MuleSoft, the Cloud’s Super Middleman, Lands $37 Million From NEA
A company called MuleSoft specializes in helping companies do exactly that. It started out as an on-premise platform, but has since shifted to one based in the cloud. A textbook case: Getting data from one cloud-based application — say, Salesforce.com — working with another — say, Workday. You might want information about your sales team’s performance integrated with your human-resources information so you can keep track of who’s performing well and who isn’t.
Typically, you’d do that yourself, taking advantage of APIs provided by both companies. You’d assign a team of developers to create a custom process and workflow. It would take more time than you’d want it to, and would probably cost more than you’d like.
“All those problems about integrating data become exponentially greater in the cloud,” mainly because there are more applications and there’s also just more data, said MuleSoft CEO Greg Schott. There are, he said, something like 2,100 different companies offering software-as-a-service applications, plus a whole bunch of older legacy on-premise enterprise software products. And every company has its own mix-and-match combination.
The good news is that most, if not all, of these applications have their APIs, meaning that, in theory, a programmer can take advantage of them. And that’s where MuleSoft steps in. One API doesn’t natively talk to another API. At a high level, MuleSoft sits as the middleman between them all. It has a repository of 13,000 or more APIs, and has an SaaS platform that connects them all together. The time required to integrate data in two or more applications is cut from weeks or months to hours or days.
The problem isn’t getting smaller. The number of open APIs available is multiplying, and in a few more years will reach into the hundreds of thousands.
Founded in 2003, its timing couldn’t have been better. Companies like Salesforce, NetSuite, Workday, SuccessFactors and others all sought to shift important business applications out of the office and into the cloud. And now running things in the cloud is more often than not preferred, because in the long run it’s cheaper — cloud companies tend to charge on a subscription basis — and easier.
So MuleSoft has been on fire. Its customers run the gamut from banks to automakers to media companies: Barclays, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo are all customers, as are BMW and Tesla. Facebook and Box and Intuit are customers, too. More than 150,000 developers at more than 3,200 companies are using MuleSoft’s platform.
Today, the company announced that it has raised $37 million in a Series E round of venture capital funding, led by NEA. Salesforce.com is also investing in this round. Prior investors participating include Hummer Winblad, Morgenthaler Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAP Ventures (the venture capital arm of software giant SAP) and Bay Partners. The round brings MuleSoft’s total capital raised to $81 million. An IPO is probably not far off.
Here’s one reason for Salesforce’s interest: One of MuleSoft’s newer products is an app called Dataloader.io, that is available on the Salesforce App Exchange. It’s designed to move data from pretty much any application into Salesforce.com. Within weeks, it shot to No. 1 on the App Exchange, and remains the most popular app there today, Schott told me.
Another new product was announced today. It’s called Anypoint, and it’s described as the only complete integration platform to cover applications across the entire spectrum of cloud or on-premise, and to get the data in them working together.