Superface, which builds the successor to APIs, has raised pre-seed investment from the German fund 42CAP, the Czech fund Tensor Ventures, and the development studio Applifting. The investment exceeds $1.5 million. Founded at the end of 2019, the startup brings a revolutionary low-code solution to replace months of tedious work with autonomous integration and, subsequently, connect businesses within a fraction of a second. Supported by the investors, who were enthralled by the startup's long-term vision to build a digital service marketplace for AI, Superface aims to finalize the product and expand its team's ranks during the first phase. Superface aims to start closed beta-testing in the first quarter of 2021.
It's 2020, APIs are the foundation of the Internet, and the world of integrations is still extremely complicated. We can compare the situation to the era of telephone exchanges when operators would connect calls manually, and there were bundles of wires hanging on posts. Today, every application includes fifteen integrations on average, making APIs the digital backbone of every business. Our goal is to automate the API integration process --- a path pioneered by one developer won't need to be walked again by crowds of others. It'll be possible to do this routine work in a fraction of a second thanks to our revolutionary approach, using three lines of code, says Radek Novotný, Superface's co-founder and CEO.
Superface's long-term objective is an autonomous marketplace for AI. In the first phase, the startup builds a (super)interface that radically simplifies API integrations, reducing the API integration costs up to 99.9%.
In the past, we did the business in person; now we have moved on the web. However, there is still a massive gap in cooperation between business and technology. In the future, all businesses will be digitally connected, enabling people and artificial intelligence to purchase any service, product, or information instantly. Although this may appear like sci-fi, we're taking the critical first step right now. Superface is changing the way businesses connect within the digital world using APIs. We're creating a layer on top APIs that helps automate everything — the API will become a technical detail of the past. Our vision is to create a digital marketplace for AI that autonomously chooses a service, connects it, and in case of a failure, automatically replaces it with another suitable provider, adds Zdenek Nemec, Superface's founder and CTO.
42CAP, Tensor Ventures, and Applifting: top-tier technology investors with entrepreneurial roots
Due to COVID restrictions, all fund-raising negotiations were carried out online and at lightning speed. The lead investor, the German fund 42CAP, already has deep expertise with this type of technology. It has several seasoned experts on the roster, including Thomas Wilke, who cofounded eCircle, one of Europe's biggest SaaS startups, and successfully exited it to the Teradata Corporation. At €50 million, the fund successfully exited the startup Shine, which offers a banking-as-a-service platform for freelancers and small firms. Tensor Ventures' portfolio features Freshlabels, the blockchain company Tatum, and Aireen, a startup specializing in diagnosing lifestyle diseases using machine vision.
As an investor, you seek solutions that are truly seductive in addressing a huge and staggering problem with breathtaking simplicity. The Superface team has not only created a true trailblazer for the API market. They deliver a compelling vision for the fundamental core of applications in the AI era. Zdenek and Radek combine a down-to-earth, straightforward approach with an ambitious vision for making it work on a large scale, says Thomas Wilke, General Partner at 42CAP.
The final investor is the leading development studio Applifting, which creates custom software for both Czech and foreign companies, and is among the fastest-growing companies in the EU, according to Deloitte. Applifting also helped found Superface, providing them with their development know-how from the start.
We've been helping Superface tune up their product from the very beginning so that it was as attractive for developers as possible. We have created hybrid teams together, and we're in charge of developing open-source components. I believe that this multi-field cooperation will help Superface reach their ambitious goal much faster, says Vratislav Kalenda, Applifting's CEO.
The world of API integrations in numbers
With accelerating digitalization, the API market is going through an extraordinary boom --- according to McKenzie, it will generate as much as $2 trillion within the next ten years.
The integration cost of an average application with fifteen integrations can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. That can make up as much as 50 percent of the overall costs. High integration times and costs are why companies remain tied to providers and can't be flexible in changing digital services according to their needs. We're trying to break these lock-ins by reducing the integration cost to a fraction of the original amount, says Zdenek Nemec.
A development team can spend several weeks integrating one API. That includes steps such as searching for the right API, contracting its provider, studying the documentation, developing the integration itself, testing and deploying, as well as never-ending maintenance. Often, the team needs to repeat every step to connect another service provider --- whether it be because of backup or a better price. Regardless of the costs, APIs have become the cornerstone of digital business.
What is API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It enables the mutual connection of applications so they can share data. Today, the average application has about fifteen integrations: from basic ones such as an SMS gateway to the more complex ones like machine vision. The costs of one integration may reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The estimated overall costs of developing and integrating APIs were $300 billion in 2019.
More about us
Based in Prague, Superface builds the successor to APIs to completely remodel digital business making and make every business capability available to AI. The revolutionary low- code approach makes it possible to replace weeks of tedious work with autonomous integration and, subsequently, connect businesses within a fraction of a second. The grand vision is to build a marketplace with fully autonomous discovery and purchase of any digital services. The marketplace will allow AI to find and contract a suitable provider without human intervention or maintenance. Superface's idea has attracted leading technology investors from Germany and Czechia, which will allow the company to hire the best technology experts and continue developing at a stunning pace. Closed beta-testing for the community is planned for the first quarter of 2021.
More about 42CAP
The 42CAP investors Alex Meyer and Thomas Wilke invest in seed-stage companies with global ambitions. With eCircle, they previously built one of Europe's largest SaaS startups and sold the profitable company to Teradata (NYSE: TDC) in 2012. The 42CAP credo Peers amongst Entrepreneurs is reflected in their investment approach, with which they support data and technology-driven business models, product-focused founders, and sustainable venture development. This background is appreciated by founders like Ben Askew-Renaut (Packlink, Madrid), Gregor Stühler (Scoutbee, Berlin), and Alex Igelsböck (Adverity, Vienna).