Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ideas we'd like to invest in: Mobile-first SaaS

Following my posts about electronic signing and vertical SaaS, here's another area that we're very interested in:

SaaS solutions with a mobile-first approach

While my first two posts of this series were fairly specific, this one is pretty fuzzy as I don't have a good sense for what I'm looking for. I just have a feeling that there are huge opportunities ahead for startups which rethink how people will use business applications in the future. This feeling is based on a couple of factors:
  • The incredible rise of smartphones and tablet computers, combined with ubiquitous Internet connectivity. Global mobile traffic as a percentage of total Internet traffic has grown from 1% less than three years ago to more than 13% today. In India and other countries, mobile traffic has surpassed desktop Internet usage already, and very very soon there will be more smartphones and tablets than desktop PCs and notebooks. (Taken from Mary Meeker's Internet Trends report – always a good read.)
  • In sectors or jobs in which people are on the road almost all the time, people spend much more time with their mobile device than with their desktop computer already. But since the leading SaaS companies have been started before the mobile revolution took off, even if they have developed mobile apps in the meantime their products have not been built with a mobile use case in mind from the ground up. Makes me wonder if there's an opportunity to become to what Instagram is to Flickr. And field sales people are just one example of course – think about places like hospitals, construction sites or factories where using tablets makes a lot of sense as well.
  • The unique capabilities of mobile devices – location-awareness, built-in cameras, touchscreens to name just a few examples – allow the creation of entirely new features, products and user experiences. There are lots of examples for amazingly innovative mobile apps which take advantage of these capabilities in the consumer world, but business apps seem to be lagging behind in this respect.
So...if you're working on a mobile-first SaaS startup, let me know!