It must have seemed like a good idea at the time for the Fortune 500 retail brand to create an internal “digital innovation” team.
“They got some of their developers and designers together,” says Dropsource CEO Ben Saren, “bought them some ping-pong tables, painted the walls in crazy colors, and said, ‘Now go disrupt!’”
Fortunately for Saren and Raleigh-based Dropsource, décor is not destiny. The company’s developers were primarily web developers, not mobile app developers with deep experience in Java, Swift, and other newer and highly technical languages favored by Apple and Google’s app stores. So the innovation team outsourced a series of mobile app projects—“all of them nightmares,” says Saren.
The company’s problem was Dropsource’s opportunity. Dropsource offers a visual, low-code mobile app development platform that makes it easier to build truly native enterprise mobile apps. For that aforementioned large retail brand, Saren said, Dropsource helped them build and deploy their own app in five weeks, not the up to nine months it had previously taken when outsourcing.
The industry is increasingly taking note of Dropsource—and, indeed, noting that there is such an industry at all. Last month Forrester Research released its inaugural rankings of Mobile Low-Code Platforms for Business Developers, essentially recognizing a new category. Dropsource ranked fourth of the 12 companies featured as industry leaders based on 30 metrics, despite the fact that Dropsource’s platform has only been commercially available since April. For perspective, the top company on the list was software behemoth Microsoft.
According to Forrester, “Dropsource users love the drag-and-drop controls in a real-time, WYSIWIG editor that allows them to make pixel-perfect apps tailored for any device.” That’s just what Saren wants to hear, as Dropsource’s goal is finding the sweet spot between ease of use so web developers (or savvy non-developers) without extensive mobile app development experience can create data-driven enterprise mobile apps, without stinting on the features available to end users who demand apps with truly native performance, such as tapping into phone features like geo-location and cameras.
While Dropsource makes its platform available on a freemium model to developers of all stripes, its larger focus is enterprise customers. Those clients might be making a consumer-facing app, such as a personalized gifting app for a retail client; or something internal, such as a company tracking shipping and receiving logistics in real time via a mobile app, or a firm that wants its staff to be able to access internal data on the go.
Dropsource last raised money a year ago, closing on about $5.3M last September. That’s what helped Dropsource complete and launch its enterprise platform that received the recognition from Forrester.
The company’s next “big milestone,” Saren says, will be forging channel partnerships, i.e. a partnership with a larger firm that sells into a similar channel. For instance, partnering with a large software company in the enterprise market that might want to expand its client offerings with Dropsource’s expertise in low-code mobile development platforms. Ping-pong tables optional.