B2B Advancement Powers B2C Innovation
Viral growth, rapid deployment, and fast product iteration are realities we have come to expect in the technology ecosystem, especially in the consumer internet sector. Successful consumer applications are lauded for their word of mouth adoption and the media frenzy that often follows. However, if you peel back the user interface layer, there is a vast world of B2B advancement that is crucial for the scale of B2C applications.
This summer, on July 6th 2016 – we saw yet another awesome example of this symbiotic relationship. Pokemon Go was released in the app store to much fanfare, and quickly topped app download charts all around the world. It also contributed to the highest one-day surge since 1983 for partner company Nintendo – adding $7.5B to the firm’s market value. At its peak, it was downloaded 25M times a day, and still sees hundreds of thousands of weekly downloads. The growth was so incredible that on July 11th 2016, the average iPhone user spent more time in this app than any other social app in the world: over 33 minutes a day.
While extraordinary at every level, we take this kind of growth for granted: build a great game and the users will come. Right?
In order to build an application or platform that allows tens of millions of users to engage with it at one time would have been impossible ten years ago. Even if you had infinite capital – you would not have the time to ramp up your engineering team or servers to deal with such a spike in downloads and usage. Imagine provisioning servers for this kind of global scale and growth. Imagine how many engineers you would need to monitor and support global mobile usage on a daily basis. The task would be incredibly daunting and near impossible.
Instead, the growth of cloud hosting businesses like AWS and Google Cloud have given young startups the ability to capitalize on their own creativity while depending on B2B players for scale and infrastructure flexibility. This surfaces an interesting pattern: advancements in B2B infrastructure help power B2C innovation, which in turn drives up the demand for B2B services – a strong virtuous cycle.
The cycle also brings closer two worlds that live in different silos today: enterprise and customer. Another great example is a consumer app you are all familiar with: Uber. Uber utilizes a number of crucial APIs that help it offer a great customer experience so it can focus on the, debatably more difficult operational side. We’ve included just 7 of the main APIs Uber uses below:
Card.io: Remember the first time you uploaded payment information in the Uber App, and they offered you an easy way to scan your card to ease onboarding. That’s an API.
Twilio: Want to call your driver because he/she is driving in the wrong direction? Need a text message alert when your driver is outside? Want to know if your ride was canceled? That’s an API.
Braintree: Don’t have to pull out your wallet every time you take an uber? That’s an API.
Adyen: Don’t have to pull out your wallet, overseas, every time you take an uber? That’s an API.
Google Maps: Want to see how far away your driver is? Is this the best direction to get from point A to point B? How close is my destination to the 101? That’s an API.
Checkr: Do you feel comfortable driving with a stranger? How does Uber make sure all its driver go through a systematic background check? That’s an API.
SendGrid: Want an email receipt or a confirmation code when you reset your password? That’s an API.
Uber is just one of many large consumer apps that are powered by the bundling of APIs. There are a whole host of other consumer apps that are scaled through the utilization of “under the hood” infrastructure. SendGrid is an API for transactional email and delivery and now sends over 1 Billion emails a day. Twilio, a cloud communication API that powers talk and text, is used by 1 million of your fellow developers. Stripe, a payments API, is now used by over 100k businesses.
As investors in fast growing developer businesses, this advancement is incredibly exciting. We can now help power the platforms that help consumer companies scale, and as a result, feel more comfortable investing in fast growing consumer companies that rely on strong platforms for growth. Entrepreneurs like yourself now have a whole menu of APIs that can help spearhead growth without the threat of system breakage or a disrupted customer experience. It’s a pretty fantastic time to be an entrepreneur in both the B2B and B2C worlds!