs, you have to just turn that part of your brain off. We’re just going to take it day by day what we need to do."
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