Pack mule

APIs are the building blocks of the enterprise cloud ecosystem, and with the proliferation software as a service (SaaS) models, so too has come the challenge of integrating applications and data sets across and organization. When looking for a platform to connect these disparate endpoints, enterprises including Amazon, Cisco, Xerox, Sprint, Mastercard, AT&T, Experian Healthcare, and Walmart turn to MuleSoft more than any other company.

Today, the six year old startup announced $37 million in Series E financing in a round led by NEA, with participation from new strategic investor Salesforce.com, and existing investors Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Morgenthaler Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SAP Ventures and Bay Partners. The round brings MuleSoft’s total financing to $81 million and comes on the heels of an explosive two years of growth, as the company bested its 2011 record with 171 percent revenue growth in 2012.

Alongside the new round of financing, MuleSoft is rolling out its Anypoint Platform, which enables companies to connect literally to hundreds of on-premise and cloud-based applications and systems. More importantly, the company removes the need to write custom point-to-point integration code.

“Today’s winning companies are reaching far beyond their four walls, into the cloud and onto mobile devices, to deliver the most connected products and most frictionless customer experience possible – we call this the New Enterprise,” MuleSoft president and CEO Greg Schott says.

The closest thing Mulesoft has to competition comes from legacy providers like Tibco and Informatica. But according to the CEO, Mulesoft is really the only company in its market that can support a hybrid of cloud-based and on premise endpoints.

“I’ve been with the company for five years, and the big legacy companies have not moved one inch in that time,” he says. “On the startup end, it’s mostly point-to-point solutions that can move a single batch of data from one system to another, but have a very difficult time handling complex transfers.”

The number of Open APIs has doubled annually since 2005, reaching over 13,000 today – a number that is expected to reach into the hundreds of thousands in the next five years. This explosion demands a platform to manage the creation and connectivity between these various data silos.

The platform includes open source Mule ESB (enterprise service bus) enabling communication between applications and integration with the CloudHub platform as a service (iPaaS). Also, the new offering adds the Anypoint API Manager for monetizing API access, the opensource API design toolkit APIkit, and Anypoint Service Registry which invites enterprises and software vendors to register and manage APIs. Finally, Mule Studio offers a graphical design environment for point-and-click creation of integration flows, while Anypoint Connector DevKit allows developers to build new Anypoint Connectors in a matter of hours hours.

Anypoint is available on a freemium SaaS model, and has more than 10,000 free deployments through CloudHub, but also has paid relationships with five of the world’s 10 largest banks, and leaders in the healthcare, retail, and government sectors. “Anyone who spends a significant amount of money on IT infrastructure, likely writes us a check somewhere along the way,” Schott says.

It would be easy to take Salesforce’s participation in the financing as a signal that the enterprise giant was eyeing a future acquisition, or at minimum a deeper partnership. When asked about this, Schott largely punted on the question. Series A investor Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad was more forthcoming, saying that there has been an increase in strategic investment in the Valley, with about 15 percent of late-stage deals in 2012 having a strategic involved. Most don’t lead to an acquisition, she argued, and the more important question to ask is how they are aligned as company builders.

Schott is adamant that MuleSoft is building its organization with the intention of remaining independent. Its biggest challenge, at this stage, is one of execution and continued global expansion. The pace of API development won’t slow anytime soon, nor will the number of enterprises that need integration services. MuleSoft’s challenge, is the ability to identify and serve them all.

MuleSoft has grown its team to 150 people across its San Francisco HQ, a Buenos Aires development office, and Sydney and London sales and services offices. With the additional financing, Schott anticipates growing this number to 300 by year’s end, with an emphasis on the sales roles

“There’s a lot of excitement about the rapid growth of SaaS, but I don’t think people have appreciated the implications of having to make these things connect,” Schott says. “They don’t realize the value that’s going to be unlocked when they do connect, or the horror that will happen when they’re not connected – we’ll be back to the data silos of the 90’s.”