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


A new company is breaking out of Stripe’s API rulebook with a platform that makes it easier for any company to create clear API documentation, while also allowing non-technical team members to contribute to the process.

Demo as part of the program Battlefield 200 Set at TC Disrupt this week, TechCrunch met with thennew to see how they plan to capture their share of the $4.5 billion API management market – a number that is expected to rise to nearly $14 billion in five years.

APIs, or “application programming interfaces,” are the glue that holds most modern software together. They allow Uber to deliver in-app messaging without building the entire infrastructure from scratch, and fitness apps to visualize your running history through maps and online merchants to support Stripe-powered payments. Internally, companies also create their own APIs to connect all kinds 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 is easy to use and approved by developers comes with inherent challenges. It’s not enough just to create an API – its features, functionality, and deployment instructions need to be recorded and presented in an easy-to-follow format. Getting the API documentation right is essential, and this is where Theneo hopes to make its mark.

Sample API documentation from Theneo. Image credits: thennew

Ribbon-like API docs

Anna Rubakids, co-founder and CEO of Theneo, said she has worked on hundreds of APIs in a previous role heading an engineering team, and has concluded that high-quality API documentation is often lacking.

“I personally witnessed the impact of API documentation on the delivery, cost and efficiency of our project,” said Robakidze. “As a result, as a team leader, I have spent a significant amount of time and effort researching a tool that would help us create excellent API documentation – similar to what Stripe has, as it is one of the best in the field. The problem with most tools is in It was too time-consuming or too restrictive.”

The root of the problem, according to Rubakidze, is that developers aren’t necessarily technical writers — they would much rather “create another API than document it,” she said. Thus, a lot of in-house APIs specifically (such as APIs designed to communicate internal corporate systems and applications) are either completely undocumented, or, if documented, are not synchronized and maintained as the API evolves. This problem is exacerbated as developers come and go within the company, often resulting in unwieldy clutter.

“Theneo was built through frustration, with the goal of making high-quality API documentation quick to create and easy to maintain,” said Robakidze.

With Theneo, developers connect their GitHub repository or upload their own API suite, Theneo will analyze everything and provide the required API documentation. It also provides an AI assistant that uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to improve documentation, including automatic description of various API attributes, which are basically parts of the API specification that developers need to request, send, and delete data, etc. . So a Create Client object, for example, has different attributes each with a definition so that the user (ie the developer) knows exactly what that attribute is for.

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

Theneo: Sample API document showing descriptions of fields/attributes. Image credits: thennew

While Theneo is designed to automate the process as much as possible, it’s clear that it won’t be giving away gift-wrapped API documentation entirely of its own volition – it acknowledges that developers and other team members will need to adjust layouts and wording, add more images or whatever they need.

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

While the engine that underlies Theneo is the same across internal and external APIs, the company does provide additional tools for the latter, acknowledging that third-party developers appreciate a slicker, easier-to-follow interface. So this basically amounts to a white label product that can be designed and branded according to the company’s 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 in the business plan. It also offers an enterprise plan that unlocks features like custom branding and the ability to self-host. It’s also working on a completely free version, though Robakidze said this wasn’t ready for prime time yet.

Theneo co-founder and CEO Anna Robakidze.


Built-in Y (YC) Graduation It has already raised $1.5 million in seed funding since its founding exactly a year ago, and confirmed this week that it is in the process of raising more funding. It also unveiled an updated documentation editor, described by Robakidze as something similar to “Figma for APIs,” designed for everyone involved in a software project to contribute, regardless of their technical prowess.

“We realized that there are many players when it comes to building APIs or API documents, and that it is critical that these users collaborate,” Rubakidze explained. “Similar to what Figma did in collaboration, the API Document Editor allows users to collaborate, so that managers and non-technical members can easily work together on content and produce high-quality documents.”

Robakidze said the company is largely open to working with any size and type of business, and it currently works with about 3,000 companies, covering everything from fintechs and government agencies to agriculture companies.

“Our biggest clients are fintech companies, and they usually have more than 20 developers,” said Robakidze.

It’s somewhat fitting that Theneo sees a special attraction within fintech, given that he’s looking to emulate One of the biggest startups in the fintech field in the last decade. Stripe is known for its payment processing API that is used by startups and big tech companies alike, including Google and Amazon, and the documentation it provides plays a role in why developers like it.

“One of the reasons I love working on Stripe integration is that their API documentation is very well organized, has a well thought out user interface, and generally makes it easy for developers to get the information they need to integrate with them,” Rubakidze said when I was working on alternatives. For Stripe, it often took me twice as long due to how difficult it was to navigate and locate necessary API information. Developers love Stripe API documentation, so we wanted to make sure other companies and developers could create the same high-quality documentation.”

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