Silicon Valley-based Apigee recently opened its offices in Australia, picking up three new clients running its application program interface (API). CEO Chet Kapoor took the time to discuss the company’s expansion plans with ARN.
As anyone with a passing interest in the market knows, one of the key challenges facing the channel (and indeed the entire technology industry) is the smartphone revolution, encapsulating all the issues of BYOD, hardware integration, security, app development and high speed product refresh cycles.
Apigee CEO, Chet Kapoor, said resellers and their clients need to be looking at integrating mobile apps into their build strategies now, integrating their data assets with a mobile focused API.
Kapoor estimates that, compared to the influence of Web on companies digital transformations a decade or two ago, mobile is now moving about 10 times faster.
“This market is moving far faster than anything I have seen ever before. You look at client server and Web technologies, the adoption was staggered. Mobile just seems to be hitting us almost at the same time globally," he said.
“Mobile changes everything in this new world, apps are the core construct. Data is the currency. APIs bring apps and data together."
Apigee’s key product is the Apigee Enterprise API platform, which incorporates gateway services, app services, developer channel services, and analytics services. Basically the company helps companies across the channel develop digital strategy for mobile, produce the tools for adding and configuring APIs, and provides feedback via analytics.
The company works already works with 20 of the Fortune 100 and 10 of the Global 100 – including top shelf companies such as General Motors, AT&T, Dell, eBay, Shell and Vodafone.
In July, Apigee picked up a $35 million boost from venerable investors, BlackRock and Accenture, a tremendous vote of confidence in its business model, Kapoor said.
“We already have 400 clients worldwide, close to 400 employees now, and we’re accelerating our growth – 143 per cent year-over-year. We’re scaling very quickly.”
Following the recent opening of the Sydney office Kapoor said he has just pulled in two more Australian companies and a New Zealand one, but would not reveal any details yet.
In this brand new market he believes it’s his company’s head start, client base and experience that makes the difference.
“We’ve helped 100s of customers now with this digital transformation, with strategy. It’s always been about a lot more than technology, it’s about our people. We want customers for life. We are very keen to engage with our customers after the buy technology from us – to help make them successful. That’s how we’re measuring our success right now.”
US-based Redbox has been a customer of Apigee since July 2011. It operates automated DVD rental booths about the size of an ATM or phone box. Redbox uses Apigee as a repository to hold information about tens of thousands of stores and millions of product records in the cache, which then link to the Apigee powered Redbox Instant mobile app for Apple iOS. Redbox customers can manage their account, browse kiosk locations and kiosk media inventory, browse streaming inventory, purchase/reserve media at kiosks, manage their streaming queues and stream media in app.
Organising the back end of clients’ systems and allowing this information to be used efficiently is key. It’s not hard to see how this kind of inventory management can be applied to resellers and their clients.
One of the key attributes Kapoor believes helps Apigee stand out is its analytics monitoring.
“How do you measure what’s working and what’s not working? That’s what we bring to the party. We’ve incorporated analytics into API from the start. We’ve grafted a transitional system and an analytics engine all in one system.”
Why such a focus on A/NZ early on in a company’s lifecycle? Kapoor said it’s the market’s unusually high penetration of smartphones (more than 50 per cent).
“The Asian, Australia-NZ and Japanese markets have all shown the ability to leapfrog technology waves and adopt new tech very quickly. Things happen a lot faster here. You can prove proof of concept a lot faster.
“With things such as the cloud, the business evolves much quicker because there are more forward thinking people here.”
So why should the channel care?
“Mobile really changes every aspect of a business – it changes the way employees use digital assets, so B2E is already changing. The way you interact with your customers is changing. Now your customers don’t come to you, you have to move to go where they are. This is true across every industry, including the channel,” he said.
So where does Kapoor see the market going from here?
“Three years from now I think that every aspect of enterprise will be wrapped in an API layer. People will be using phrases such as ‘contextual analytics’. That’s basically predictive analytics, applied contextually. This will be key in determining where your customer is going to go next,” he said.
“That’s going to happen by building great apps that are API enabled, and measuring through the appropriate analytics data tools.”
Kapoor is confident that his company will soon be facing down the big boys, but maintains large aspirations.
“Yes, the market is maturing fast – I wouldn’t be surprised if some large companies like Oracle, IBM start showing up here… We think we’re building a very large company, and we’ll see where we go with this.”
Apigee was initially founded in 2005 in Santa Clara, California offering a free API tools and management platform. Apigee in September 2010, and has offices based in London, India, the US and Sydney. Kapoor has served as CEO since 2008, and has 20 years’ experience in leadership positions at IBM, Gluecode, KnowNow, NeXT Computer and ComTek.
Allan Swann is Senior Editor of ARN. Follow Allan on Twitter at @allanswann.