Our investment in tray.io
Imagine an easy way to connect all the software your company runs in the cloud, with the power to customise how data is shared between the various SaaS applications you employ.
tray.io promises to make that vision real. It connects SaaS services and orchestrates data flow seamlessly between them. It is beautiful to use, and has rich enterprise-class features such as backup, rollback, etc, for connecting any SaaS services. And it is not just for developers but for business users as well.
So, given the increasing adoption of SaaS, and our belief in the company’s tenacious founding team, Mosaic is excited to announce we have led tray’s Series A financing round, with participation from our friends at True Ventures (who led the seed in 2014).
SaaS applications generate valuable data, for example from support tickets, billing data and marketing flows. Unfortunately, this high value data can be stuck inside the silos of each provider.
SaaS customers want to combine data from multiple applications, to provide new insights or improve operational agility and effectiveness. For example, how does the likelihood of customer churn change with each incremental service ticket?
These are critical business questions, not just engineering curiosities. It is business users who want to be able to answer them. We believe a configurable user interface (UI) that allows flexible access to data as it flows will become critical to SaaS services’ utility.
Existing attempts to solve this challenge have been too limited, inflexible, or resource-intensive to deploy. Fast moving companies using data to drive their business should be able to connect SaaS services seamlessly into a coherent software whole. APIs will become the heart of that software, where the pipeline of logic that the business requires is executed behind a highly-configurable UI. We were an early customer — it has saved us a lot of time and provided us with a lot of value.
tray’s service today
tray today is an end-to-end package: you can build, test and host workflows of customised APIs. It is a delight to see your first demo: this is technology that is hard to build but has been made user-friendly, as this demo shows. It is no accident that Rich and Dom previously ran a web application design and build agency together.
tray executes integrations that would be complex to create and maintain via a bespoke application, or are not done at all due to cost or resource constraints. Further, as companies scale they typically want to configure their SaaS apps — higher value workflows are rarely completely standardized — so the APIs provided for example by Salesforce and other important providers often need augmenting. tray’s mission of enabling such processes to be optimized is important because it glues together the different parts of a business’s operations. Integrations bind the data between the tools and automates the workload for specialists, allowing them to focus on their skills, not laborious data augmentation or re-entry.
There is an unusual degree of enthusiasm for tray amongst its customers, including fast moving SaaS-native businesses like Digital Ocean, Vox, Keen.io and Expensify. And although they usually start with a very specific workflow, early signs are that tray will be adopted across many of their workflows:the basis for a powerful “land and expand” business model, with significant impact across SaaS users’ business functions and processes.
The roadmap is ambitious. A short term goal is to generate connectors automatically from REST API descriptions. Medium term, tray seeks to map all possible SaaS connections in an organisation. The team’s ultimate vision is to present self-assembling workflows to optimize all your business processes. Orchestrating how modern software interoperates has the power to change how modern business runs.
Partnering entrepreneurs with such a significant vision is why we set up Mosaic. We are thrilled that tray founders Rich, Ali and Dom chose Mosaic as their business partner to pursue this significant vision. In the companion Q&A, I spoke with them about their journey and their approach to building tray.
Additional Recent Posts from the Mosaic Ventures Team:
Q&A with Rich Waldron, CEO of tray.io- When I first met tray CEO Rich Waldron early in 2014, after an introduction from angel (and now VC) Andy McLoughlin, two things struck me. First, out of the 80 or so men in the cafe we’d picked near the Google Campus in Old Street we were the only two without full beards. Most of all, though, I was struck by how clearly he envisaged a future of easily connected SaaS services. Read More
More Than Traction — We’re often asked what we look for in a start-up. Traction with customers and users often matters, but it is not the only thing we look for. In this series of posts we look at the factors we think can make a great business, including aspects of traction, as well as the importance of your team and culture. Read More
The SaaS Startup KPI : In the rush to grab a piece of the $500bn software market, we see a lot of SaaS startups focusing almost entirely on marketing efficiency. Fine. You’ve found your customers, but what are you really doing for them? The sales pitch isn’t exactly the easy thing, but it is very far from being everything. As someone who started their career in software in the 90s, I remember the practice of selling empty ‘seat licenses’ to big enterprises that didn’t need half of them. Read More