When it comes to consumer apps, the debate over HTML5 vs. native has seen native win a couple of key rounds recently, with a number of high-profile tech companies eschewing the open standard because of performance issues. However, when it comes to enterprise services, it looks like we may hear a different tune. Gizmox, which operates a platform that helps enterprises create new and translate existing IT services into mobile apps using HTML5, today is announcing that it has raised another $7.5 million and appointed a new CEO, Eugene Kuznetsov, to capitalize on what it sees as a growing market for HTML5 among business apps.
The funding was led by Atlas Venture with participation from other existing investors Citrix, IVC and Consolidated Investment Group, and takes the total raised by Gizmox to $18 million. As part of the deal, Jeff Fagnan and Christopher Lynch at Atlas Venture are joining Gizmox’s board.
With this, the company’s second round of funding (“you could call it a Series B” said Kuznetsov in an interview), Gizmox is looking build on the groundwork established by Navot Peled, the founder who had been CEO but is now shifting to hold the title of president.
Kuznetsov has cut his teeth both at large corporates and as a successful entrepreneur himself. After time spent at Microsoft working on Internet Explorer among other things, he left to start his own enterprise software company, DataPower, which was eventually sold to IBM, where he stayed on for 2.5 years integrating and developing the business, before leaving to start a new company, online privacy company Abine, where he remains as chairman. Atlas, which had invested both in DataPower and Abine, likely had a role in putting Kuznetsov into the new position.
So where is the opportunity for consumer-challenged HTML5 with enterprises? As Kuznetsov describes it, not only is it impractical for enterprises to use native platforms for the job, but it’s unnecessary.
“I think that the challenge for businesses is somewhat different than it is for consumers,” he said of the reason for opting for HTML5 when you are an enterprise. “Businesses today have rich complex client-server applications. These are things that you and I would never see unless we worked for Fortune 500 enterprises. They are very complex, with interfaces built over 20 years. Now there is pressure for those to work on iPads and other devices.
“But in many cases you cannot re-write those in ios or C#. It has to be something that is open and standard. Native apps are not really an option for these enterprises because the software they have is too complex and they have to support a broad range of devices and has to be something standard. HTML5 works great for this.”
He contrasts this to the priorities for consumer apps, with their 3D graphics, or accelerometers.
“HTML5 works here because these are not games. This is not Angry Birds. It’s graphs and lots of data,” he notes, adding that the complexity instead comes in the forms of security and multiple interfaces — two areas where HTML5 works well.
Current customers of Gizmox’s are in the large enterprise space and include names like Visa, Daimler and Bezeq Telecom, who have to date used the platform not only to build apps but more significantly use it to translate existing IT apps into the mobile environment. The idea, Kuznetsov says, is to expand that list of customers, and this is where the bulk of the investment will go.
As for competitors, “I don’t think anyone does exactly what we do,” Kuznetsov says, but he notes also that companies like Appcelerator have promoted the idea that the issue of mobilizing IT apps can be solved with native platforms; while Sencha covers “some aspects” of the same areas that Gizmox does.
In that vein, to better compete, it might not be strange to see Gizmox fill out and develop its product in areas like further security and performance management services for the apps once they have made it to Gizmox’s platform.
Gizmox Funded to Capitalize on Shift to Enterprise-Class HTML5
Closes $7.5M financing; names serial entrepreneur Eugene Kuznetsov as CEO
Cambridge, Massachusetts – April 22, 2013 – Gizmox, a leader in enterprise-class HTML5 for new and existing business applications, has closed a $7.5M round of financing and named a new CEO to accelerate its sales and marketing efforts. The round was led by Atlas Venture with participation from existing investors Citrix, IVC, Consolidated Investment Group, and others. Jeff Fagnan and Christopher Lynch of Atlas Venture will join the Gizmox Board of Directors. The funds will be used to build and staff the company’s headquarters in Boston.
“There is an enormous platform shift of mission-critical business applications from traditional Microsoft client-server to mobile, web and HTML5. While this is well understood and underway for horizontal or consumer applications, the problem for complex business applications is still largely unsolved. Gizmox has a unique solution informed by years of technology development and many successful customer deployments, to facilitate this shift,” said Jeff Fagnan, Partner, Atlas Venture.
Gizmox provides an enterprise-class HTML5 platform for building rich UI business applications. Its two components are VisualWebGUI, a widely adopted web and mobile HTML5 framework for enterprise apps, and InstantCloudMove, which easily migrates from client-server to pure HTML5 and the cloud. Gizmox is the enterprise HTML5 platform for native-quality user interfaces. Differentiated from consumer-grade technology, Gizmox software was built from the start to provide the security, management and rich functionality required for mission-critical business applications.
Chris Lynch, Partner at Atlas Venture, added “Atlas Venture has led this investment in Gizmox to take advantage of the multi-billion dollar opportunity in enabling the transition to mobile HTML5 with the industry’s leading solution. With Eugene at the helm, having previously driven the shift to XML-based applications in the enterprise, we are thrilled to be part of this team.”
More than 50% of all enterprise applications, in most cases the core critical mission ones, are still client server, representing over 55 Billion lines of code.
In conjunction with the financing, Gizmox has named Eugene Kuznetsov as CEO. Kuznetsov was founder and President of DataPower, a SOA appliance company acquired by IBM, an IBM executive, and more recently co-founder and CEO of Abine, the leading online privacy company. Atlas Venture was an investor in DataPower and is the founding investor of Abine.
Michael F. O’Connor, Consolidated Investment Group, said “As demonstrated by its success with major customers, the Gizmox’s technology is unique in the rapidly-growing enterprise mobile market. We are excited to participate in this financing to support the next stage of Gizmox’s growth.”
Guy Rosen, Maayan Ventures Chairman, said,”We are happy to complete this significant investment round in Gizmox, which has been led by an experienced VC such as Atlas Venture, with the participation of Gizmox’s existing shareholders. This round marks a great milestone for the company in materializing its vast technological and economic potential.”