Photo: The new Rakuten RapidAPI team in Tokyo this week (Iddo Gino 5th from the right).
We are excited to announce today that RapidAPI is partnering with Rakuten to launch Rakuten RapidAPI – an API marketplace for the Japan & Asia region. Together with Rakuten, we are excited to bring our catalog of over 8,000 APIs to developers in Japan and around Asia.
Software has radically transformed every aspect of our lives. We don’t hail a taxi – we call a Lyft; we don’t send a letter, we send an email or chat message; we don’t open an encyclopedia – we Google and use Wikipedia.
While the proliferation of the internet, personal computers and smartphones have been the biggest drivers of this revolution, APIs have been the invisible catalyst, fueling this revolution in recent years.
Before APIs, building software was a long and expensive affair. Every component had to be built from scratch: leading to long development cycles and prohibitive costs. Imagine an app like Uber. Every feature had to be implemented from scratch. The maps required to locate drivers, SMS notifications for pick-up, credit card payment processing and email for sending invoices – all had to be built from the ground up. This severely limited who could build software.
APIs function as new fundamental building blocks – small pieces of functionality developers can mix and match to create software. By encapsulating basic functionality and providing it as-a-service to developers, APIs make software development faster, cheaper and more accessible.
We have launched RapidAPI with the goal of empowering developers to build software, by bringing them these building blocks. To date, we have managed to empower over 500,000 developers. Now, we are ready to impact more developers on a global scale.
After the Americas, Asia is the second largest developer ecosystem in the world, according to a Stack Overflow survey. It is home to over 7.8 million developers, spread across countries like Japan, Korea, Singapore, India and China. These developers are a huge driving force for innovation, and have been creating transformative software for years.
However, their ability to access global APIs is often hindered by practical challenges like language differences, billing options and support hours – with many API companies based in the US, and working in English.
As part of our mission to empower developers around the world, we want to help developers in Asia to more comfortably use global APIs. This is why we are partnering with Rakuten to launch Rakuten RapidAPI.
Partnering with Rakuten
When we started thinking about taking the RapidAPI marketplace global, we quickly understood we would need partners to help us navigate foreign waters. Cultural differences, language barriers and lack of market familiarity could all be detrimental to our efforts without the right partner.
When we first met the team at Rakuten, we quickly identified a company with similar values and goals to our own, who we can work together to create something great. The word Rakuten translates to optimism – and that core value was very appealing to us. Serving over 7 million developers in a new territory is an ambitious goal for us, and we sought out a partner that was not deterred by the challenge.
With the guidance of Yasufumi Hirai, Rakuten Inc. Group Executive Vice President, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten Communications, and the incredible work done by the API marketplace team led by Jed Ng, Head of Rakuten RapidAPI, we have managed to birth a new platform in a few short months.
We are excited to launch Rakuten RapidAPI today, and can’t wait to see what people build with it.
About Iddo Gino
Iddo is the Founder and CEO of RapidAPI. Part of Forbes 30 Under 30 list, he’s a 2017 Thiel Fellow. Previously, he was a Co-organizer of Hacking Gen Y. Iddo has been programming since he was a kid and continues to contribute to open-source projects. Originally from Haifa, Israel, Iddo is based in San Francisco, CA.