Personalization API Rapleaf Ponies Up $1 Million to Support Developers

Adam DuVander
Sep. 07 2011, 06:57PM EDT

Rapleaf wants to see more personalization apps built on its Rapleaf Personalization API. To support the expansion, the company will provide grants and services to companies via its just-launched $1 million fund. The investment approach is quickly joining contests and hackathons as ways for providers to woo developers.

Most awards from the Rapleaf Personalization Fund will be between $5,000 to $15,000, with Rapleaf taking no equity. Rapleaf expects first-time grants to be mostly data--that is, free access to its expanded service. Rapleaf's Jamie Ryan said the company expects to invest cash for subsequent grants, from either Rapleaf or fund partners, which includes VCs and a handful of other investment organizations. "It is our hope that the fund will help connect developers, students, VC's and other partners within our community," Ryan said.

Email marketing company MailChimp has a $1 million cash fund, which it announced a year ago to encourage development with its MailChimp API. Similarly, 500 Startups created a Twilio Fund, which invests around $10,000 for a 1% stake in a company that uses the Twilio API. In March we covered 7 Twilio Fund winners.

The Rapleaf API provides age, gender and location for any email address for free. For additional fields, which include income, marital status and occupation, Rapleaf currently charges $0.01 per field match.

There are certainly a number of applications for this type of data, both useful and creepy. Rapleaf supplied a few ideas to get developers started:

  • A tool to help daily deals sites and e-commerce sites personalize product recommendations and offers
  • An engine for news sites to recommend content based on user data
  • An analytics tool to show aggregate demographic details of email newsletters
  • An application that makes it easy to link a company’s CRM, ESP, and Rapleaf data

The RapLeaf developer playground (account required) is a good way to get a feel for the service.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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