With the consumerization of enterprise and BYOD in full swing, big companies are being pressed into finding better ways to give their customers (and their employees) access to a robust yet user-friendly mobile experience — across mobile platforms. Looking to bring a little fresh air to the enterprise mobile market, former SAP, Oracle and Siebel Systems execs teamed up to launch AnyPresence in March, a cloud-based platform that enables businesses to build, customize and deploy their own HTML5, iOS and Android mobile apps without the high costs and additional manpower.
With its foundation in place, AnyPresence is now turning its attention to beefing up its backend services. To do that, the startup has closed a $5.5 million series B financing round — led by Grotech Ventures (the lead investors in LivingSocial), with contribution from existing investor Kinetic Ventures. The new capital brings the startup’s total investment to $7.5 million.
While the market is already brimming with DIY mobile platforms, be they open mobile frameworks, SMB platforms or enterprise mobile platforms. AnyPresence wants to remove the friction traditionally associated with solutions that fall into the latter category, like high cost and technical expertise, while offering the best of enterprise-grade features, like integration into source systems, extensibility, cloud data management, and so on. Then combine that with the ease of use and consume feel native to SMB-focused mobile platforms.
At the outset, the co-founders aimed to target customers like utilities providers, second-tier telecoms and regional banks — the types of businesses that need robust app-building and management solutions but don’t have the time or the budget for enterprise-grade platforms.
Co-founder and CMO Richard Mendis tells us that, so far, they’ve seen promising adoption from clients and, a bit surprising for them (but perhaps not given the macro picture), more interest for those producing slightly more consumer-facing apps, signing up clients in healthcare, communications and services industries. The CMO tells us that, as a result, the company has already exceeded its revenue projections for the year and hitting these benchmarks was the validation it needed to close its new series B round.
Mendis said that the company has been pleased to find that there’s plenty of demand for mid-sized enterprise DIY mobile platforms, as companies are eager to adopt solutions that offer the kind of cool features Parse and StackMob offer for mobile backends — but that many end up shying away from because they’re multitenant, with limited database and on-premise deployment options.
The other part of the AnyPresence approach that differentiates them from others in the market is that it doesn’t require users to install any software of SDKs to get started — even if they want 100 percent native iOS or Android apps. They also give enterprise customers the ability to publish to the cloud or host on-premise if needed, take advantage of pre-built mobile templates to create industry-specific apps that connect to their IT environment and enable further customization of the app outside of the AnyPresence platform.
The startup plans to use its new funding to beef up its product development, sales and development teams, with particular focus on the latter, as it plans to add an enterprise backend-as-a-service (MBaaS?) piece to its platform in Q4 of this year. The co-founder said that, so far, this has been one of the most popular features — the ability to customize the front or backend code of the app that was generated by AnyPresence — while other solutions tend to lock customers in rather than enable this kind of customization.
Companies will be able to build entire mobile apps in AnyPresence, or use its backend services while custom-building the app’s interface in another tool while using its SDKs. This will be similar in concept to Parse, he says, but with added enterprise features like a dedicated server stack and the option to deploy the run-time server on-premise. And, while the startup currently generates the backend mobile app server in Ruby On Rails, based on demand, it plans to support a Java version by the end of the year.