Cloud service marketplace and management company AppDirect is going mobile.
The company works with channel partners, such as large telecommunications companies, hosting providers and retailers, including Comcast, Deutsche Telecom, Rackspace and Staples. It then white labels app stores for them to offer apps to their business customers.
Previously those apps were only accessible via the Web, but now those capabilities are also being extended to mobile devices, it was announced on Thursday.
"Our founding vision was to make it really easy for businesses to find, buy and use all apps they need," Daniel Saks, co-founder and co-CEO of AppDirect, explained to me. And, initially, businesses used sophisticated software and paid for it on a recurring model. When they bought apps like Box and DocuSign, he said, they paid per month and "our \core platform facilitated that."
More recently, though, those same apps have been appearing on mobile devices, and people access them differently that way. You wouldn't necessarily buy Box on your phone, he said, but buy the free app in the App Store. That makes it harder for the IT administrator to manage.
And that is now where AppDirect's new mobile platform comes into play. It enables enterprises to easily access, manage and provision cloud apps across both the Web and mobile devices.
AppDirect does this by offering tools, such as single sign-on, which gives employers a single set of credentials that allow end users to access and manage the same application across Web and mobile versions.
There is also centralized provisioning, which allows end users to rely on a single, centralized dashboard to provision both web and mobile apps across their companies. And unified billing, so that end users can pay a single bill for multiple apps.
A major factor in this move by AppDirect was the rise in the bring your own device (BYOD) movement, in which employers install work related apps on their personal devices.
"There has been a shift in adoption patterns, and we started noticing that users want to use the apps they want," said Saks. "Our mobile platform merges the best of both worlds: allowing employees to find and buy the tools they want and need, while also giving their employers control over what they can access."
Founded in 2009, AppDirect white labels app stores for its channel partners, offering apps to their business customers.
For example, a business will go to Staples and, instead of buying Microsoft or Google apps on the shelf, will be able to select the apps they need, then offer them to employees to manage them all with a single password, Daniel Saks, co-founder and co-CEO of AppDirect, explained to me. Ultimately, this saves businesses both time and money, in that they will often get a discount, as it is cheaper to buy apps as part of a bundle.
AppDirect has seen a lot of growth in the past year, going from 12 to 20 million businesses worldwide, and expanding from 80 countries to 150. The number of business users grew by 200%, and app sales on the AppDirect Network have grown by more than 25% month over month. The company also doubled the size of its team to 150 employees.
The company has raised a total of $60 million in venture capital funding, most recently raising $35 million in April of this year.
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