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ReadMe (YC W15) Raises 9M Series A from Accel and Y Combinator (techcrunch.com)
63 points by iMuzz 46 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments



> Prior to today’s funding announcement, the company had taken just a $1.2 million seed round in 2014. Today, it reports 3,000 paying customers and that it has been profitable for the last several years

Well there is something you don't see every day.

I'm impressed by how far they've come. If in 2015 you told me you're starting a company that helps companies customize their API documentation, I would have marked you as a particularly shiny unicorn.


Founder here! I know funding news isn't always a match for HN, but I'm glad someone posted it here since HN is where it all started.

Here's our launch, if anyone wants to go back and look: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8422408


Congrats on the raise. Interesting to use to API logs to provide better debugging and support. Can you give an example?


Thanks Sid!

Let's say you get back an error. We've made it so the API creator can link in the response to a unique page in the docs, where they'll see their actual API log. They can see exactly what the server saw and returned, replay the request, and more. If an error code is returned, the API creator can write out what the error means and how to fix it.

If that's not enough, they can open a support ticket on ReadMe, and include the logs that seem broken. That way, both sides are looking at the same API logs, and know things like what SDK is being used or if the data is URL encoded properly.

Lastly, we're going to build tools that are more proactive. Like, if a customer is getting a certain threshold of errors in production, we'll make it easy to trigger an email to them with a warning.


Guess what's going to be part of the next GitLab release...


Nice, that could be really useful. Bringing back hypermedia to programming interfaces.


Also, we're hiring! https://readme.com/careers

Engineers, support, solutions engineer, dev evangelist, content writer (with a technical background), and more! If you don't see the right job, email greg@readme.io!


Hey Greg! I don’t know if you remember, but one time we got I think third place at an RIT hackathon.

It was really cool to find out that you were the founder of readme after hearing about it (and asking for the budget to buy it). Congratulations on the Series A!!


FYI, this link I found somewhere redirects to a 404:

http://readme.io/home


Fixed, thank you!

We think we used that URL when we submitted to HN a few years ago because the root domain had already been submitted: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6397526 (I ended up offering to pay for it!)


kudos!


I've read pretty much everything on the site and between the high level marketing speak and generic wireframes, I have no idea what it does or what problem it actually solves. There's even a link if you hover over about that says "Learn about why we exist". I thought for sure that would have something, but it's just a list of all the employees. It looks like the only way to figure out what it actually does is to sign up.

If had come across their site without any context I would have assumed it was a generic marketing site template that needed to be filled in. I'm sorry for being so negative, but I am interested in documentation related technology and it bugs me that I can't for the life of me figure out what this is after seing things posted about it on Hackernews for the last few years.


Hey! We do API documentation, plus a bunch of other tools. All the logos are click-able (for example: https://developers.intercom.com/) if you want an example.

So, basically, we sit at developer.whatever.com, and take care of everything from reference guides to marketing pages to tutorials to support forums. If you have any more questions or feedback, feel free to email me at greg@readme.io!

We're always updating the homepage, so we'll definitely do our best to make it more clear in the future!


Cool product, but +1 on better links. I’d definitely add a big demo button on the homepage. I just wanted to see how the docs look, but flipped through 3 pages and couldn’t find a single real screenshot or link. Finally just went to Trello’s docs myself to see an example.

Also, the company logos don’t appear at all on an iPad in portrait mode.


Thanks, I think I understand now. I honestly would have never guessed those were clickable without hovering. All I did was scroll. I didn't move the cursor so I also didn't notice the image change on mouse over.


Did you go to the products page? Not questioning what you said at all just curious how deep you dug (obvs apex should have the info you were missing), but as someone that is pretty familiar with their offering and someone that has hosted api docs and sdk documentation through other sources their copy and marketing is on point for me - and the marketer/founder in me wants to know where the disconnect happened for you.


