Mobile backend-as-a-service Kinvey has released a new app that allows companies to use Salesforce’s CRM platform. It’s Kinvey’s first app, but the company says that through the use of its Data Links technology, it has created a much better experience than Salesforce. The reason is because it functions in a way that someone “would expect a mobile app to behave.” Kinvey’s technology allows apps to have a customizable front-end that will enable companies to tailor it to their teams’ needs.
The creation of this mobile app comes several weeks after the TechStar alumnus announced the release of its Enterprise Edition, which enabled anyone to create and operate mobile apps that can “authenticate users and securely read, edit, and publish data to and from enterprise data sources.” Currently it supports six enterprise integrations. Why is this notable? Because one of those sources is Salesforce CRM.
While Salesforce does have its own mobile apps, Kinvey believes that it’s not meeting the needs of customers. When we spoke with Joe Chernov, Kinvey’s Vice President of Marketing, and formerly of Eloqua, he said:
Salesforce’s mobile app is essentially an “off-the-rack” replica of their Web app, which doesn’t meet the needs of the bulk of their customers who’ve customized their instance.
But it’s not that Kinvey is trying to compete with Salesforce by creating a CRM platform. Chernov denies that this is happening — rather, it’s more that it is competing against other backend platforms like Parse and Stackmob. While services like Parse are going after independent developers and what Chernov describes as “light weight” consumer apps for brands, Kinvey believes that there is opportunity in not only independents, but also enterprise and has certainly doubled down on its strategy.
The Salesforce CRM app is the newest example of Kinvey’s backend potential, not only to show its customizability, but also that it can be utilized for much larger companies and organizations with thousands of users. Salesforce was specifically targeted because it was ripe with customers (more than 80,000) with many interested in mobile applications. Kinvey felt that some may want to create an app that not only uses the platform, but something that their users would find more meaningful.
Or, as Kinvey puts it:
…it doesn’t try to cram the entire Web experience onto the handheld form factor.
Chernov says that one of the key differences between his company and other backend platforms is its use of Data Links technology, a patent-pending methodology Kinvey uses to pull data from its sources. After extracting data from services like SharePoint, SuccessFactors, Taleo, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, Eloqua, Marketo, and Salesforce, companies can create a “mashed up” app. So while Salesforce is being rolled out now, Kinvey says there’s nothing to stop it or others from adding in other databases — no longer will apps need to be exclusive to one service.
Kinvey’s Salesforce CRM app works for both iOS and Android devices and it is still finalizing the prices, but Chernov says that it will likely cost a fraction of what companies are paying to use Salesforce.
Last summer, the company closed a $5 million Series A round led by Avalon Ventures and Atlas Ventures. To date, it has $7 million in investments, which the company hopes will help it become the “de facto public or private platform for the next generation of mobile apps.”
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