I’ve always believed that improving tooling and basic infrastructure is an incredibly valuable way to spend time. Some of the companies I admire most – GitHub, Stripe and Twilio – are founded on these principles. By improving basic building blocks, you can enable a whole new generation of companies to innovate.

To take one example, combine three APIs - Google Maps, Twilio and Braintree - and you enable a company like Uber. Clearly there’s a lot more to Uber but I think it’s safe to say they would have struggled building out all three APIs at the same time as bootstrapping a driver marketplace. Infrastructure is crucial for innovation.

Which brings me neatly onto what I’ve been working on for the last year - Clearbit. For most businesses getting quality and accurate data is incredibly painful. Often it means relying on APIs designed before the modern web was even conceived, or scraping together data sources manually. The entrenched companies in this area, like, are still operating on decade old principles. It’s a mess ripe for competition.

Clearbit’s aim is to be the data backbone for modern businesses, powering everything from lead scoring to identity verification. We deeply understand APIs, and we’ll always be an API first company.

Currently we serve three APIs: the Person, Company and Watchlist APIs for looking up public person and company data, as well as performing OFAC checks. We already have hundreds of customers using these APIs, mostly for scoring incoming sales leads, but also for an eclectic number of other use-cases that we would have never thought of (checkout Svbtle’s signup form for example). We’re busy working on more APIs and will ultimately serve a whole suite of them that address most of the common data needs businesses have.

Why isn’t there more competition in this area? Because it’s an unsexy business. Designing APIs is hard. Versioning APIs is even harder. However, we love it and if that’s something that floats your boat too, then please consider applying to join our awesome little team.


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Chrome’s requestAutocomplete()

Another Google I/O, and another raft of awesome products. One announced API that I’m particularly excited about is requestAutocomplete(), a feature which is landing in Chrome Canary for Windows and Mobile (with OSX support coming... Continue →