Yes. It was pretty much the first thing I read actually. It makes a little more sense after a re-read. I still have no idea why there are snippets of code at the top telling me how to make a POST request. Anyway, I'm a developer, so when I evaluate something I'm very focused on "how do I use this for real in production and how much pain is it going to cause me?"

So what I usually do first thing is go look for the documentation. When I clicked on "documentation" the first time I expected documentation. It's under the "Products" section at the top and bottom of the page, and that can be interpreted as "product documentation" or "documentation for the product". But as you know, it's the marketing page for a product called "Documentation".

On that page I couldn't really get any more information other than "Easy to Update Within Seconds - Sync your Swagger file, update content in our editor, or merge a suggested edit to make sure docs are always up to date."

I'm not sure what this means. Is this a manual process I have to do or do you have an API call I can hook into my build system?

Is having a Swagger or OpenAPI file a requirement? If not, what's the alternative?

How does the changelog work? Do you read it out of a git repo or manage it on the site?

I have more questions along those lines and I think some screenshots or documentation for actually using the readme documentation product would help a lot.


Thanks for the feedback! We can work to make these answers more obvious on the site, but in the meantime:

> I'm not sure what this means. Is this a manual process I have to do or do you have an API call I can hook into my build system?

We do have an API and a CLI tool for automating, or you can sync it in the UI.

> Is having a Swagger or OpenAPI file a requirement? If not, what's the alternative?

Nope, we have a manual editor in the UI for describing your API!

> How does the changelog work?

It's just a blog mostly, but with icons for different types of changes

> Do you read it out of a git repo or manage it on the site?

Everything is on the site, since locking it in git makes it tougher for non technical coworkers to make changes. That being said, you can sync it to git. We have built in page history, versioning, and our own version of pull requests called "suggested edits".

> I have more questions along those lines and I think some screenshots or documentation for actually using the readme documentation product would help a lot.

You can see your docs at https://docs.readme.com

Thanks for the detailed feedback!


> You can see your docs at https://docs.readme.com

Not _your_ docs, right? lol I think this demonstrates well some of the copy confusion.


Good to know - maybe some more prominent case studies with links to the real generated end product would be helpful.

The placeholder mockups are a pretty generic side menu / text content area and adding in an Intercom or Trello logo doesn't really clarify what is being mocked.

Definitely some internal vernacular being used in the copy, too. What is a developer hub? Again the mockups dont' clarify much.

100% agree after a second glance the use of "Documentation" as a product is confusing when you consider 99/100 saas/tech companies have a documentation page for _their_ docs. Maybe something like "Hosted Documentation" or "<Your Company's> Documentation" would work. Thanks for the thoughtful response.


Big reason why Readme really didn't work for us was because - we wanted one secured internal knowledge base and one external knowledge base but that was not easily supported. Also we needed integration with Zendesk because we wanted to re-direct customers to our KB but that was not easily done.


Feel free to reach out to greg@readme.io if you're still interested!

You can have multiple projects, and the internal ones can be secured in a variety of ways (OAuth, site-wide password, admins only).

As for Zendesk, we have an integration (the little modal popup thingy), or you can disable our support forums and redirect any sub-URL to Zendesk!

It still might not be the right fit, however I'd love to talk more if you have feedback or thoughts!


[you're right]


$100 is 1/50th of a $5,000 per month employee. From looking at your business from the website in your profile it feels like high quality API docs could speed up many members of the team.

It's hard to evaluate situations from the outside so I could also be totally off. At Jungle Disk we consume a ton of tools and they are all easily positive ROI. Good people are hard to find and expensive vs. SaaS subscriptions.


Where on God’s green earth do you have a $5,000 per month employee writing API documentation?


I'm not sure if your reaction is because it's high or low!

WIt's not just writing. ReadMe doesn't write anything for you. You'd have to build the "platform" before anything is actually written.

But $5k/mo works out to be a ~$30k salary after taxes.


Because it’s low of course. You actually have $60k employees who can write API docs?




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