DM: So Phillip, give us the 2-minute introduction to bemoko if you would.
PC: Sure. The company was formed in 2007. The founders previously worked at Volantis (since bought by Antenna Software), and were typically focused on the operator and network portal side of things, creating big operator portal sites. We saw an emerging need for something similar in the enterprise space, something capable of delivering sites that were accessible on cross-platform mobile and other connected devices, and so bemokolive was built.
We launched it late 2008, early 2009 as the bemokolive multichannel web framework. It was a soft launch in the UK and a hard launch in the US, as the US market was more mature and more diverse in terms of handset proliferation.
We worked initially with two cornerstone clients, The Marketing Arm and Merkle, a big US database marketing agency with global clients, powering their mobile web and email campaigns.
DM: So you work as the mobile arm for full-service agencies?
PC: There are two strands to our business. The first is the agency side. We provide services for creative agencies and large companies’ internal web teams, where we work hand-in-hand with them. In the early days, we did this in the background for some of our agency clients, but increasingly, we find our agency clients are more than happy to acknowledge our contribution, as their clients accept that there is a vital role for the mobile specialist as part of their digital strategy.
The second strand is systems integrators and software producers – companies like Alterian and Merkle, who will embed bemokolive into their product offering, as a white-label or co-branded product. Here the business model is a recurring software licence.
DM: So which is more important to you, revenue-wise?
PC: In terms of revenues, the agency business is currently worth slightly more, but both are key, because one drives the other. When we are developing for agencies and large companies, we continuously innovate and implement new technologies, such as HTML5, which drives the development roadmap for bemokolive as a product, so can see where it needs to be enhanced. As an example, we are currently working with mBlox, looking at their mobile payment gateway. We also have a technology partnership with Monotype, and we are working with Content Management Systems (CMS) companies on out-of-the-box plugins. All of this ensures that the end customer gets a rounded product.
DM: So there are lots of mobile web-building platforms out there, what’s your USP?
bemokolive is a full web development framework, and it’s device-aware, so developers can write once and deliver cross platform, including mobile devices, PC, IPTV, etc. It can cope with all the devices out there and future proofs for the raft of new devices coming onto the market. And because it’s a complete web development framework, it enables you to manage your web presence and dynamic content for all devices in one place, minimising future development and maintenance costs. So far this year, we have delivered over 40 web projects, which shows the strength of the platform.
DM: So what about the future?
PC: We’re continuing to expand. We are 14 people now, we’re in a new office in Basingstoke, we’ll be adding between three and five more people between now and Q1 2012, and we are expanding our sales team to focus on the agency market, and strengthening our delivery capabilities. We are two years into our relationship with some of our agency clients, and we are focusing our capabilities on complex, transactional mobile sites.
We have been telling our agency partners we can deliver this kind of solution for the past couple of years, but until recently, the demand wasn’t there from their clients. They were happy with one-page sites and screenscraped sites, but consumers want more and want better now. The app explosion, coupled with brands seeing as much as 18 per cent of the traffic to their full website coming from mobile devices, has changed attitudes. Brands realise that they have to deliver complex transactional sites cross platform. The demand for these is only going to increase over the next 12 months, and we have the capability to deliver on that demand.