Zapier CEO Wade Foster on the future of API SaaS

Whether by design or by chance, Zapier has found itself at the center of the unbundling of SaaS and rise of API-based solutions. Enabling code-free integrations between over 800 apps (including ChartMogul), it’s clear why this is the case — Zapier empowers employees across the world to scale their output and effectiveness to new levels. I spoke to Co-Founder and CEO Wade Foster to understand what made him pursue this way back in 2011.

Here’s a conversation I’ve been excited to bring you for a long time. Zapier is a highly innovative company in many ways — from distributed employees to a distinct lack of large funding — yet CEO Wade Foster takes a pragmatic, practical approach to growing the business.

So how Zapier go from a bootstrapped product with a handful of integrations to the “glue” that so many businesses rely on save hours of time and connect the increasing number of platforms in their workflow stack?

Zapier: The facts

  • Founded 2011
  • YCombinator S12 alum
  • >1M registered users
  • 800+ integrated apps
  • ~25K paying customers
  • >35 employees
  • 100% remote employee base
  • Cashflow positive for over 2 years
  • Only raised $1M

Listen to the episode

“The toughest thing in remote [companies] is when knowledge is hidden, so try not to hide what you know.”

In this chat we cover a wealth of topics, including:

  • How the company was started
  • Was the rise of unbundled web services something Wade saw early on?
  • What are the challenges in building a business on top of other platforms, relying on partnerships?
  • How Wade “brute-forced” growth of the Zapier platform in the early days
  • How the team approach Marketing a product that’s not inherently visual, and is effectively “invisible” once set up?
  • Whether the Freemium model is critical for the growth of Zapier
  • What kind of metrics they use internally to measure the success of Zapier
  • What the team consider their “compass metric”

…And a lot more, of course! Listen to the full episode below.

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Ed Shelley

Former Director of Content


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