A Berlin-based startup is looking to tap in a market set to be worth €110 billion by 2020 – enterprise mobility. Put simply, that means the kinds of business applications that employees at most companies need to access, and Productive Mobile is looking to develop mobile and touch-optimised versions of these applications.
At the moment, even though smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, internal business applications are usually not ready for the mobile world, as they tend to be part of a large, pre-existing and highly customised suite which has grown organically for years. Thus far, making these kinds of applications mobile-ready has been complex and expensive.
But Productive Mobile – part of the first batch of Berlin’s Microsoft Ventures Accelerator – says it will enable clients to create mobile versions of internal applications (such as CRM, ERP, intranet and knowledge bases) much more quickly and efficiently, embracing mobile at scale.
Anthony Hsiao, the startup’s co-founder and CEO, said: “There are few alternatives to changing those highly customised systems, which is risky, or to create new tailor-made mobile applications. What we offer is a way to extend any existing application to mobile, without requiring any technical change, no programming or steep learning curve, and without compromising on existing security policies – it’s a real game changer.”
The technology behind Productive Mobile’s platform enables companies to transform the traditional desktop-and-mouse-based user interfaces of applications into touch-optimised mobile versions. Parag Majumdar, head of engineering at Productive Mobile and also a co-founder, said: “Using Studio, our intuitive visual editor, IT departments, and even non-technical users, can easily create a mobile derivative application for any web-based application irrespective of the software vendor, even for self-developed applications, in minutes or hours, rather than weeks or months.”
Ultimately, the team believes that companies will be able to create a multitude of mini-apps (up to and beyond 5,000, according to third co-founder and head of product Yann Le Gouic) that focus in on one or two functions, sitting on top of existing business applications and thus reusing the same backend infrastructure.
The company is currently working with pilot customers in private beta, with plans to go to market in 2015.
Productive Mobile started out life as EvoMob, a platform to help customers create versions of the online shops for mobile, when it entered the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in November. At the time, Hsiao told me (as per an article I wrote for Spiegel) that “having the Microsoft badge, as it were, is a very powerful thing.”
They will hope that bears in out the long run, and in the meantime, the company has attracted angel investment from Stephane Lopes and Francisco Garcia, who is also the founder of international angel network InvestPrivé. “Enterprise Mobility is a huge opportunity, and Productive Mobile’s focus on respecting companies’ data security policies makes them stand out,” said Lopes.