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Apifier: Extract data from any website with a few lines of JS

Apifier

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What is Apifier?

Apifier is a hosted web crawler that enables anyone with elementary coding skills to extract structured data from any website using a few simple lines of JavaScript code.

It is for anyone who needs data from the web, be it a student doing a research project, company monitoring their competition or a startup building their new business.

Apifier can greatly simplify creating new price comparison websites, building new flight booking apps, analysis of real estate markets, product review aggregation, price arbitrage between online stores, personal weather notifications.

Who is your target user?

Anyone who needs data from the web, be it a student, journalist, startup or enterprise.

Why did you build Apifier?

In late 2014, we needed a web scraper for one of our consulting projects, but couldn’t find anything suitable. Therefore we decided to build a better scraper and it turned out people really liked it. Few months later, the project was selected with 32 others from 6500 applications to the inaugural Y Combinator Fellowship programme in August 2015. Apifier launched publicly in October 2015.

The web was designed for humans – the majority of websites do not provide a public API, which means that they cannot be directly used by apps. Apifier is hosted web scraper for developers that can turn any website into an API using a few lines of JavaScript.

How is this different from what is currently available?

Apifier is a hosted web crawler that enables developers to turn any website into an API. What makes this new business unique: Apifier can help anyone to extract data from any website

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

In late 2014, we needed a web scraper for one of our consulting projects. After a lot of research we realized we basically had the following options:

– tools that prefer UI instead of coding
– tools that enable scripting of your own web browser or desktop apps
– tools that treat websites as a set of plain HTML documents
– consulting companies that “do it for you”

but what we actually needed was a tool that:

– can crawl websites with arbitrarily complex or irregular structure
– is a cloud service interfaceable from apps
– can crawl dynamic websites (i.e. understand JavaScript)
– be simple to use and affordable enough even for small companies

Therefore we decided to build a better scraper and it turned out people really liked it.

Tell us about your founding team and their backgrounds.

Jan Čurn holds an MSc degree in computer science from Charles University in Prague and a PhD degree in artificial intelligence from Trinity College Dublin. Before founding Apifier, Jan used to build software for various companies including Oracle and co-founded VirtualRig™ Studio, a computer graphics software company.

Jakub Balada holds Ph.D. from the University of Economics in Prague where he adapted agile methods for complex environments. Before Apifier, Jakub spent time in Siemens as a solution architect and scrum master. Now using those skills to make sure Apifier will solve users’ needs.

Where can people find out more?

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/apifier
https://blog.apifier.com/our-experience-of-the-inaugural-y-combinator-fellowship-yc-f1-309cdcd021df#.aep3sxppd
https://blog.apifier.com/