June 12, 2019

Apollo raises $22 million to simplify app development

Geoff Schmidt

Geoff Schmidt

By turning code into brilliant solutions that improve people’s lives, app developers have the power to positively impact the world. At Apollo, we want to help developers help the world.To do that, we’re tackling the hardest problem in app development: data management.

Modern apps are complicated. Any given screen might depend on a hundred different pieces of data, fetched from a dozen different sources in the cloud. Imagine how much simpler building apps would be if developers could fetch all the data they needed by typing a single query! That dream is what inspired us to create Apollo.

Apollo is a platform for building a data graph, the missing layer that seamlessly connects apps and devices to the cloud. With over 25 million downloads last year, Apollo has emerged as an important part of the modern app stack largely because of the support and momentum from our incredible developer community.

Today, we’re proud to announce Apollo’s first venture capital round: $22 million in new funding from some of the best in the business, including co-leads Andreessen Horowitz and Matrix Partners, with additional participants including Trinity Ventures, Rod Johnson, and Maynard Webb. Read on to learn more about our vision for improving app development.

Our dedication to improving app development

With the complexity of modern apps, developers have to write a tremendous amount of data fetching boilerplate to build new features. This code must fetch data from multiple services, filter and cache the data, account for loading and error states, and update the app’s UI — all within milliseconds.

Our determination to solve this problem for developers dates back to 2011, when our team created MeteorJS. Meteor pioneered many of the core ideas of Apollo: a single schema spanning client and server, a normalized client-side data store, and reactive binding of UI to data with optimistic updates. In late 2015, we began developing a new version of its data layer that incorporated years of technical learnings building Meteor. We called it the Apollo project.

An essential ingredient for Apollo was a database-agnostic query language. With its elegant syntax and focus on the needs of product developers, the GraphQL specification was a perfect fit. Together, Apollo’s technology combined with GraphQL provided a strong, battle-tested foundation for the data graph.

A data graph for every developer

With a data graph, developers no longer experience the pain points of writing and maintaining data fetching boilerplate. Instead of fetching from multiple services and duplicating logic across clients, they can seamlessly draw upon a unified, always up-to-date catalog of all of the data available to them as well as the connections between each service. This graph is augmented by rich, schema-aware tooling threaded throughout the entire development lifecycle.

The benefits don’t stop there. A data graph can transform how product teams collaborate across the stack. For product teams, a data graph gives them:

  • Faster development, thanks to better tools and less handwritten boilerplate code
  • Consistent user experiences across multiple apps, even those written by separate teams
  • A fine-grained understanding of application performance and behavior
  • Strong, centralized security and control over data access

Today, Apollo’s technology is being adopted worldwide in virtually every industry from e-commerce and media to energy and finance. Expedia is building a company-wide data graph. Audi launched their e-tron electric car with a data graph. The front page of the New York Times is powered by a data graph. And a data graph will power all customer experiences at Airbnb across web, iOS, and Android.

Where we’re headed next

The data graph has vast potential, and we see Apollo as a foundation on top of which many exciting services and companies will be built.

In addition to our open source libraries for implementing a graph, we also offer a platform to help developers with graph management. Our platform includes schema registration and discovery, change validation, distributed query planning, caching, security policy definition and enforcement, and structured logging and analytics. What you can build on top of this foundation is limited only by your imagination.

And there’s a lot more to come. We’ve raised this round of growth funding to accelerate the rollout of data graph technology to every developer.

With new funding often comes concerns about change. One thing that will never change is our commitment to growing and supporting our open source community. Starting from the needs and guidance of our users, we will keep developing core technology like Apollo Federation. We will continue to make our open source libraries like Apollo Client and Apollo Server the best solutions for implementing a data graph. We’re also excited to invest more resources in improving our developer tooling, such as the Apollo VS Code extension.

At the same time, we will help companies of all sizes scale and secure their data graphs by investing in our cloud-based graph management system. We will continue to grow our field team to assist more large enterprises in building their graphs. And we will double down on creating more free online resources and documentation to help individuals and small teams learn Apollo — all in pursuit of empowering every developer with a data graph.

Our vision is to help every developer help the world by lowering the barrier to building incredible apps. Thank you for your support and the opportunity to work together toward this goal. If this excites you, why not take a look at our current openings? With new funding, rapid growth, and a big mission, it’s a great time to join the Apollo team. 🚀

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Geoff Schmidt

Geoff Schmidt

Read more by Geoff Schmidt