A Q&A with Quinton Alsbury, president of MeLLmo. The San Diego, California –based company was founded in 2008.
SUB: Please explain what MeLLmo is, and the value proposition you offer to enterprises.
Alsbury: MeLLmo is the creator of Roambi, the family of mobile apps that has reimagined business intelligence for the iPhone and iPad. Founded by the makers of Xcelsius, the MeLLmo team has deep expertise in business intelligence, user interface design, and in particular in making enterprise critical reports and data convenient for on the go workers. MeLLmo is leading the consumerization of mobile business applications to improve decision making and increase enterprise productivity.
SUB: How does the technology behind Roambi work?
Alsbury: Roambi is a family of innovative mobile business apps including Roambi Analytics and Roambi Flow that lets people easily publish and consume information and intelligence as simple, intuitive and engaging analytics and digital magazines—securely on mobile devices.
Roambi Analytics is a mobile app for the iPhone or iPad that allows on-the-go employees to access and analyze company reports and data quickly and easily via immersive, intuitive analytics.
Roambi Flow is an iPad publishing app that allows people to tell the story behind their numbers through engaging magazine-style reports and publications built with a simple point and click publisher.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Alsbury: In many ways our biggest competition is the flawed ways that people these days are used to communicating sensitive business information. Take email attachments, for example. Not only are they clunky and insecure, but they’re not optimized for viewing on mobile devices. We’re really competing against bad habits, and our biggest challenge is to shift the way people think about sharing information to a new way—one that is easy and intuitive, and protects the person, the company, and the information.
SUB: What do you offer that differentiates MeLLmo from your competitors or from companies with similar offerings?
Alsbury: The mobile space is exploding right now, and many companies that offer BI solutions are getting into the mobile space. However, we have really had a head start in creating these mobile BI apps, and because we have been focused on apps only, we are able to develop and implement more intuitive features and products more quickly.
Also, because our apps are data-agnostic, meaning they are compatible with most BI systems out there, BI users aren’t limited to the mobile solution provided by their enterprise supplier.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind MeLLmo? How did the idea behind the product come about?
Alsbury: The team that founded MeLLmo has extensive experience in the data visualization business, and we noticed that while there was an increasing use of smart phones and mobile devices in the workplace, mobile workers still had to boot up their laptops in order to access their BI data.
We saw the opportunity to not only create a mobile solution for this business intelligence, but to do it in a way that was easy and intuitive. Too many companies have tried to create mobile apps for their business enterprise that are overdesigned and weighed down with too many features, making it as clunky and difficult to access as BI data on a laptop.
With the introduction of the iPhone and its increased use in business settings, we saw an opportunity to create a mobile data visualization app that was not only easy to access and use, but that was really intuitive and visually appealing. At my previous company, I had worked on creating data visualization and dashboards, so MeLLmo was a great opportunity to take my experience one step further and create visually appealing apps for business intelligence data.
SUB: When was the company founded, and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Alsbury: MeLLmo’s co-founder, Santiago Becerra, was in line to get the very first generation iPhone in 2007 at his local Apple store, and when he received his he realized that it wasn’t merely a phone, but a computer that was in some ways more powerful than a laptop. Santiago saw an opportunity to design business apps that complimented the intuitive features of the iPhone.
He called myself and Dave Becerra immediately, and we sat down to brainstorm the app that would eventually become Roambi Analytics. This was before SDK, before Apple even had a platform for third party developers available. So by the time Apple created the app store and opened up its development kit, we had already been in business a year.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building MeLLmo?
Alsbury: Our biggest obstacle was convincing people at first that the iPhone was a viable business tool. It was really seen as a consumer-only product, and it was tough convincing people that they could have a device that was both secure and business friendly, as well as fun and easy to use.
SUB: Back in September you raised $30 million in Series A funding—how do you plan to use the funds?
Alsbury: We plan to use the funds to continue our expansion in EMEA and China, where we recently opened our new offices. We also have a few new products in the pipeline.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise new funding?
Alsbury: Right now, with the new tech boom, there are a lot of venture capital firms looking to invest. For us it was not just about getting money, but also about choosing the right partners in growth.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?
Alsbury: We have no immediate plans to raise outside funding, but it may be an option we consider again in the future.
SUB: Where do you hope to see MeLLmo in a year from now?
Alsbury: I would like to see MeLLmo continue to grow internationally, and work to continue to create innovative solutions for business intelligence.
MeLLmo – www.mellmo.com