Secure, scalable, frictionless access to web apps — Why Lightspeed invested in ngrok

Loved by millions of developers, ngrok’s ingress-as-a-service platform empowers developers to deliver their apps to any user anywhere with security, scalability and observability built-in.

Several years ago, I was looking for an easy-but-secure way to remotely access the servers and apps I maintain in my home lab. (Yes, I still haven’t moved to the cloud 🙂) That’s when I discovered, and fell in love with, ngrok.

Accessing apps on private servers or the public cloud usually involves a complex stew of technologies: VPNs, dynamic DNS, authentication services, and so on. Configuring them so they all work in concert can be an enormous hassle.

Ngrok, by contrast, works with a single line of code inserted in your app or a lightweight ngrok agent installed on your server. The ngrok platform then serves as the ingress to an application, instantiating a series of services essential to delivering web apps in a safe, secure, scalable manner. It inspects the traffic to each app, authenticates users, and encrypts the data and can also perform load balancing to reduce latency and improve performance. Finally, it enables real time visibility into network and application performance.

It turns out that providing one-click access to applications from anywhere in the world, in a simple and secure way, was a popular idea. Since 2016, when Alan Shreve made ngrok available as an open source project as well as a service, the technology has been adopted by more than 30,000 organizations and 5 million developers at some of the most iconic companies on the planet. What’s even more remarkable is that ngrok has been entirely bootstrapped from the start. ngrok spent $0 on marketing — word of mouth carried it to profitable growth thanks to the strong community of users!

Now, with Lightspeed leading its $50 million first round of funding, ngrok is ready to take the next big leap — Providing an expanded set of application ingress services for developers.

A huge and growing market

ngrok’s goal is to empower developers to deliver applications to any user, anywhere in the world, securely and quickly.

Every day, millions of apps are delivered to billions of users. For many organizations, that means weeks of configuring load balancers, VPNs, DNS, access control policies, network observability platforms, and so on. Using ngrok’s platform, developers can instead deliver their applications instantly.

The number and sophistication of these applications will only increase over time. The complex dance of networking and security technologies required to make them work in a timely fashion will only grow more complicated. It’s expensive, time consuming, and difficult to scale. At some point, the app delivery system will begin to break down.

ngrok is addressing a large market opportunity with current spend in the space approaching the $15B+ range and growing quickly. And while there are a handful of technologies addressing different aspects of this challenge, none offer the simplicity, elegance, and robust feature set of the ngrok platform.

ngrok is at the intersection of three key secular trends: (1) Software development is more accessible than ever thanks for technologies like AI-assisted coding, which leads to an exponential rise in the number of developers, (2) vast majority of applications, from web apps to IoT, being developed are delivered/used over the internet, and (3) increasingly empowered dev teams are looking for low-friction ways to ensure secure, scalable app delivery. We believe ngrok is in an excellent position to serve this rapidly growing market.

ngrok is the future of web app ingress

Applications of the future demand greater simplicity, security, and scalability. ngrok provides all of that and more, enabling developers to instantly deliver applications to any user anywhere, while ensuring their apps are secure, observable, and highly performing.

At Lightspeed, we believe the ngrok platform represents the future of web app delivery, the first ingress-as-a-service platform. We are excited to partner with this exceptional team as they build and scale the ngrok application ingress cloud — Thank you team ngrok for the opportunity!

To read more about the platform, here are a couple of links that go into more details:

If you are excited by ngrok’s vision, the team is hiring across all major functions: https://ngrok.com/careers. And if you are a developer interested in a simple, secure, scalable way to connect your applications with your users, check out the platform and share your feedback with the team — they’d love to work with you!

Lightspeed Possibility grows the deeper you go. Serving bold builders of the future.