Captain Underpants and the Incredible Magic Quadrant

There’s an anecdote I like to tell our new hires when they start with us here at Tyk…

When Tyk was first launched as an open source API Gateway project, and it was more a side project than a globe-spanning enterprise, I distinctly remember trying to pitch Tyk, via teleconference, to a very unimpressed VP-of-Engineering at a major US retailer.

The whole time I was thinking to myself: “do not get up, do not get up, whatever you do, do not get up!

I was obviously nervous, fidgeting with our pitch deck and fumbling my way through a feature demo like a teenager backstage at an Aerosmith concert.

Of course, the real reason I was so nervous was because I was just wearing my one well-pressed shirt, mismatched socks, and underpants.

There I was, sitting in frame newscaster-style, trying to show this multi-billion dollar company that they should totally adopt my software, whilst not exposing myself or the fact that I had only just managed to get up and dressed for this call.

(In my defence, it was 5am in the morning – I don’t usually go around half-dressed, though I do have a distinct dislike of long trousers and shoes.)

You’ll be happy to know that this blog post was written fully clothed.

Tyk API Management: From underpants to Gartner Magic Quadrant in 2 years

When telling this story to the team, the point we try and make is not that the CEO has a disconcerting penchant for being partially clothed, or that I’m not a morning person, but that Tyk came from very little, and has achieved much in its short two-year journey.

Today, we achieved another milestone that I’m incredibly proud of: Tyk has been recognised in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management* – and we are ******* stoked.

More importantly, we’re grateful to our many satisfied customers for contributing their feedback to the Gartner team – it’s quite a long process, and we know it takes time out of your busy schedules to help us out. You’re the real MVP’s.

This has come at a really exciting time in the API space, where once again, the sands are shifting. Not only are we seeing shifts from cloud-provisioned servers to clustered, mesh-networked applications, but also seeing a whole new style of engineering team emerge that is driving how software will be developed in future.

Call this disruption? We’re only just getting started

At this point in a self-congratulatory post like this I am meant to wax lyrical about the amazing benefits Tyk brings, and how we’re changing the world with our awesome take on API Management…

I’m just going to nip that in the bud right here.

We’ve not even begun to shake things up.

Tyk started off as a very specific solution to a very specific problem, and solved that problem well – but Tyk isn’t about “just APIs”, we’re not “just” an API management platform.

We here at Tyk aren’t setting out to disrupt API Management, or develop change programs that synergise buzzwords for pointy-haired managers (excuse me while I vomit a little).

No, we’re the underdog, we’re the rebellion, we’re Luke-f***ing-Skywalker and the return of the Jedi!


Our purpose, in fact a guiding principle at Tyk, is to change the way we create new applications and services. Not just how we enable them, but how we provide the foundations of what it means to create web-scale systems in a multi-screen, multi-client, fake-news, AI-powered world.

That may sound rather ambitious for a guy that started a company pitching in his underpants – but if we don’t do it, who will?

So where does that leave us?

Our view on API Management, at least in the medium term, is to ensure that our customers have access to the best tools and resources to enable their API strategies: be that via our direct investment into our Open Source API Gateway, our flexible API Analytics stack through our Open Source API Analytics Pump, or our user-friendly and industry leading API Management Dashboard.

Tyk is very engineering focussed, we do not deploy professional service consultants to tell you the time on your watch. What we do – and do well – is provide tooling that helps future-proof your services and to build reactive components that fit in with what is invariably a developer-centric ecosystem.

I mentioned earlier that engineering teams are changing, from monolithic single-stack applications to multi-language, multi-platform microservice architectures (and even this term is evolving).

We’ve been keeping pace with this development, and are the only API Platform to offer full multi-language extension support.

Our focus is on ensuring that developers now, and in future, have the platforms they need to build out the applications of tomorrow. APIs are at the core of that, but what shape those APIs will take is a constantly moving target.

Rant over

(If you made it this far into the rant – congratulations. I am told I am a liability.)

To sign off – I would once again like to personally thank our team, and all our devoted customers that have made it possible for us to be placed in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management* in two short years.

It’s been an incredible journey so far, and we’re only just getting started.

Peace out (and remember to always wear pants).


*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management, Paolo Malinverno & Mark O’Neill, 30 April 2018. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.