API market Mashape raises $1.5M seed from mega investors

Mashape, an API marketplace catering to both application developers and providers, has raised a $1.5 million seed round from a who’s who of technology investors. New Enterprise Associates led the round, with Index Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Ignition Partners, Amazon.com (s amzn) CEO Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors also chipping in. Mashape’s marketplace is in the same vein as Apigee and Mashery, although with more of a community vibe.

Mashape describes its service, currently in private beta, as “a place to easily discover, manage and hack bada** APIs.” For developers, that means the ability to find and tinker with public APIs that will help them bolster whatever application they happen to be working on. For API creators, that means a channel through which to get their APIs in front of developers, and possibly to utilize Mashape’s API-management tools.

API adoption is critical for application providers, because it means the application is gaining traction. The more developers integrating a service’s API into their own applications, the broader the original service’s footprint and the more traffic to the original service itself.

However, as Apigee and Mashery have taught us, managing API usage is also very important because too many API calls or insecure practices can put a service at risk. Both services provide a wide variety of tools for securing, monetizing and analyzing API usage. At this point, Mashape is touting a couple of management features — billing and request limits — as well as auto-generated client libraries for numerous programming languages.

Maybe Mashape will add more management in the future, but for now, it appears more focused on building a community. Already, it claims more than 180 APIs in its marketplace. Mashape’s tactic suggests that while it recognizes the business opportunity inherent in APIs, it thinks they might be more like relationships, putting people ahead of profits. What do you think?

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user NatalieMaynor.