Why Webshell should get into Y-Combinator

Nov 29, 2012
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Y-Combinator, one of the most renowned startup accelerators in the world, is interviewing French startup Webshell today for the next season of their acceleration program. It’s a great opportunity for any startup to be selected for this program. With about a 3% acceptance rate, Webshell is facing tough odds. Let’s take a closer look at why Webshell would be a great fit for Y-Combinator.

The All-developer Team

Thibaud Arnault, the CEO of Webshell, and Arnaud Richard, are both developers with impressive technical skills and education. Mehdi Medjaoui, the business guy, has some great sales experience, has done several startups before, including a nano-tech one, and is an effective networker and knows how to talk to technical people in their own language.

So What’s an API? And what problem is Webshell solving?

So what is Webshell? To understand that, let’s take a look at what an API is, first. API’s are the building foundation of the modern Internet. They allows websites talk to each other ‘behind the scenes’ and exchange data. This technology has always been around in some form, but has really taken off recently as a game-changer in web innovation. Some limitations though: since it’s two websites talking to each other directly, and computers are still fairly dumb, if one of them changes something (for example, updates their API and renders certain functionalities obsolete), the other side (your product) breaks. Other issues are that they are harder to program for – testing involves both sides, and often they don’t speak the same language.

The Solution: Webshell

Webshell wants to improve the way you interact with the plethora of API’s around you as a web product owner, and also to improve discovery, by having a curated API store. What does that mean? That developers can save time by using Webshell, both when they create new functionality, and by improving the maintenance burden of existing functionality.

How They Do It

Webshell creates an execution environment where you can mix and match API’s from anywhere, both server and client side, using simple Javascript code. It’s like an IDE in the browser, with tons of API’s one line of code away. Any method you create becomes an exposed API method, so your app can start calling into their API. Since they shield you from the version changes of the underlying API’s, you’re saving a lot of time by not chasing that ever-moving target (think: the Facebook App API, the bane of every developer’s existence).

Why they should get into Y-Combinator

Though the odds are  long, Webshell has a solid technical product, a promising business model, and a fast-growing market – API coding is becoming a larger part of the development process. In a sense, it’s a bit early for them to apply to Y-Combinator, as they haven’t moved their solution into the cloud yet, which would allow them to have big-name clients. Why? No one will rely on a solution that’s not on a cloud platform. The good news is that they know it, and are moving onto the cloud as we speak, but it means they can’t name-drop cool client names during their interview. I, however, am convinced of their future success and am sure that Y-Combinator will see it in their interview!

Note: Webshell did not ask us for this article.