Firebase evolved from Envolve, a prior startup founded by James Tamplin and Andrew Lee in 2011. Envolve provided developers with an API that enables the integration of online chat functionality into their websites. After releasing the chat service, Tamplin and Lee found that it was being used to pass application data that weren't chat messages. Tamplin & Lee decided to separate the chat system and real-time architecture that powered it. They founded Firebase as a separate company in April 2012.