Agora (API) cursory glance ... TWLO meets LLNW

New IPO, Agora (API), is pretty easy to describe. Take the API building blocks of Bandwidth (BAND) or Twilo (TWLO), that developers can hook into their apps. Then overlay a video streaming global edge network like Limelight (LLNW) or Fastly (FSLY). That sounds like a pretty awesome combination right there! Then take that great big bundle of potential that you got swirling in your brain right now, and base it in China. Hey now, that changes everything.

Unlike Limelight, it’s top line is blazing hot at 166%… off a pretty small base. But at first glance it does seem like a company that is taking off huge. It is a video platform with SDKs that act as building blocks for apps to integrate video and audio, that is then distributed across the globe on an edge network of 200 POPs.

So if you like insanely priced next-gen tech hypergrowth companies that are based in China, take a good look at this one, as Limelight over Video Communications APIs sounds like a good idea. But personally, I tend to shy away that area given the rampant fraud and CPC’s hooks into tech companies. But it is one to watch, for sure.

Agora (API)

(S-1 as foreign entity, aka Chinese)

Agora seems like the “Twilio of China”, with the content delivered over an edge network with 200 POP locations.

It has what it calls a Real-Time Engagement Platform-as-a-Service" (RTE-PaaS), which is a set of software modules for developers to embed real-time engagement capabilities into an application. These may include “video and audio capturing, rendering, pre- and post-processing, encoding and decoding, packet loss compensation, as well as first- and last-mile transmission”.

So basically it is a developer-friendly platform to embed real-time video and voice functionalities into applications, and is a competitor to Twilio and Bandwidth.

  • presence in both China (Shanghai) and USA (Silicon Valley)
  • developer-facing service (bottom-up go-to-market)
  • employs a freemium business model, offering 10K free minutes per mo, charges after that
  • as of Mar 2020, has 1176 active custs
  • has been impacted by pandemic in business operations (obtaining bandwidth, colo space, servers)
  • risk factor to how much traction it can get in US, being a China-based communications company

Revenue 64.4M +48%
Loss -6.2M

Revenue 35.6M +166% ^^ !!
Loss -36.9M (vs -700K)
Cash 152M


  • Voice Call
  • Video Call
  • Live Interactive Audio Streaming
  • Live Interactive Video Streaming
  • Recording (in cloud or on-prem)

Those are all pretty easy to understand - it gives you building blocks to immediately embed these features into your existing applications.

New product lines:

  • Real-time messaging
  • Software-defined real-time network (SD-RTN)

This is where it starts to get interesting. Their edge network has been situated as a “Real Time Network” to help deliver high-quality live audio/video streaming performance globally.

They claim it has benefits over Content Delivery Network (CDN), Software Defined-Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) and cloud networking services like AWS Cloudfront, with its special emphasis on real-time audio/video capabilities and ultra-low latency.

no position, just putting it on the radar