The 4 most popular paragon alternatives

The embedded iPaaS approach of Paragon focuses on low-code product integrations. But not all integrations are suitable for it. In this article we present 4 popular alternatives to Paragon.

Robin Guldener
July 15, 2024
5
min read

Embedded iPaaS are promising at first glance: They appear to give you a great trade-off between control over the integrations and abstracting away API specific differences.

The pre-built authentication, integrations infrastructure, and workflow steps take care of many of the difficulties of working with external APIs. At the same time, you retain full flexibility over how integrations work and the data they exchange.

Even better, the low-code/no-code aspect of embedded iPaaS promises to democratize integration creation and maintenance. Not just engineers, but anybody on the product team can now build, maintain and change them.

In reality, embedded iPaas don’t always deliver on these promises.

Despite low-code/no-code, (almost) all integrations still need to be written by engineers
A key value proposition of Paragon is that anybody can write an integration, not just engineers. In reality, we see this rarely works. You still need to have deep knowledge of the data model (both your own and the external API), consider edge cases, and feel comfortable with API requests. Usually this is something only engineers have in the company.

No-code/low-code is a bad development experience
For developers, writing code in a UI is not as nice an experience as writing it in an IDE. The workflow logic in the UI is also not connected to your code and deployment process, so it needs to be separately managed and deployed. We see developers often like the pre-built parts of embedded iPaaS, but don’t like the low-code/no-code aspect of it.

Workflow steps only cover a small part of the supported APIs
A lot of the value of Paragon is in the pre-built workflow steps, which abstract away parts of the API. But because Paragon has to pre-build each, they only cover a small fraction of the API’s endpoints.
If your use case is not covered by the pre-built steps you have to write custom API requests from scratch in Paragon. This is something only developers can do, and for them the UI is not a great development experience.

After understanding these shortcomings of Paragon, let's take a look at the most popular alternatives to Paragon.

Paragon Alternative 1: Nango

Nango is a unified API you can extend & customize

Nango is an open-source unified API for product integrations.
It has pre-built integrations for 200+ APIs, and you can extend & customize integrations on the platform.

All integrations are available through a single API: One way to run auth, fetching data from APIs and writing data back.

Similar to Paragon, Nango gives you full access to the API and you can build any direct integration you need.

But there are four major differences to Paragon:

  1. Nango has pre-built integration use cases: E.g. sync contacts from Salesforce or post notifications to Slack. This lets you get started fast and only customize and extend integrations when you need to.
  2. Nango supports unified APIs: Integrate once with Nano and support multiple integrations with the same API. This is not possible with Paragon.
  3. Nango's catalogue of pre-built integrations is larger, and grows faster, thanks to its open-source approach and community of 1,600+ engineers.
  4. Nango's development experience puts engineers first: End-to-end type safety, integrations are version controlled and native data syncs make building integrations faster

The drawback is that without a no-code/low-code interface it is difficult for non-engineers to change and build integrations.

When to Choose Nango Instead of Paragon?

Nango might be a better solution for you if:

  • You want to avoid building integrations one by one with each API, where possible
  • Your engineering team is looking to build with code, instead of a drag & drop UI
  • You need to continuously synchronize data with the external APIs (e.g. contacts from Salesforce)
  • You do not want to be constrained by an external provider in the APIs and integrations you can build in the future

Key Figures on Nango

  • Number of supported APIs: 200+
  • Number and examples of supported API categories: 30, including HRIS, Accounting, CRM, Productivity, Ticketing etc.
  • Customization options: 200+ pre-built integrations, with the option to extend and customize them on Nango
  • Pricing: Generous free tier with usage-based pricing. Startups can get special plans or discounts based on their use cases.

Paragon Alternative 2: Embedded Tray.io

The Tray Embedded website

Like Paragon, Tray Embedded is also an embedded iPaaS offering. It is a version of the automation giant Tray.io, that allows you to build integrations into your app.

Embedded integrations are a side product of Tray: Their main business are internal automations (like Zapier) in Enterprises.
This shows in their coverage of APIs and pre-built workflow steps.

