As a cheeky response to the "full-stack" startup, USV has coined the term "no-stack" startup to label the bevy of companies creatively using multiple APIs and platforms to stitch together a unique service. Instead of being good at many things, no-stack startups focus on perfectly delivering the last mile of value. Payment companies such as Stripe now offer well-documented APIs at a cheap or free price point, enabling developers to instantly have access to robust core functionality. There is a fair amount of risk involved, however, as no-stack startups often rely heavily on a single third-party platform such as Twitter or LinkedIn that can unexpectedly pull the rug from under them.
Thanks to APIs, a new generation of startups that are built almost entirely on third-party APIs is emerging. Dubbed "No Stack Startups" by venture capitalist Andy Weissman of Union Square Ventures, these nascent companies "focus on the last mile of value they provide, the one thing they can excel at better than anyone else." The plumbing required to do that is left to other services.