November 24, 2021

5 Reasons Why I Joined Apollo GraphQL

Chris Shaw
VP of Talent Acquisition
Life at Apollo
Last updated November 17, 2021

For those of you who know me best, I certainly don’t take things at face value. I prefer to take a measured approach to decision-making and especially when it comes to making my next career move. Here’s how I went about it.

For me, it all starts with trying to identify what the next “big thing” will be. I have deliberate conversations with my customers about up-and-coming technology mega-trends. Then I tap into my network of mentors, VC’s, and finally — my friends and family. I then consolidate those findings into organized lists. The tools I use to validate my findings are Crunchbase and CB Insights. I can easily filter and sort through all of the most important information to me: who are the company’s founders, executive team, lead investors, money raised, how much, and when. As my final step, I narrow down my search to 5 stand-out companies and move the process to a more low-tech approach — literally a sheet of paper with a list of Pros and Cons. By the end, the answer was jumping off the page… go to Apollo!

In this post, I want to share with you what I’ve learned from my evaluation and ultimately, the five reasons why I joined Apollo GraphQL.

1. My Customers Told Me To!

Conversations focused on my customer’s business goals often led straight to their back-end Microservices and APIs, usually because of major limitations holding them back. I kept hearing, “George, the cat is out of the bag that a performant, scalable Data Graph can deliver the kind of development velocity we need. If that’s something Apollo can help us with, we should talk!” I made the connection that Apollo is the only platform on the planet that can manage and secure the full lifecycle of GraphQL from start to finish, and if I’m being honest, my gut was already telling me Apollo is where I needed to go.

2. Durability

My next conversation was with a VP of Engineering at an unnamed Fortune 500 company. He oversees his company’s Graph and what he said stuck with me, “I’ve been with my company for 18 years and in that time we’ve thrown away code and completely re-platformed at least 3 times. What layer had Durability? Not the front end which we re-wrote every 2 or 3 years, and not even our services API’s which were moved to the cloud and modernized frequently. Which layer has Durability? It’s been our Graph — it stays and it evolves.”

3. Total Addressable Market

Every enterprise company on the planet develops software. That software then touches every one of your customers and employees; it is your brand and it matters. Throughout the interview process, it was clear to me that Apollo understands the significance and responsibility of this more so than any company I’ve talked to. I made a joke to my wife that “if software is eating the world then Apollo is starting to look like a friendlier version of Jaws.”

4. The World’s Largest Brands use Apollo

Companies like Walmart, Netflix, and PayPal don’t add a critical infrastructure layer without doing some serious due diligence. At PayPal specifically, they needed to innovate faster on its payment platform and improve the overall user experience. Legacy REST infrastructure was inadequate to meet their goals. Mark Stuart, Director of Engineering with PayPal put it perfectly, “We found that UI developers were spending less than one-third of their time actually building UI. The remainder of that time was spent figuring out where and how to fetch data, filtering/mapping over that data, and orchestrating API calls.”

5. Backed by the Best

In August, Apollo raised $130M Series D round from some of the very best in the business: Insight Ventures and existing long-time investor, Andreessen Horowitz. This new round is an exciting milestone for Apollo, now valued at over $1.5B. That’s a 10X jump in valuation since I’ve joined with a line of sight to our next 10X.


Three months in and I can say with confidence that the future is bright at Apollo! I’m so please with the outcome that I was compelled to document my process for others who are looking to follow some kind of Unicorn Company Selection Process which for me has worked 4 times back to back. If you’re curious and want to know more about what Apollo does, reach out to us. If you are a customer or a prospective customer, thank you for entrusting Apollo with your business — this is only the beginning. Lastly, if you’re a prospective colleague, come join us; what are you waiting for?!

Written by

Chris Shaw

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