[TechSparks2020] How to simplify product building? Postman does it by shipping API software at scale

With half-a-million customers and 11 million developers, Postman is one of the fastest-growing API development platforms in the world. Founder Abhinav Asthana speaks at TechSparks 2020, in a masterclass powered by Target Accelerator.

In June this year, Silicon Valley-headquartered Postman raised $150 million led by Insight Partners. With this fundraise, the startup announced to the world that software products built in India can solve industry problems.

Abhinav Asthana, Ankit Sobti, and Abhijit Kane, along with their 300-member team, have built an organisation that serves half-a-million customers and 11 million developers. This is no mean feat for a startup that is just six years old. While the world lauds its unicorn status, of $2 billion, its founders are obsessed about scaling the product with simplicity.

YourStory spoke to Abhinav Asthana, Co-founder of Postman, at its flagship event TechSparks 2020. Abhinav revealed that for a startup to market at scale, it needs to build engineering with APIs to ship the product.

"The idea of Postman was born out of our frustration as developers when we were building applications. The founders would work in a three-tier way where each of us would build different pieces of an application, and the APIs allowed us to keep track of our work and collaborate our pieces to form the final product," says Abhinav.

Postman, a simple Application Programming Interface (API) development platform, helps software engineering teams in an organisation to collaborate and build applications with ease. It allows them to test, design, and mock APIs, which allows interaction with multiple applications and defines how calls or requests should be made between applications or within the application.

Abhinav Ashtana, Co-founder, Postman speaks to YourStory's Business Editor Vishal Krishna about "building a product from India for the world to use at scale" at TechSparks 2020

How APIs make the job easier

Think of it as a car that is connected to multiple apps, and engineers building such a platform need to test APIs to ensure smooth functioning between various ecosystems. In the world of payments, UPI works best due to API calls and allows a plethora of partners to interact for the convenience of customers.

"Building a product at scale is to solve for simplicity for the customer. We built Postman after listening to our customers. In the early days, it started with the developer community using our platform. They spoke about us in forms and we were in various docs where engineers wanted API development to be made easy," says Abhinav.

If an organisation is working with APIs, it's engineers will be productive because of the workflows being organised and resulting in uncluttered software architecture.

"Product builders will be productive in an API world. The world of APIs is converging business and technology. Look at the Salesforce integration needed with distributed sales teams. Today, customer service, sales and marketing teams – all want API integrations to improve collaboration between teams," he adds.

Working with APIs

Abhinav also revealed insights from the recently released The State of the API report, released by Postman, which looks at developers and enterprise API readiness.

"The API industry continues to touch just about every job role – from developers to management to sales, and even to the C-suite. In fact, one in 10 people working with APIs today are in management roles—from the C-suite through to directors and managers," says Abhinav.

A product company needs to build a great team. Postman is a 300-member team that tests and operates in fast cycles. It trains engineers to solve problems in a month rather than expect outcomes in a year.

"India has great engineering talent, and it needs a right culture in an organisation to groom it in order to build world-class products," he quips.

Abhinav concludes by saying that the world is going to be driven by APIs as it goes digital at a faster pace.

"The pandemic has hastened digital adoption and every organisation that consumes APIs has to ensure that their internal applications work well. We believe knowledge workers need the right up-to-date data so that they can do their jobs efficiently. There will be a fundamental shift in every job role because of digital work. From marketing campaigns to business automation you need APIs to survive in the future," says Abhinav.

Today, Postman has employees in seven countries and are headquarters in the Bay Area and have a development centre in Bengaluru.

"Be as close as possible to customers if you are an entrepreneur and be ready for successive stages of growth by having many solutions for your ecosystem," Abhinav advises.

For more information on TechSparks 2020, check out our TechSparks 2020 website. Sign up here to join the event.

TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.  

Edited by Kanishk Singh