Mobile application management company Apperian announced Tuesday that it raised $12.4 million to help businesses build apps for tablets and smartphones. This Series-B round of funding brings the total capital raised by Apperian to $24 million since the start of the company in 2009.
This round of funding came from existing investors North Bridge Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ iFund, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Common Angels.
Apperian developed its Enterprise App Services Environment (EASE) platform to offer an independant solution for businesses that wish to create and deploy apps for their employees to use, rather than deal with the approval process from the iOS App Store or the Android market.
The EASE platform is self-service, cloud-based, and instantly scalable service for up to tens of thousands of devices.
EASE creates company and user specific authorization so that you can log on and access only the apps that have been created by your company.
By the end of last year, 93% of Fortune 500 companies had deployed or were testing iPads in work projects, and Apperian aims to target these customers and reduce the time and security measures for them to deploy company-specific apps.
Apperian is in a similar space with SAP, which offers pre-packaged apps for businesses to access in order to complete work on mobile devices.
The VP of Business Development, Cimarron Buser, expressed the need for private app catalogs where companies can store and deploy their apps to employees since the App Store excludes this category from its consumer store.
"We provide companies with a small software development kit to help with authentication or update in-app features," Buser said to me in an interview. "It doesn't make sense to put private and company specific use apps on the public market, so we provide support for them to empower their community."
Some of the mobile enterprise apps built on Apperian's platform include ordering and tracking apps, PO approval apps for urgent orders with one-click approvals, retail stock apps, HR apps that include timesheets and expense reports, corporate directories, hospital patient monitoring apps, and more. And the company counts some big names among its clientele: Procter & Gamble, Dupont, AAA, Intuit, The Estee Lauder Companies, Cisco Systems, Talecris Biotherapeutics, NetApp, and more.
The Boston-based Apperian also recently opened offices in the United Kingdom and France. Apperian has experienced explosive revenue growth since its last round of funding in March 2011. The company's GAAP revenue doubled in each quarter during 2011, and the company says that it expects that trend to continue in 2012.
The fact that this round of funding was made possible by existing investors shows the confidence that these entrepreneurs and venture firms have in the growing industry of independent markets for companies to publish limited-use apps.
Apperian is a part of the growing support system for the "Bring Your Own Device" trend, where businesses find ways for their employees to make work easier by incorporating their mobile device into workflow.
This is one way that businesses are able to invest in the development of mobile apps without having to dedicate large funds for company-issue mobile devices.
At the end of last year, nearly three-quarters of small businesses were planning on buying tablets for their company this year -- and most of them want those new mobile devices to be iPads, according to the National Purchase Diary of North America.
For businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the intent to purchase a tablet was 54%. That percentage increased until it reached a staggering 89% of companies between 501 and 999 employees planning to buy those shiny flat computer devices. Of all the businesses considering a tablet, 73% thinking of going the route of the iPad.
Among the SMBs surveyed, 73% stated intent purchase tablets over the next 12 months, up from 68% in the NPD Group’s second quarter survey. An overwhelming 90%, of all firms anticipate spending the same amount or more on tablets next year.
The average budget that a SMB will spend on tablets is projected to exceed $21,000 over the next 12 months, but depending on company size, the intent and amount spent changes drastically.
Despite the heavy price tag, Apple competitors are going to have to work hard to change the mind of business decision-makers that seem to have put their confidence in the iPad product.
Apperian is supporting the idea that businesses might be better served in placing more of its budgets into the developemnt of apps and encourage employees to BYOD.
In the coming months, Apperian will also be releasing some products to help with crowd sourcing so that people can start a conversation by commenting on the individual apps to help the company productivity and starter apps that most businesses are usually spending time creating, such as company directories.
"We have learned a lot in the last year and a half and have developed a close relationship with the customers to help come up with solutions to develop better products," Buser said. "What you need to do now is develop apps that are well-designed, beautiful, fun and even game-like to gain adoption within a company."