API Management

RMark Bio: Why We Adopted an API-first Approach

In 2015, rMark Bio, Inc. set out to build a deep learning and analytics platform for the life sciences industry. Today, applications running on the CoRE Platform deliver real-time insights of global health data and prioritize strategic partnership recommendations for life science organizations.

To build our initial minimum viable product, we had four primary goals:

  1. Consistent access to global healthcare data
  2. Consistent access to customer health data
  3. Exposure to evolving insights and analytics
  4. Agile learning models that could be modified without disrupting application developers
Our platform needed be pliable enough to adapt to the changing needs of our clients and the changing accessibility of healthcare data. We decided to use an API-first development strategy in order to meet our goals. By launching our new features as microservices with API access, we could stitch together key portions of our application without having to wait for the complete development of the platform’s other components.

Watch my recent presentation with Apigee's Anant Jhingran at Google Cloud NEXT '17

Once we decided to focus on developing our API first, we knew we needed a third-party solution to help us build and support our APIs, and eventually manage the monetization. Partnering with Apigee enabled us to meet all of our needs while providing a unified interface to support our platform and services.

There are several advantages we realized by choosing to build our API in parallel with the complete application. An API-first strategy made it simple for us to optimize, extend, and even replace services of our application as needed. This meant any future developmental efforts could occur independently from one another, and it forced us to thoroughly document and test our processes from day one. Further, opportunities to monetize select data services also became apparent early on due to our API-first approach.

Like all startups, we had our fair share of challenges to overcome. Building our API first meant much of our early conversations centered on congruity of interfaces as much as they did on product features. Orchestrating all of the various moving parts proved to be yet another hurdle we would have to face, one that required careful organization and coordination. With the Apigee Edge platform, we were able to securely resolve these challenges while quickly scaling our services and applications.

In order to keep up with the dynamic needs of our customers, rMark Bio needed to hit the ground running as soon as we entered the market. Working together with Apigee not only gave us the tools to deploy a modern API in the cloud, but also provided us with insight into our performance and the ability to expand our platform when needed. As a startup, using an API-first strategy was critical in bringing our product to market to meet the immediate demands of life science companies and their employees.

Jason Smith is CEO and cofounder of rMark Bio, Inc., which was recently named one of the 10 most disruptive AI companies in Chicago. He's a leading-edge technologist and product executive with over 19 years of industry experience. Jason has held positions in early-stage companies, large multinational corporations, and venture capital incubators, and has driven the licensing of a wide variety of technologies and IP in the fields video, graphics architecture, processor design, and security.