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If software is really eating the world, to paraphrase venture capitalist and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, then the application programming interface (API) is the dinner menu, allowing developers to “order” or access the specific code they need to make their applications interoperable.
But what happens when your company needs to order up lots of software from lots of different places, and finds itself buried in menus?
That’s the place many companies now find themselves in, using multiple different enterprise applications for different purposes — Salesforce for CRM, Asana for software engineering, Monday for project tracking. Maintaining the integrations between a single company and the many various APIs its employees and customers rely on has become an increasingly complex and time-consuming task. But Merge, a 3-year-old B2B startup, wants to change all that.
Today the company is launching a new tool, Blueprint, that leverages OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 large language model (LLM). Blueprint allows developers — or even a company’s non-technical employees — to copy and paste a link to the documentation of an API they wish to integrate with into an online form. Blueprint then rapidly reads it, parses it and translates it into a workable API definition that Merge can use to construct a fast, secure and easy integration with the developer’s own software.
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“This is not just a developer tool,” Merge cofounder Gil Feig told VentureBeat in a Zoom interview. “Anyone at a company could use it and get value from it.”
Merge’s origin story
Founded in 2020 by Feig and his longtime friend Shensi Ding (both experienced tech workers), Merge was built to offer a “unified API” — basically acting as the connective tissue between other companies and the many different APIs they want to access.
For Merge’s nearly 7,000 customers, the value proposition is easy: A one-stop shop for all their APIs.
A developer simply needs to integrate once with Merge’s product integrations platform API, and Merge’s team of software engineers takes care of the rest, ensuring that this single integration can be used across multiple APIs from other vendors.
“Where we really stand out is in the quality of our integrations,” said Shensi. “No matter what the application is, if there’s an API you want to integrate with, our team will figure it out.”
Since launch, the company has raised more than $75 million from prominent investors including Accel, NEA, and Addition.
How AI levels up Merge and its customers
Right now, Merge supports more than 170 integrations with various applications across seven business categories: HR and payroll, applicant tracking systems, product management and help desk ticketing, accounting, CRMs and marketing automation. The company plans to continually add new integrations based on customer feedback.
“We have a really great community of people who use Merge and offer suggestions about what we can add to the API,” Ding told VentureBeat.
However, these integrations previously needed to be built manually by Merge engineers. Now, with BluePrint, they will have a head start as the tool uses GPT-3.5 to create the initial documentation that will be needed for connecting an existing customer’s Merge profile to their application of choice through Merge’s “unified API” approach.
Merge has been investing heavily in AI, supporting hundreds of AI-powered software companies with customer data from Unified APIs. Well-known companies such as Gong, Ramp, Lucid, Peoplelogic and FutureFit AI connect business data on behalf of their customers using B2B integrations from Merge.
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