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Austin-Based Stoplight Raises $6M To Build New Category Of API Design Management

Stoplight, which describes itself as an online platform that helps developers build, test and improve their web APIs, has closed on a $6 million Series A.

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The infusion brings Stoplight’s total funds raised to $10.65 million since its 2015 inception. Existing backers Next Coast Ventures and Bill Wood Ventures co-led the latest round. Bill Wood is a co-founder of the now defunct Austin Ventures and the founder of Silverton Partners, Austin’s most active VC firm.

The Austin-based company launched its Stoplight Studio in 2019, helping boost its revenue by 200 percent year over year. Stoplight also more than doubled its headcount to 34 during the year. It has more than 500 customers across a range of industries, including Electronic Arts, Deutsche Bank, Honeywell and Blackboard.


Stoplight Founder and CEO Marc MacLeod started his venture out of his garage in Venice Beach, California, after consulting for a number of companies.

“They had come to me with a lot of undocumented and untested APIs, many of which were done overseas,” he told Crunchbase News. “So I developed a small set of tools to help me analyze them for my consulting to help developers to seamlessly build, test and manage APIs.”

For those who aren’t developers, application programmable interfaces (APIs) allow multiple programs to work together on the internet. For instance, a startup that uses Facebook as a login to its app leverages Facebook’s APIs to offer that service. Stoplight describes itself as a single “source of truth” to manage all of these APIs under one umbrella, and it claims to do so in a seamless and secure manner.

After a former colleague shared his API management tool on Product Hunt, MacLeod was invited by Techstars to interview for its accelerator program. Ultimately, he moved to Austin to start the Techstars program in 2015.

Stoplight CEO Marc MacLeod

“I came out with the intention of eventually going back to L.A., but Austin is a great city and I hired my first employee here,” he said.

Looking ahead, the company plans to use its new capital to augment engineering efforts, accelerate its product roadmap and cover more customer use cases.

But mostly, according to MacLeod, it plans on investing in engineering “to increase product velocity.”

Investor perspective

Mike Smerklo, co-founder and managing director at Next Coast Ventures, believes that Stoplight is capitalizing on the API design-first movement by becoming an industry leader in API design management.

“The company’s excellent traction to date is a result of a large and growing API management market opportunity combined with superior execution against a product-led go to market strategy,” he said.

For Wood, Stoplight’s offering is very much needed as “the online world is evolving into a network of connected sensors and smart devices.”

“Without adequate API design management, the next evolution will never reach its full potential,” he said. “Stoplight is an integral part of enabling developers to design our new online world.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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