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Modern organizations manage from anywhere 200 to 1,000 apps (possibly more).
But at this scale, productivity can grind to a halt as teams spend days or weeks provisioning network infrastructure.
Instead, advises Alan Shreve, founder and CEO of NgrokTo: “Automate to empower your developers.”
“Enabling developers to use a self-service infrastructure allows them to build and deploy apps more efficiently, without leaving their workflow,” he said.
To strengthen its platform to address this issue, Ngrok announced today that it has closed $50 million in Series A funding for its API first ingress-as-a-service platform. Ngrok is a programmable network edge that adds connectivity, security and observability to apps without code changes, Shreve explains.
“Traditional networking requires infrastructure teams to use legacy proxies, load balancers, or VPNs, which is a slow, manual process,” says Shreve. “Because developers are under a lot of pressure to deliver applications faster, they need more self-service and automation.”
Simplifying app development and delivery
The way developers build applications has fundamentally changed, Shreve stressed.
Microservice architectures, serverless platforms, and other industry shifts have led to a proliferation of new APIs and apps that require their own entry point – delivering application delivery and making services securely available – across different environments.
In the delivery of typical applications, developers often “stick” several homegrown open source projects and proxy layers together and combine them with disparate services from cloud-specific vendors, Shreve said. Developers then have to unnecessarily configure low-level network resources such as IPs, DNSs, VPNs, and firewalls to deliver applications.
Ngrok aims to avoid that complexity by decoupling environmental intrusion from the application, allowing developers to deliver apps the same way whether they’re deployed on AWS, serverless platforms, their own data center, or IoT devices.
The platform consolidates the “complex web” of network technologies into a unified layer so developers don’t rely on other teams to provide the inbound infrastructure, which can slow time to market.
With a single line of code, developers can instantly access applications and services with authentication, single sign-on, observability, and other critical controls — and without provisioning legacy proxies, load balancers, or VPNs, Shreve said.
For example, when Ngrok customer Zendesk experienced significant growth, its global software engineering team was faced with the time-consuming hassle of sharing, integrating and validating apps built on developer machines, Shreve explains.
The team regularly lost days of technical effort with slow and unreliable tunneling tools that required a significant amount of troubleshooting, he said. But a small group of engineers started using Ngrok in 2015, and usage quickly spread, with engineers noting efficiency, reliability, ease of use, and the platform’s ability to eliminate “days of wasted effort.”
New users were up and running in 15 minutes, and employees were given “straightforward access” to applications for testing and iteration, Shreve said. Now Ngrok is used by 200 engineers at the leading provider of customer service software and sales CRM.
Enabling next-generation apps
Without prior outside funding, Ngrok is already used by 5 million developers at companies like Zendesk, Copado and Veritas, Shreve said. The company is funded solely by more than 30,000 paying customers and top technology companies – including Microsoft, GitHub, Okta, Shopify, Zoom, and Twilio – recommend Ngrok in their documentation.
In addition, the company’s team has built and scaled software at Twilio, Okta, Google, AWS, MongoDB, Digital Ocean, and others.
Today’s funding round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with the participation of jacket. The company will use it to scale to meet increasing demand for its platform for various business use cases, Shreve said.
“As we scale, our focus remains on how we’ve built the business to date: delivering real value for real customers and empowering developers to build the next generation of applications,” he said.
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