Apperian Raises $12M to Continue Momentum in Enterprise Mobility

Sometimes tech companies must raise venture capital out of necessity, in order to keep the business afloat until they get enough cash flowing in from customers to survive. Other times, companies have the luxury of choosing to raise money from investors to accelerate already-strong sales growth.

The latter is the position Boston-based Apperian says it found itself in a few months ago when its board gave the green light for another funding round. The result is a $12 million Series C financing announced today.

“We were in an enviable position,” CEO Brian Day says. “We’ve had a lot of success in the market in the last 12 months.”

The Series C money comes from new investor FirstFloor Capital, along with previous backers Bessemer Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, North Bridge Venture Partners, Intel Capital, and CommonAngels Ventures.

The company has raised just shy of $40 million from investors since it was founded in 2009, Day says.

The new cash will get pumped into sales and marketing efforts, product development, and hiring employees. Apperian plans to add more than a dozen employees by early 2016 to its current staff of 67 people, Day says.

Apperian provides a mobile-app platform for enterprises to develop, deploy, and manage their own internal apps—a sort of enterprise app store that can provide the level of security that big companies and government agencies require. The company is taking advantage of the shift toward employees and contract workers using their own smartphones and tablets for work purposes—the so-called “Bring Your Own Device” movement.

This trend is several years old, but Day says large-enterprise adoption of Apperian and competitors’ software has accelerated in the past year or so. Apperian has capitalized on the sector’s momentum, with its monthly recurring revenue doubling over the past year, he says. (He declined to share exact figures.)

Big enterprises are “really embracing mobile as opposed to it being something they have to defend against,” Day says. “It’s a view of how mature the market is.”

That market maturity also means stiffer competition, of course. But Apperian appears to be holding its own in a crowded field that includes related companies like MobileIron, AirWatch (now part of VMware), and Good Technology (just acquired by BlackBerry).

Apperian has hundreds of customers, Day says, and is signing bigger deals than in the past. It typically manages apps for between 15,000 and 40,000 users per organization, and at least one contract is for 100,000 users, he says. Its customers include AT&T, Toyota, the Transportation Security Administration, and Walgreens. One sweet spot for Apperian is companies that hire contractors or have franchisees, Day says.

Day was Apperian’s chief financial officer for more than three years before taking the top job in December 2014. He replaced David Patrick, who led Apperian for four years and is now board chair.

Day says he hasn’t instituted any wholesale changes to company strategy, but has put a stronger emphasis on winning larger deals. “That’s really what my focus has been on since taking over, and it’s been pretty successful,” he says.

The company plans to more aggressively pursue customers in Asia, Day says, a push that should be aided by Malaysia-based FirstFloor Capital. Apperian currently has a customer in Australia and another in Hong Kong, both of them banks, he adds.

“We’ve done very little in Asia historically,” Day says. “It’s kind of been on purpose. You see a lot of these early-stage companies, the ones that fail try to do too much too soon with too little.”

Apperian, which has some employees in Europe, will not be opening a physical office in Asia, Day says. Instead, it will form partnerships with Asian companies to win more business there.

Apperian’s end game could be an acquisition by a big enterprise software company, although Day wouldn’t speculate on potential suitors.

“In the long run, IT people and enterprises aren’t going to want seven different vendors to solve seven different problems,” he says. “Ultimately, it will be a big company to provide multiple solutions to these companies. Who that’s going to be, I’m not sure at this point in time.”

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