A leap of faith for an API observability platform

How Treblle, an API observability platform secured €1.2M pressed investment.

3 years ago   •   6 min read

By Vedran Cindrić
Table of contents

As you might have heard we've secured a €1.2M EUR seed investment for our new company, called Treblle, led by Nauta Capital. For us this means that we can dedicate all our time and effort to building out Treblle and helping everyone in the API ecosystem.

At Treblle we make it super easy to understand what's going on with your APIs and the apps that use them. This mainly means that we want to give you the best API observability and visibility possible.

We do that by providing a set of tools that save time and money for everyone working with APIs. That means back-end developers, app developers, project managers, QA to CEOs and CTOs. Just by adding our SDK you get real time API monitoring and logging, auto generated docs with OpenAPI support, error tracking, quality scoring, API analytics and much more...

The origins of Treblle actually date back to 2017. when I found myself building a lot of ad-hoc logging tools to help me debug various weird edge cases with APIs. At one point we had so many projects in our previous development company that my days would be spent on providing integration support to other developers, helping them figure out what they sent wrong, what they were supposed to get...I thought there has to be a better way and started slowly working on our first PHP SDK for Treblle.

I was driven by a single idea about being able to view API requests as they were made, in real time, and allow others to do the same. I also knew that in order to get others to even consider using such a product on their API it needed to be fast, like really fast, scalable and secure. From early 2017 to early 2019 I've spent a lot of time trying to achieve the performance and scalability I personally wanted to see. I dropped the project multiple times because I simply wasn't happy with it. Finally, in April 2019., I got the idea on how I might solve the problem by randomly working on a client project and watching some AWS videos in the background.

From there, together with Tea, our mobile apps lead, we spent weeks shaping the early prototype that we gave Darko, our co-founder, to design - which he knocked out of the park. As time flew by and we got our MVP ready COVID happened. We lost a couple of clients in the tourism industry but at the same time it allowed all 3 of us to spend more time working on Treblle. As we kept adding features and developing it further, Treblle also became part of our daily routine in the workplace. As we started bringing in other companies, developers as well as our own clients the feedback we were getting was amazing. Mobile developers were literally ecstatic about the fact that they see requests in real time appearing on the project dashboard as they make them. Back-end developers enjoyed it because they didn’t have to write or update API docs and they were able to spot any API problems instantly. Less technical people would use Treblle for everything from tracking how their developers worked, how many errors they were making to using the system as a lead generation system based on user behavior and activity. We were thrilled with the feedback but we also wanted to put more eyes on it both from developers we never met as well as the money guys.

In October I stumbled on an article about WebSummit. It was going to be held online for the first time ever and it looked like a great place to find random startups, developers and business people. We decided to buy the startup package for the 3 of us with a goal to "mingle" with other developers, companies and businesses. If you join WebSummit as a startup you get a lot of perks including a session with someone from the VC industry where you can ask questions and get feedback on your product. I was matched with Saagar from Nauta Capital. Saagar jumped on a call with our group, we asked our questions and hung out for an hour. At that time my question to Saagar was "How much equity do VCs usually look to get in a seed round?" and I'll always remember Saagar laughingly answering: "It depends but generally if a VC walks into a room he is looking to take anywhere from 15 - 25%". I liked his answer because it was funny and honest at the same time.

During and after WebSummit we've held many, and I do mean many, meetings with various VCs, angel investors and other startups. We learned so much in those few weeks about VCs, startups, SasS companies and how things work. We also learned that no matter how good your product is you still need to have a pitch deck and a business plan. We started working on those as our meetings intensified. At the end of 2020, literally, the 30th of December, Saagar pinged me on LinkedIn to see if I would be interested in a meeting. I hadn't heard from him since WebSummit but I had so many questions about investments, VCs, and similar topics that I was thrilled to get a chance to ask someone who knows this stuff first hand.

We jumped on a call in January, I asked my questions, I demoed Treblle and we just kept the conversation going. Saagar introduced us to Pratima from Nauta Capital. Together we had many conversations about Treblle, the future, what we want, what they do and how they can help. The two of them have literally helped us shape our go to market strategy, business plan and guided us through the process. It was like a crash course on investments, VCs and SasS. At the end of that process we got to pitch to one of the Nauta Capital’s General partners, Carles. The call we had with him was great, Carles gave us ideas, asked a lot of good questions and made suggestions to make sure we have everything covered. But most importantly he gave us the opportunity to pitch in front of the entire team aka Nauta’s investment committee. As scary as it sounds to pitch to a room of 30 people it was really a 2 hour conversation about Treblle, our vision, plan and their suggestions. 30 minutes after the meeting Pratima and Saagar called me and said: "Congratulations, you get to build your company, we are sending a term sheet". At that point I was buying dinner in a shopping mall, told Tea and Darko, came home, sat down and drank a bit of rakija (anyone who is from the Balkans will know). We spent a lot of upcoming weeks thinking about the meaning of life and that sorta stuff. Ultimately we all decided to take a leap of faith and go for it.

Fast forward to today, we finalized the transaction and are ready to start building the product full time. We chose Nauta Capital as a partner because they asked the right questions at the right time, they kept moving at an incredible speed, they went above and beyond to help us, educated us and shared their experiences as well as offered a great deal to us. I am super excited and thankful to them for the trust and opportunity.

There are many many people I owe a thank you to, so in no particular order:

  • A huge thank you to Tea and Darko for helping me build Treblle, believing in me, motivating me and spending a lot of their free time working on Treblle
  • Thank you to Saagar, Pratima, Carles and Glen from Nauta Capital who listened, gave us a chance and guided us through this process
  • Thank you to our legal teams who helped us push this across the line: Neil Budd of Budd Legal in the UK, Jan Stijačić and Damir Kramarić from Kramarić & partners as well as Dino Gliha from Marković & Grbavac & Gliha on the Croatian side
  • Thank you to Erlend and Adam from AutoPix, Sinclair from DV Management, Jason from Quadrant 2, Chris from Mov with whom I've had many conversations about Treblle, who were the best clients a company could ever have and whom I consider friends and mentors
  • On this path I've talked to my fair share of VCs and angel investors. Most of them were really great people willing to help, listen, question, suggest...I want to say thank you for listening and taking an interest in Treblle. I hope we get to do something together in the future. I would especially like to give a shoutout to a few amazing people Sara, Fabio and Massimiliano from United Ventures, Ubaldo from Aster and Luke from Amaranthine.

To conclude - if you are building an API just give Treblle a try, I can guarantee you will never look back. We’ve built it for ourselves, based on our own needs and with a focus of helping you solve some of the most tedious and time consuming things when working with APIs.

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