Algolia Strengthens API Market Position With UX Search

Algolia website snapshot

API search-as-a-service product Algolia has strengthened its position in the API economy with a new round of investment and a continued focus on enabling high-performance, real-time search for websites and mobile applications.

Algolia enables applications and websites to outsource the search functionality for their products and services. It is a composable approach to the design of Web and mobile products that allows developers to focus on their core business while also ensuring a quality user experience for any of their customers using search on their websites.

This week’s investment announcement sees the French startup (now based in San Francisco) gaining $18.3 million, led by venture firm Accel Partners, but also including some API industry heavyweights who are recognizing Algolia’s API leadership. Those industry investors include Ilya Sukhar (Parse), Solomon Hykes (Docker), Kevin Rose (Digg) and Erik Swan (Splunk).

“The interest of such tech visionaries validates our mission,” says Nicolas Dessaigne, CEO and co-founder of Algolia. “We are thrilled to have them on board and can't wait to benefit from their advice.”

Dessaigne says the new investment will be used to hire more top talent and to reorient the tech industry’s perception of search:

Our focus is on improving user-facing search with the ambition of completely changing the way people access data. We want to move search from a back-end concern to a UX highlight. This investment will help us accelerate the pace at which we'll be able to drive this global search UX shift.

The move comes on the heels of recent updates to a number of integrations that enable Algolia to be embedded into third party-platforms more easily. WordPress, Shopify, Lateral and Magento search integrations have been updated in the past few days on Algolia’s GitHub site. Business leaders in the API economy are increasingly using the strategy as a way to extend an API’s value by extending its capabilities to nontechnical users.

Dessaigne explains:

Multiplying integrations and thus enlarging our audience is an important goal of 2015 for us. We continue to see a strong growth on the API alone, but we expect that these integrations will help a lot with the long tail of the market. Broadly speaking, these platforms are also powering a big portion of the Web, and search is one of their key components. That fits well with our user-facing search focus.

The approach is part of a wider vision at Algolia to be the best in class at what it does. Already, it has built a global distributed API architecture that enables low-latency search across various regions and continues to provide onboarding resources that enable developers to start making use of the Algolia API against their own data sets quickly, both of which have been instrumental factors in Algolia’s envious churn rate, which has to date seen less than 3% of customers leaving the service once they begin using the API.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.

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