Theneo wants to bring Stripe-like API documentation to all developers • TechCrunch

A new company builds on Stripe’s API Handbook with a platform that makes it easy for any business to create clear API documentation, while allowing non-technical team members to contribute to the process.

Demonstrating as part of the Battlefield 200 cohort at TC Disrupt this week, TechCrunch sat down with Theneo to find out how they plan to secure their share of the $4.5 billion API management market – a figure that is expected to reach nearly $14 billion within five years.

APIs, or “application programming interfaces,” are the glue that holds most modern software together. It’s what allows Uber to offer in-app messaging without building the whole infrastructure itself from scratch, fitness apps to view your ride history through maps and merchants in online to support payments powered by Stripe. Internally, companies are also creating their own APIs to connect all sorts of back-end systems and data stores.

In short, APIs are the hidden and often unsung heroes of the modern technological age. But creating an API that’s easy for developers to use and adopt comes with inherent challenges. It is not enough to simply create the API: its characteristics, functionalities and deployment instructions must be recorded and presented in an easy-to-follow format. Getting the API documentation right is imperative, which is where Theneo hopes to make its mark.

Example of Theneo API documentation Image credits: Theno

Stripe-like API docs

Theneo co-founder and CEO Ana Robakidze said she had worked on hundreds of APIs in a previous role leading an engineering team, concluding that good API documentation often makes the difference. default.

“I have personally witnessed the effect API documentation has had on the delivery, cost and efficiency of our project,” Robakidze said. “As a result, as a team lead, I spent a lot of time and effort researching a tool that would help us create great API documentation – similar to Stripe’s, as it’s considered the one of the best in the business.. The problem with most tools was that they were time consuming or had too many limitations.

The root of the problem, according to Robakidze, is that developers aren’t necessarily technical writers — they’d much rather “create another API than document it,” she said. As a result, many internal APIs in particular (i.e. APIs designed to connect a company’s internal systems and applications) are either completely undocumented or, if documented, not synchronized and kept up to date. as the API evolves. This problem is compounded by developers coming and going within a company, often resulting in a cumbersome mess.

“Theneo was created out of frustration, with the goal of creating high-quality API documentation that was quick to generate and simple to maintain,” Robakidze said.

With Theneo, developers connect their GitHub repository or upload their API collection, then Theneo analyzes everything and provides the required API documentation. It also offers an AI helper that uses natural language processing (NLP) to improve documentation, including automatic description of various API attributes, which are basically the parts of the API specification that developers have need to request, send and delete data, etc. on. So a “create client” object, for example, contains various attributes each with a definition so that the user (i.e. developer) knows exactly what the attribute is for.

“Our AI wizard develops descriptions for these fields, which often take a long time for a developer or tech writer to create, especially when there are thousands of fields in your APIs,” Robakidze explained.

Theneo: Sample API document showing field/attribute descriptions Image credits: Theno

While Theneo is designed to automate the process as much as possible, it clearly won’t provide API documentation as a freebie on its own – it recognizes that developers and other team members will need to fine-tune the formats and the wording, add more images, or whatever it needs.

“We parse the API, parse it, and then return an already well-structured API document,” Robakidze said. “The user can then choose to add more details, such as images and different API widgets, add team members so they can collaborate.”

Although the engine behind Theneo is the same for both internal and external APIs, the company provides additional tools for the latter, recognizing that third-party developers appreciate a smoother, easier-to-follow interface. So it is basically a white label product that can be customized and branded as per business requirements.

In terms of pricing, Theneo currently has a basic plan that costs around $20 per month per user, rising to $45 per month for unlimited API projects on the business plan. It also offers an enterprise plan that unlocks features like brand customization and the ability to self-host. It’s also working on a completely free-to-play version, though Robakidze said it’s not ready for prime time yet.

Ana Robakidze, co-founder and CEO of Theneo


The Y Combinator (YC) graduate has already raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding since its inception exactly one year ago, and this week confirmed that it is in the process of raising additional funds. And he also unveiled an updated documentation editor, which Robakidze described as something akin to “Figma for APIs”, designed so that everyone involved in a software project can contribute, regardless of their technical prowess. .

“We realized that there are multiple actors when it comes to creating APIs or API documents, and that it is crucial that these users collaborate,” explained Robakidze. “Similar to what Figma has done with collaboration, our documentation editor API allows users to collaborate, so managers and non-technical members can easily work together on content and produce high-quality documents.”

Robakidze said the company is pretty much open to working with any size and type of business, and currently works with some 3,000 companies, ranging from fintechs and government agencies to agricultural businesses.

“Our biggest customers are fintech companies, usually with more than 20 developers,” Robakidze said.

It’s somewhat fitting that Theneo has particular traction within fintech, given that it’s looking to emulate one of the biggest fintech startups to emerge over the past decade. Stripe is well known for its payment processing API used by startups and big tech companies, including Google and Amazon, and the documentation it provides plays a part in why it’s loved by developers.

“One of the reasons I like working on the Stripe integration is that their API documentation is very well organized, has a very well thought out user interface, and generally makes it easy for developers to get the information they need to integrate with them.” Robakidze said. “When I was working on other Stripe alternatives, it often took me twice as long due to the difficulty of browsing and locating the necessary API information. Developers love Stripe’s API documentation, so we wanted to make sure other companies and developers could generate the same high-quality documentation.

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