By now it is no secret that if you are an apps company, then you are part of the Internet gold rush. FuGenX, which as the name suggests caters to the future Gen X who are hugely into mobile apps and games on their iPhones.
According to market studies, there are more than 1 lakh apps developed for Android till date. These apps need to be tested for different platforms, screen sizes and other aspects of a device. Tapping into this is a Bangalore-based startup that decided to set up shop at almost the same time when the world economy saw one of its worst crisis in 2008.
The company, founded by Debhasis Behera, Bhabani Sankar Jena and Vineet Tripathi decided to take the plunge when peers where only starting to wake up to.
Behera, has worked on the software products side with companies like Novell Software, (a company that pioneered the concept of Local Area Networks) and Mindtree. Complementing him, Jena with his stint in Samsung and was involved in areas like mobile applications, wireless and networking protocol, sensor networking and Web 2.0.
He currently is the global sales and marketing head for FuGenX. Tripathi has worked in different geographies such as US, Europe, Japan, Australia and Middle East and has established and managed offshore development centre for some of the companies like HSBC Bank (in Hong Kong), Real Networks and others.
FuGenX develops and tests apps and games for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, Symbian mobile and Web application development.
An example is a Disco App that it has developed for iPhone users. This app allows a user to discover new disco users who are nearby and add them. When your Disco friend is nearby you will receive a notification and is a social app which uses Facebook to fetch user details of people with similar tastes – such as disco music.
FuGenX has developed and tested 200 enterprise Apps and games in Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, BlackBerry and Windows. The company does not share downloaded details, it said that it has developed and tested apps for companies like Vodafone, Sony, UNICEF and others. For Vodafone Germany, they have developed a mobile ‘Go to Meeting’ app to participate in meetings for cellphone users there.
As smartphone adoption increases, mobile usage is experiencing growth, especially the use of the mobile Web and applications. Consumers are heavily dependant on the mobile Web and applications to interact with friends and family through social media, as well as access, explore, buy and consume everything from content and services to information, entertainment and utilities from anywhere at any time and this, the company feels is its sweet spot.
This has caused a rapid shift of focus for many enterprises toward Web-oriented techniques and by 2015, research firm Gartner predicts that 80 per cent of all mobile applications developed will be hybrid or mobile-Web-oriented.
This shift in consumer behaviour is causing the disruption of many traditional business models. Global mobile traffic is projected to grow at an astonishing 26 times over the next five years. “The shifting technology landscape is proving beneficial to us given our focus on emerging technologies like mobile application, mobile games, mobile Web, social media,” says Behera.
FuGenX counts customers from startup companies to Fortune 500 organisations across industries such as telecom healthcare, pharmaceuticals, retail, travel, transportation, hospitality, manufacturing, banking and insurance.All this has seen it win accolades from companies like Deloitte, who in 2012, ranked it 16th amongst the Fast50 annual rankings.
We have made tremendous progress and have been able to leverage the disruptive technologies like mobility, social computing and unified communications to create solutions for our customers and have grown 326 per cent in last 3 years,” says Behera.
Since the company started ops at a time when the crisis was at its worst possible leg, it faced a lot of initial challenges. “We were faced with less business opportunities, small business deals with very minimal profit, no funding opportunity, no bank loans and many small-sized fixed cost projects with high risk of losses, reminisces Behera.
So, in an area where the barrier to entry is relatively low, how does FuGenX differentiate? “If anyone comes to us, we can provide one stop shop for all mobility related solutions regardless of whether it is a startup or a large enterprise,” says Behera.
He explains that it could be mobile related strategy consulting, mobile UI design service, App development in both native and cross platform, game development in 2D and 3D, Web site development / Web API development, smartphone-friendly development services, App promotions and marketing.
Industry watchers believe that in the App development area, it is scale that matters as the ecosystem is still developing. This would need deep pockets. Realising this, FuGenX plans to go for its first round of funding and is trying to raise the money through both debt and equity based options. “We are also discussing with some potential foreign investors to invest in the company,” says Behera.
The company plans to invest for global expansion that will include additional hiring, setting up infrastructure and intensifying sales and marketing efforts.
It has offices in the US, India and the UK with and employs about 100 people globally. The firm’s international reach is strengthened through its partner’s networks around the world.
Research firm Gartner estimated that cloud, mobility and open source will drive application development going forward. The market clocked $9 billion in 2012 and with increasing smartphones and tablets, this trend will get additional fillip, according to Gartner.