Announcing our investment in Pusher

Today its a pleasure to announce our latest investment into Pusher, alongside Heavybit and Passion Capital.

Pusher provides simple and scalable solutions to fix one of the fundamental challenges of the web — that of enabling realtime experiences in web and mobile applications.

Since its inception, the web has been primarily reactive rather than dynamic. You ask for a web page on your desktop or mobile browser, and in return you get a fairly static piece of information that sits and waits for your next request.

This was an acceptable solution in the early world of simple hyperlinked sites. But today it’s unfit for purpose. Today’s users demand, and expect, that sites and apps are not only up-to-the-microsecond updated, but also that they continue to update, even as they are being viewed. This is not a small challenge. But Pusher solves it by providing tools that allow anyone to push dynamic data into online experiences. Their platform today powers everything from live data updates to chat experiences and live text-syncing across devices, and is being used by leading global brands like The New York Times, Mailchimp, Intercom and Draft Kings.

What they do is no mean technical feat. While WebSockets, one of the web standards that Pusher utilises, has been around for a decade, making this technology work at scale has been a challenge for even the world’s largest software companies. To solve this, Pusher has built a unique back-end system, with a proprietary piece of infrastructure that deals with all the issues that arise when converting static websites into dynamic experiences. From security to latency, Pusher has built a powerful platform, internally known as Elements, that will enable them to grow beyond serving their already impressive 40 billion messages a day to over 8 billion devices worldwide.

Despite the complexity of building and maintaining this infrastructure, what we loved most about Pusher is how simple they have made their product. In client interviews the line ‘it just works’ came up every time. Much like other companies providing elegant API solutions, from Stripe in payments and Algolia in search, Pusher provides tools that abstract away all the complexity to provide a simple and powerful solution that indeed ‘just works’ — for over 200,000 developers across the world.

I’ve known the Pusher team for over 3 years, supporting the rather cliched phrase that VCs invest in lines not dots. We first came across them at Balderton when they were flagged by our internal tracking tool as one of the fastest growing API providers in Europe, and then discovered that a full one third of our portfolio companies not only used the service but were regularly attending Pusher meet-ups in London. They had done all of this without great fanfare and with only $1M in capital. And they have been growing profitably for years.

By relentlessly focussing on simplicity, scaleability and championing the large and growing market for developer tools, Pusher has built a category-defining service for developers to build realtime experiences, providing a better experience for billions of users. We’re excited to be part of that story.