In this day and age of endless fragmentation in communication and information, every company should think about using some type of intra-company communication service; the only problem is that not every company has the resources to make a customized app out tailored to the company’s needs. This is where APPrise Mobile comes in to play. The platform gives your business the ability to easily setup a communication app specifically for your business.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO and founder Jeff Corbin about the communication in the business world, their platform, and how they raised their latest round of funding,
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Tell us about your product or service.
Companies use our platform to create their own branded, native app for Apple, Android and web-enabled mobile devices. These apps are used to organize and distribute content and communicate with their internal and external audiences. Our main focus is on employee communications and that product is called theEMPOYEEapp. We also have products for external communications: theIRapp for public companies to communicate with their investors; theCOMMSapp for companies to communicate with any external audience and theCONFERENCEapp for use during events, particularly investor and internal company events.
What inspired you to start the company?
My background is in corporate communications. For almost 20 years, I ran a corporate communications consulting firm in New York City. APPrise Mobile started as a value added service for my consulting firm’s clients, when we started to see a shift in the way companies and people communicated due to the accelerated adoption of mobile devices. In January of this year, APPrise Mobile spun-off into its own stand-alone business as it had generated enough recurring revenue to operate on its own.
How is it different?
Our solution was created for the non-IT/tech professional (i.e. the corporate communications and HR professional) and to give them a cost effective and quick way to deploy a company branded mobile communications app. Other solutions on the market either don’t allow for a company-branded app in the app stores or require significant IT lifting. Through our solution, clients can create and launch a customized app in under a month, removing several barriers to entry including: time, cost and development skills.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We sell to the corporate communications and HR industries which transcend every company. While our platform can be used across all vertical industries, we are seeing significant interest from healthcare/hospitals, retail, hospitality, casinos and manufacturing – industries where the vast majority of employees are not sitting behind desks and are on the front line caring for patients or helping customers.
What’s your business model?
It is a recurring revenue business model. We sell our solution on an annual subscription basis.
What is the pricing model as this is a platform as a service (PAAS) structure?
Annual subscription that is priced based on the number of employees that a company wants to communicate to.
What was the funding process like?
We started our funding process several years ago when we met with some pretty prominent VCs here in NYC. At that time, they weren’t interested in investing. This was for several reasons. First, because we didn’t have enough customers under our belt to validate the need for our technology. Also, certain investors we met with couldn’t wrap their head around the fact that today, the majority of the U.S. workforce does not sit in front of a desk with access to computers, email and their company’s intranet.
Fast forward to today, we have proven this incorrect since we have learned that once you get out of NYC and into real America, most employees don’t have this luxury and, as seen by our more than 100 customers, work in remote areas or not in office settings.
So, while the funding process started off a little uncertain for us, we knew that that if we persevered, continued to close business, continued to monitor the marketplace and focus on creating the best tech platform possible, that the right investors would eventually recognize our value. Our solution is quickly becoming a necessity in the marketplace.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
What we are doing is very new. Companies are just now realizing that everyone has a mobile device and therefore they need a solution to take advantage of these devices to communicate with their various audiences. Just like we had to educate our customers as to the opportunity that exists to incorporate mobile into their communications programs, it was the same with regard to institutional investors. However, now, everyone is seeing the light. They just need to figure out the best way to go about doing so.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our domain expertise in the corporate communications and HR industries led them to believe that we had a significant competitive advantage over other companies trying to enter the employee communications mobile space who only have technology backgrounds. In addition, they are seeing the success of the likes of Slack and realize that Digital Workplace communications are the future. We are an early-mover in a market that is poised for explosive growth.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Our focus over the coming six months is to continue to sell our technology solution to enterprise-sized organizations and to really establish ourselves as the leading brand when it comes to mobile employee communications.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Keep a very close eye on cash flow. Like every day. Ensure that your costs will never put you in a negative cash position. This will allow you to sleep much better knowing that you will be able to remain in business tomorrow.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are going to refine our platform to become a Rolls Royce – one that hums and is incredibly automated and scalable. We have a master plan in place that will allow our technology solution to become a critical component of any businesses (small, medium or enterprise’s) technology infrastructure.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Gato on Lafayette Street