By EILENE ZIMMERMAN The New York Times
In his spare time two years ago, Jarrett Streebin operated a gift-card reselling business that required his customers to send their gift cards to him. He wanted to give them preprinted, prepaid shipping labels to make the process easy, but it proved more complicated and took longer than he expected.
That’s because trying to integrate with carriers like the United States Postal Service or U.P.S. required an A.P.I. key — a code used to gain access to an application program interface. Getting that code, he said, required time and paperwork because helping small businesses integrate wasn’t a core focus for most shipping companies.
Tired of waiting, Mr. Streebin built his own A.P.I. and started a business around it, EasyPost, which allows businesses to integrate with carriers like the Postal Service, UP.S., Federal Express and DHL.
To develop the service, Mr. Streebin talked to lots of small-business owners with e-commerce stores to identify their postage and shipping pain points. “They said it was really hard to integrate the major carriers into their online stores,” he said. “They were copying and pasting addresses to create labels because you have to manually enter addresses.”
Their options were limited: They could hire a developer to integrate the services of carriers, which can be costly because it’s complicated. Or they could use an expensive software program. Mr. Streebin’s A.P.I. enabled the businesses to offer their customers address verification, rate information, customs forms, tracking and the ability to make a purchase.