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An interview with Abhinav Asthana, Founder and CEO – Postman

Abhinav Asthana

API (Application Programming Interface), the programming logic to access web-based applications, works as the foundation for any web or mobile application. All the applications are powered by specialized APIs for specific functions.

We recently interviewed Abhinav Asthana, Founder and CEO – Postman, to learn about API development, how Postman helps developers in entire lifecycle of designing, building, testing, and monitoring of APIs, and more.

1. Young guys founding a startup! Seems like a college-life story. Please tell us how did it all start? What inspired you to start the company?

During my time at Yahoo, I met Ankit Sobti, the Co-founder and CTO of Postman. We were building a front-end architecture of an app. At that time testing APIs was a pain. There were a lot of communication issues with different teams. We thought of making the problem simpler but being first-time engineers we didn’t work on the problem then.

Soon, I went ahead to build TeliportMe, where again I was building APIs and found that the problems existed across the board. Ankit went to ISB and after that went to Mumbai for work. It was during my spare time at TeliportMe, I created the prototype of the first Postman app. At that time, I had built the product primarily for myself, and finding that it worked well, I decided to put it up on the Chrome webstore as an open-source REST client. The app gained popularity in a very short time. This gave the founders the encouragement to take this up full-time.

2. From a free app in 2012 to becoming one of the most popular apps on Chrome store, how has Postman changed over the years?

The free app gained a lot of following and soon after that investor interest. In 2014, we started the company to support the free app and develop more extensive features for a SaaS product, now known as Postman Pro (introduced in 2016), and Postman Enterprise (introduced in 2018). We have grown from a 3-member team to a 70-member team in 2 different locations (SF and Bangalore). Postman has come a long way, in terms of product, its users and team.

3. Tell us about the premium versions of Postman-Postman Pro and Postman Enterprise.

Postman Pro and Enterprise are for professional collaboration and power usage. Most of the functionalities are available for free but with limitations. Pro and Enterprise helps teams solve that problem based on their own use case.

With Postman Pro, a user can create beautiful documentations, publish their collections, monitor uptime, responsiveness and correctness.

Postman Enterprise was launched to meet the exclusive needs of large enterprises and offers features like single sign-on, dedicated support, access control, audit logs.

4. Postman is a complete API development environment. How?

Postman is designed for the entire lifecycle of designing, building, testing, and monitoring your APIs. It’s packed with all the features to support every stage of API development, and benefits developers working individually, collaborating in small teams or industry leading enterprises. Postman is an integral part of API development in the best technology teams in the world, including Atlassian, VMware, PayPal, and Docusign.

5. You recently released Postman 6.2. What’s new in the latest version of Postman app?

We are very excited about this release as we’ve made Postman Teams available to free users, to help make API development and collaboration even easier. Previously, Postman Teams were only available with Postman’s paid plans; now, all users can invite their colleagues to a Postman team. Postman 6.2 also strengthens collaboration for all teams with the addition of sessions & session variables — which provide additional security and flexibility when collaborating on shared collections.

6. What is Postman API Network? How does it help API developers?

Postman API network is the most authentic collection of APIs currently published. In simple words, it makes your API discoverable. Thousands of developers are already using Postman to share private and public collections. With the help of our beautiful documentation, Run in Postman button and option to publish to the API network, they can create a brand for their team or the collection.

We have about 200 collections across 10 categories that can be imported into your Postman instance just with a click of a button so it’s very easy consumption. We also recently launched a self-serve feature where developers can submit their APIs directly to the API Network so it’s very easy onboarding to the network.

7. Is Postman integrated with any other development tools?

We have recently made teams free and we are receiving a lot of positive feedback from the community for this. This gives teams a great opportunity to start collaborating on the free plan and upgrade to Pro when they reach the need. The Pro plan is for teams and companies who require advanced integrations, Pro API access and higher rate limits. The Enterprise plan is for companies who want SSO, strong auditing features and dedicated support.

8. What is Newman?

Newman is Postman’s open-source tool to run and test collections directly from the command line. It allows you to run and test a Postman Collection directly from the command line. It is built with extensibility in mind so that you can easily integrate it with your continuous integration servers and build systems.

9. How does Postman take care of security of data, software, and infrastructure?

We take security with utmost seriousness. Our infrastructure is hosted mostly on AWS and we make thorough use of all the security measures that AWS comes with, including DDoS mitigation. Our security operations team continuously test and monitor our apps, platform and tools for security holes.  We have set up detailed processes for handling security breaches in case they are found or reported by someone outside the organisation. We also try to be as transparent as possible and our latest service status is available on status.getpostman.com.

10. How will you define your company in 3-6 words?

A complete API Development Environment

11. Do you remember your first paying customer and revenue expectations then?

Postman was launched as a fun project and there was no immediate goal of monetizing it as it was solving a very simple problem at that time. We were just focused on making the product as effective as possible. But the community was so excited to have this product, that a team from US sent us $500 to keep up the good work! This was the first time we made any money through Postman.

12. Wrapping up, any new product or updates coming up this year?

We have plans for many features to enhance the developer’s API development experience. Key initiatives include support for multi-team collaboration, GraphQL, and OpenAPI. We keep a trello highlighting upcoming efforts, (https://trello.com/b/4N7PnHAz/postman-roadmap-for-developers), as well as a list of issues (github.com/postmanlabs/postman-app-support/issues ), and feature requests (https://github.com/postmanlabs/postman-app-support/issues?q=is%3Aopen+is%3Aissue+label%3AFeature) on Github.

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