What do you do when you’re a consumer apps company with apps that never hit the big-time, but whose development forced you to solve the same problems over and over again? Well, if you’re Border Stylo (makers of Glass, Retrollect, and Trivia Together), you turn your knowledge of developers’ needs for backend infrastructure into your new business.
And that’s exactly what Border Stylo is doing with its new company called Spire.io, which has been working on the idea of “serverless” apps. The company launched its first realtime messaging API in beta this January, and is today rolling out its second addition, an identity service for web and mobile.
Founded in 2008, Border Stylo had taken in around $7 million in funding, which is now helping the team pivot spinoff into Spire.io. The same investors are in the new company, too: Eric Bergasa of Tagua Capital and Francisco Ortiz Von Bismarck. Over the years, Border Stylo had built up its engineering team, and had created an infrastructure to help build their apps.
“We were getting good at the engineering side, but were having trouble really nailing it in terms of the actual product design,” explains Spire.io CTO Dan Yoder. “One of the things we began to realize is that we were building the same things over and over again, or we would build things so that we wouldn’t have to build them over and over again. And when we were done, we looked at it and said, ‘hey, this might make sense as a product all by itself’ – so other startups don’t always have to build out messaging, and login, and so on,” he says. And then, the realization: “let’s build the picks and shovels, instead of panning for gold.”
So what does Spire.io actually do? It’s a backend service provider, but its emphasis is on so-called “serverless” apps.
“We see the world creating truly server-less applications, where developers do not need to worry about building/maintaining/updating backends,” explains Spire.io CEO Diego Prats. “Most competitors are doing point solutions (they may do real-time messaging for apps) or they may be device-centric (backends for mobile), but to truly create a serverless world, our infrastructure must support web and mobile,” he says. “Consumers want products to work on their iPad and desktop, they don’t care about different backends. We want to help companies be closer to their consumer and eliminate some of the engineering complexity. We want apps to worry about what matters (consumer experience) and let us worry about the rest.”