When Paw came to life in 2013, it could have been an entirely different project, possibly not related to APIs. Back then, I was an iOS Engineer, often in charge of handling part of the backend code. Following the motto "Build something people want", I figured I'd build something that I wanted myself. Something that would help my daily workflow. I came up with two ideas: a utility app that would allow companies to send marketing push notifications and another to help developers test APIs. After doing some research, the latter seemed to be something many developers would be using daily, so I went for this.
It mattered to me to build a well-polished product, something I would be proud of and that would let me obsess over the details. It had to be a utility app, something practical. And as an iOS dev, I was thrilled to build a native macOS ("OS X" back then) app. Panic and the Omni Group were my role models — that's where I wanted to take Paw. The focus was on quality, performance, and sticking close to the platform.
Early on, I wanted the app to be paid, proving that it had great value for the users. Surely enough, a freemium model would have allowed a faster growth in terms of the number of active users. But it was important to me to show that the product and the demand were strong enough. Until this day, people often ask how Paw has gained traction: word of mouth is the correct answer. In fact, in 2014, someone posted Paw on Hacker News. This is what made it gain a lot of traction at first, and quite frankly, the reason I incorporated the company only a few weeks after this social media appearance!
Over time, Paw has grown into a profitable bootstrapped company. The product has seen multiple transformations; the most important one is the launch of Paw Cloud. We allowed companies to keep using our native macOS app while hosting the project data in the cloud, allowing team collaboration. We were in a relatively unique position of offering a SaaS product with an application installed locally.
Our mailbox has always been full of feature requests, bug reports, love letters, and, quite rarely, messages from unsatisfied users. Always knowing what users like, dislike, and want is invaluable! I'm deeply thankful to the thousands of users who took the time to write to us.
"Our job is to figure out what customers are going to want before they do." — Steve Jobs.
The hardest part with getting feedback from users is to read between the lines and make difficult roadmap choices. Some wanted an iPad version of Paw, while others needed Paw on Windows and Linux. That triggered an almost existential question: are we a company focusing on Apple technologies, or are we building the best tools for APIs?
"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships." — Michael Jordan.
I met with Iddo and Sasha of RapidAPI last year. We quickly understood that we could do a lot together! RapidAPI operates the largest public marketplace with over 20,000 APIs published. It makes a lot of sense to let users test publicly available APIs in a fully-featured client tool like Paw. (Fun fact: Paw also partnered earlier with the Mashape API Marketplace before it merged with the RapidAPI Marketplace).
Besides the public marketplace, RapidAPI is building a solid API Hub for companies to easily share and find APIs internally. It allows different teams within the same enterprise to interface with one another through APIs and avoids APIs being developed in silos. RapidAPI has an incredible enterprise sales team and counts many Fortune 500 companies among its customers.
Paw is a tool loved and used daily by thousands of people. It's not a coincidence if Iddo has been a very early Paw user! I believe that over the years, we gained valuable expertise in building high-quality productivity tools. We think that together, we can build tools that will boost developers' productivity and integrate them in a larger platform that can be offered to companies of all sizes.
Paw's customers are mostly tech companies, startups, and solo-developers, while RapidAPI helps large enterprises lead their digital transformations. These are two large markets that we can better conquer together.
Before getting into more details, let's make it official:
I'm very proud and excited to announce that Paw has joined the RapidAPI family. We'll keep building tools that you'll love, there will only be more of these, and better ones!
Iddo and I share the same desire to build a company where developers are our ultimate clients. Truth be told, Paw has joined RapidAPI in 2020, and since then, we have been working hard on releasing our first product together.
While we'll keep building the native macOS application as a first-class citizen, we're introducing today Paw for the Web, Paw for Windows and Paw for Linux!
Paw for the Web, Windows, and Linux is available today in beta. All your existing projects on Paw Cloud will work! While this is a beta with some features still missing compared to what the native macOS app has to offer, we're aiming to release a fully-featured version during the first half of 2021.
You can start using the beta at: https://paw.app
We also have some exciting plans of integrating Paw with the RapidAPI platform: allowing APIs from the API Marketplace to be tested in Paw (and vice versa), making it possible to write integration tests via RapidAPI Testing, and create teams that work across all these products!
We are incredibly excited about all these updates and what it means for Paw and RapidAPI as products and companies. I'm sure it will allow us to create more useful products for developers!
One more thing, have you noticed our new icon? We'll share the story behind it in a future article.