Chris Schroeder and Sean McDermott decided to tackle the hot, emerging market of mobile apps following the sale of their IT automation company in 2007. But the switch from enterprise to consumer technology proved tough.
The pair now sits at the helm of Reston-based App47 , a firm that aims to capture the growing use of mobile in a market that Schroeder and McDermott know better — the enterprise.
The company closed on its second round of funding last week, a $750,000 infusion from local financiers, including Valhalla Partners and Sid Banerjee, the co-founder and chief executive of Clarabridge.
A growing number of companies use apps in their day-to-day operations. App47 helps them distribute apps to employees, make sure they function properly and keep them secure.
“As disruptive technology comes to market, everyone jumps on board and they start using it before knowing how to manage and monitor it when it’s deployed out into the enterprise,” Schroeder said. “One of our key value differentiations is being old enterprise guys, we’ve seen this pattern a number of times.”
Serial app maker Minh Tran has debuted his latest creation: A business card exchange platform, called Card Swapp , that quickly transfers contact information, Web sites and social networks from a business card to a mobile phone via QR code.
The process is fairly simple. A personalized QR code is printed on each business card alongside the standard contact information. Scan the code with a smartphone camera and download everything from a person’s Twitter handle to a restaurant’s menu.
Tran has built five apps to date with mixed success. Pothole Alert 311 , an app to report civic repairs, such as potholes or graffiti, continues to expand nationwide. Meanwhile, GenderZoo , which shows the gender ratio at bars, hasn’t seen much traction.
Tran said his development process is fairly consistent. He scours the app store for competition, checks for existing patents, conducts market research, and if all seems right, sets to work.
But competition is fierce. There are hundreds of thousands of mobile apps and many struggle to ever make money.
“In the end, you just hope that your research and hard work will pay off.”