Sara Reiner | Contributor
February 26, 2013

CrunchBase API to Become a Full-Fledged Product


APIs are so vital for business companies like TechCrunch are beginning to treat them as products in their own right. This approach allows such companies to maximize platform reach, profits and partnerships.

With these benefits in mind, TechCrunch is expanding its CrunchBase API, which already serves almost two million unique visitors per month and has helped create 105,000 companies in six years. The open API supplies third-party developers with statistics about technology companies.

Included in this expansion, CrunchBase is building a blog to showcase some of the API’s 90,000 programmers via the Developer Spotlight Program. SiSense, for example, recently blogged about how it uses CrunchBase to analyze investment data.

TechCrunch is also hiring developers and UI designers to tackle the increased traffic its growth strategy may generate.

As CrunchBase evolves, it will also rely on Mashery’s API management tools to smooth its transition from platform to product.

CrunchBase first partnered with Mashery in August 2012 to help cultivate developer relationships, provide improved documentation and support, and scale to fit demand. Three weeks after the partnership, CrunchBase began to see 100,000 API calls per hour and has continued to grow ever since.

Now that CrunchBase is embracing an identity as a full-fledged product, Mashery’s API Packager can help its business development and IT departments streamline the platform as much as possible.

Mashery’s API Packager is an ideal tool for the job since it allows companies to customize their platforms and negotiate developer contracts without adding extra code.

"When engineers are relieved of coding partner and internal API integrations, enterprises can more quickly turn partnership deals into partnership implementations," said Chris Lippi, VP of Product and Services for Mashery. "Mashery API Packager delivers this efficiency without reducing IT control. For a product team, it's API nirvana -- launch immediately, without additional engineering investment."

API Packager has already helped development teams in Klout and Expedia morph their platforms into product lines.

Klout uses the Packager to enable its 3,500 enterprise partnerships, including those with Capitol One, Reuters and the Huffington Post.

"Mashery API Packager helps Klout put influence everywhere by productizing our API into different services for more diverse audiences," said Klout Developer Evangelist Tyler Singletary.

In Expedia’s case, its Affiliate Network (EAN) relies on the API Packager to attract over 10,000 business partners like Room 77 and GogoBot. Startups and enterprises like these have made significant contributions to the company’s nearly $2 billion in API-driven revenue to date.

By marketing APIs as products, Expedia and Klout have boosted revenue, forged partnerships and increased brand appeal. If their experience is any indication, CrunchBase will drive similar growth once it expands.

And speaking of expansion, ProgrammableWeb now lists almost 9,000 APIs in its online directory, with nearly a dozen added each day. As APIs continue to rise in popularity, even more companies will likely follow TechCrunch’s lead in branding their platforms as products.