We don’t often cover enterprise news, but JackBe has built an enterprise-oriented business on top of a very Web 2.0 concept: the mashup. And apparently this strategy has been working out well for them – they just raised $9.5M from Harbert Venture Partners and Core Capital Partners, as well as from existing investors Intel Capital, Darby Technology Ventures and Blue Chip Venture Company
The concept behind JackBe’s software package, Presto, is both simple and bewildering to me. On the one hand, it’s easy to explain: the software sits behind the firewall on the servers of corporate IT departments, channels information from a range of sources (using SOAP, RSS, etc.), and proffers it to the end user through the browser. The user can then mix and match the data (a la Yahoo Pipes) right in the browser to perform analysis. Mashups are created primarily in ten different ways (using graphs, maps, grids, etc.) and can be shared with other users within a corporation or organization.
On the other hand, the sheer number of possibilities with a generic mashup program like Presto makes it hard to come up with even one standard example of what the software can do. If you check out JackBe’s customers page, you’ll see that Citigroup uses Presto for “Tax Collection, Bank Tellers, Credit Workflow, Branch executives, Insurance Quoting/Sales and eBanking”; the Defense Intelligence Agency uses it to “paint a picture of situational awareness across various intelligence data sources, using a paradigm of drag-and-drop and bookmarking of the resulting briefing in a private workspace for future use and sharing”; and Tupperware uses it “to provide real-time price, inventory and product updates to field sales representatives.” I think you get the point.
JackBe – which is based in Washington, DC – began 18 months ago as a creator of Ajax widgets but realized that enterprises wanted more thorough ways to consume data. Competitors include IBM and BEA.
Check out this InfoWorld article for more in-depth coverage of Presto.