Integrations need to be build one by one. Like other embedded iPaaS, Tray does not support type safety, data models (unified or not), and doesn't have a built-in concept of a data sync.
Developers need to build these outside of the embedded iPaaS in their own application.

Bulk data handling can also be tricky, as the workflow paradigm does not map well to larger data streams (e.g. syncing 10,000+ contacts).

When to Choose Tray.io Instead of Paragon?

Tray can be a great alternative to Paragon in the following situations:

  • You are looking to build a lot of one-off, bespoke integrations for individual customers.
  • You are looking to customize the integration for individual customers and change how they work with your product.

Key Figures on Tray.io

  • Number of supported APIs: ~110
  • Number and examples of supported API categories: 9, including Customer Success, Marketing, HR, etc.
  • Customization options: Limited. You are restricted to the steps and APIs developed by Tray. Generic steps to “make any API request” exist.
  • Pricing: Need to get a demo and contact the sales team

Paragon Alternative 3: Merge.dev

The Merge.dev website

Merge is a unified API, which means it abstracts away several similar APIs (e.g. CRMs) into a single API. This has the advantage that you can get several integrations with a single API interface.

But also limits what you can access from these APIs to just the most common features and data: Unified APIs can only give you the lowest common denominator of the APIs they abstract away.

Unlike Paragon, Merge does not have a low-code or no-code interface and requires your engineering team to write integrations. It supports several different categories of unified APIs and has a similar API coverage overall to Paragon.

If you like unified APIs, but are not sure if Merge is a good fit for you, take a look at our post on the four most popular Merge.dev alternatives.

When to Choose Merge.dev Instead of Paragon?

Merge.dev may be a better solution compared to Paragon if:

  • You are only looking for a fixed set of integrations (that are offered by Merge)
  • You only need a limited amount of data for your integrations and no API specific features
  • You are ok to be constrained in the APIs you can support

Key Figures on Merge.dev

  • Number of supported APIs: ~180
  • Number and examples of supported API categories: 9, including ATS, Accounting, CRM, etc.
  • Customization options: None. The Merge team decides which unified APIs to add, and users do not have a direct say over which APIs are supported. 
  • Pricing: Offers a free tier with limited access. You need to contact their sales team for a customized pricing plan according to your requirements.

Paragon Alternative 4: Apideck

The Apideck website

Apideck is another unified API vendor that offers integrations across a large number of API categories. However, instead of enriching their categories with multiple APIs, they choose to cover a wide range of categories. At the time of writing, each of these categories only have 2-5 APIs in them.

Apideck does not support extending integrations by the users, so you are still dependent on the set of APIs that they offer. Apideck also lacks advanced features, such as custom field mappings per user.

Instead, Apideck allows you to integrate a built-in integrations catalog into your product website easily, which most other vendors do not offer.

When to Choose Apideck Instead of Paragon?

You might prefer Apideck over Paragon in the following cases:

  • You need to cover API integrations across a wide range of categories
  • Apart from the integrations, you also need a ready-to-use portal to display supported integrations on your app's website

Key Figures on Apideck

  • Number of supported APIs: ~120
  • Number and examples of supported API categories: 22, including Calendar, File Storage, HRIS, Payroll, POS, etc. Although, only 9 unified APIs are available and other categories offer limited support.
  • Customization options: None. The Apideck team has listed integrations and categories that they are considering, and users can vote on them.
  • Pricing: Offers a free tier with around 5k calls a month, and the next plan is priced at $249 for 50k calls a month for a single category only.

Conclusion

Product integrations are an important part of most modern B2B SaaS apps.

Choosing the right vendor to build your integrations is an important business decision. The right vendor should accelerate your product's time to market, let you build the integrations your customers need, and thus help you increase revenue.

We hope this overview of four popular Paragon alternatives has been useful to you.

If you are still unsure which approach is the best for you, check the Nango Slack community for support and recommendations. It currently has more than 1,600 developers and product managers building integrations for B2B SaaS products.

See you there!

Robin Guldener
Co-Founder & CEO

Originally an engineer himself Robin has worked on product integrations for 6+ years. Today he is a co-founder at Nango.

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