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Ngrok, a platform for developers to launch websites, services, and apps, raises $50 million

Alan Shreve will tell you that he established Ngrok in order to address a challenging infrastructure issue he ran into while working at Twilio. Ngrok is a service that enables developers to share websites and applications that are running on their local computers or servers. As an engineer there, Shreve was working without a properly suited development environment on webhooks, which are automated notifications delivered from apps when something occurs. This slowed down the deployment procedure.

His response was Ngrok. With Ngrok, an open source package that evolved into a distributed platform, developers can deliver apps in the same way whether they’re deployed to the public cloud, serverless platforms, their own data center, or Internet of Things devices. Ngrok aims to consolidate different networking technologies into a single layer.

 

Ngrok today disclosed that it had secured $50 million in a Series A round headed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Coatue, after operating solely on its own funds for seven years. Shreve tells TechCrunch that Ngrok would expand operations and “make continued investments” to enhance its main product line with the new funding.

“Developers stitch together a variety of open source initiatives, in-house proxy layers, and mix them with various cloud-specific services from providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and content delivery networks like Cloudflare. To deploy their applications, developers must install unnecessary low-layer networking resources like IP addresses, DNS, VPNs, and firewalls, Shreve told TechCrunch in an email interview. Developers can avoid that complexity thanks to Ngrok.

Ngrok fronts web services that are running on local development machines, in clouds, private networks, or other networks as a “reverse proxy” for apps and services. By giving an internet-accessible address that anybody can access and connecting the other side of the “tunnel” to functionality that is operating locally, it grants developers internet access to private systems that are often protected by a firewall.

Ngrok effectively enhances existing apps with connection, security, and observability capabilities without requiring any code modifications, including encryption and load balancing. Developers can create demo websites without needing to deploy their apps by using Ngrok to deploy or test apps against a development backend. Alternately, they can connect remotely to private cloud software and access internet of things devices out in the field.

“When developers create applications and APIs, they must make them available to users online. The application delivery service, Ingress, is what makes your service securely accessible to its users. The entrance to Ngrok is [an] application, according to Shreve. The way application developers create software has fundamentally altered. Many new APIs and apps are now available thanks to serverless platforms, microservice designs, and other industry changes, all of which require their own ingress in various circumstances.

In fact, Shreve seems to have understood it (I’ll excuse me now), as the number of developers using Ngrok has increased to five million, with 30,000 of those users being paying clients. Despite Shreve’s refusal to provide specific income data, he claimed that revenue had “doubled” from the previous year, in part because of well-paying customers including Databricks, Zendesk, Copado, Klaviyo, and SonarSource.

Ngrok contends, in part, with well-funded businesses like Tailscale, ZeroTier, Netmaker, and Nebula from Defined Networking. For its mesh networking technology, which can be placed on a single server and utilized as a way to share software applications, Tailscale raised $100 million in May.

But as far as Shreve is concerned, he didn’t make it clear.

“The majority of businesses oversee 200 to 1,000 apps. At that scale, faster app delivery makes a difference since it keeps developers’ attention on solving actual business challenges rather than worrying about networking issues, according to Shreve. Developers can deliver their work more quickly by building on top of a single solution across all of these platforms thanks to Ngrok’s API-first ingress as a service platform.

Guru Chahal of Lightspeed Venture Partners continued, “More developers are entering the field and creating more apps, the majority of which will be made available online as software-as-a-service offerings. Currently, this requires a complicated combination of networking and security technologies, which is costly, time-consuming to operate, and, quite frankly, does not scale. We made an investment in Ngrok because it is addressing this issue. Ngrok radically streamlines the process of distributing programs to people online. With one click or one line of code, a developer may securely and scaleably distribute their program to customers.

Ngrok now has 59 employees working remotely and at company headquarters in Seattle and San Francisco. It has open positions.

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