Paragon, a startup building a platform that integrates and aggregates various software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps for enterprise customers, has raised $13 million in a Series A round led by Inspired Capital, alongside previous investors FundersClub and Garuda Ventures. CEO and co-founder Brandon Foo said the tranche will be spent on “scaling up” and expanding the Paragon team across the engineering and go-to-market teams.
Part of Y Combinator’s winter 2020 cohort, Paragon is designed to allow software products to integrate with third-party apps without disrupting existing workflows. Companies can use the platform to build SaaS integrations into their products that are then delivered to their end users, with features such as fully managed authentication and pre-built integration interfaces.
Foo founded Paragon in 2019 with Ishmael Samuel, a former Uber engineer. Paragon is Foo’s second venture after Polymail, an email app focused on collaboration.
“Building Polymail took us months to become experts in the various vendor-specific authentication methods, APIs, and documentation for every integration we built. It felt like we were reinventing the wheel every time. Still, customers kept asking for more integrations, which soon made it impossible to keep up, let alone keep all of these integrations we had built,” Foo told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Later I realized that this is a problem that every SaaS company faces today. When Ishmael and I started Paragon, we were trying to solve a never-ending problem that we had experienced firsthand as software developers.”
Foo says Paragon currently supports about 45 pre-built integrations with SaaS apps, including Salesforce, HubSpot, Slack and Shopify. Recently, the company launched an integration builder that allows customers to create their own custom integrations on Paragon using public SaaS APIs without writing any code.
Paragon offers two versions of its service: cloud-hosted and on-premise. Both store and manage end-user authentication data, so businesses don’t have to manually build and maintain authentication for each app integration individually. They both also store integration data for logging and observation purposes.
“Software companies need to offer integrations to stay competitive in the market – it’s just become an expectation of SaaS buyers… However, building integrations from scratch requires huge technical resources – not to mention the work involved to maintain integrations as SaaS APIs are constantly changing,” said Foo. “Paragon provides a simple, product-centric solution that abstracts the complexity of any SaaS integration into a single software development kit, which can be embedded natively into any product to create a seamless end-user experience.”
Foo claims that Paragon currently handles about 100 million requests per month in its customer base. That’s a good start, but the challenge will be to sustain growth as competing products emerge. While not tackling precisely same problem, Pipedream provides an integration platform for building workflows and connecting cloud apps and services. With financial applications in mind, Stripe recently launched App Marketplace, a collection of scripts and tools featuring third-party SaaS apps that work alongside Stripe’s payment processing.
However, Foo says the technology slowdown was unexpectedly coincidental (minus the layoffs).
“It has actually been an accelerator for Paragon as technical efficiency has become more important than ever before. Software companies have to do more with less, but can’t afford to keep losing valuable deals by failing to meet their customers’ integration requirements,” he said. “The biggest challenge that Paragon solves is technical resources. Spending internal technical resources focused on external integrations takes precious time building their core product.”
To date, Paragon has raised $16.5 million in capital.