The company of the day is Sparus Software, based in France. Sparus Software is an ISV who designs, develops and markets “EveryWAN Mobility Manager”. You will find below an interview with Franck Delorme, President and CEO of Sparus Software. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!
Interview with Franck Delorme, President and CEO of Sparus Software
Who are you?
Franck Delorme, President and CEO of Sparus Software, a French Independent Software Vendor who designs, develops and markets “EveryWAN Mobility Manager” an innovative software suite which enables enterprises to deploy and manage Windows Mobile or WinCE handheld devices over wireless networks (WLAN and/or WWAN) in a secure and cost-effective way, thereby reducing operating expenses.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘company of the day’ per Microsoft?
What did you do before creating your company?
I was a venture capitalist and also an operational manager in a very successful French software company (Dassault Systemes).
How did you get the idea? What s the genesis?
Our vision in 2005 was that, although the “mobile 2.0” business benefits –i.e. for the enterprise mobilizing their business using handheld devices and real-time access via mobile operator wireless data networks– were becoming obvious (increase revenues, improve remote workers efficiency, reduce DSO and costs…), there would be a whole new set of technical and economic challenges to make it work. Key issues are, unlike other networking technologies (LAN, WLAN, ADSL…), cellular data networks implies extra communications costs – especially in roaming situations–, as well as high latency, low bandwidth and possible network connection loss, thus affecting application performance, overall “service continuity” and end-user productivity. Furthermore, since mobile workers do not frequently return to corporate offices, the IT department needs to provide helpdesk support and manage devices remotely “over-the-air” throughout the mobile project life-cycle: initial provisioning, day-to-day use, maintenance, updates, troubleshooting and decommissioning.
What do you sell? What is your company’s mission?
We sell EveryWAN Mobility Manager, an enterprise IT infrastructure software product which enables large and mid-size companies to control their mobile IT environment when deploying Windows Mobile devices for Line of Business applications and/or mobile PIM/Email. Our mission is to make our customers succeed in their mobility projects while reducing costs.
What is your market?
Enterprise Mobile/Wireless IT Infrastructure (ie. Mobile Device Management, Mobile Security, Mobile VPN, Mobile Services Management).
Any clients? References? Partners? You want to quote?
We have over 30 customers managing more than 12,000 Windows Mobile devices; Key references are Cegedim, Deloitte, Saint Gobain, SNCF, Veolia, … We also rely on business partners in the mobile IT ecosystem: Microsoft, IBM, Econocom, Motorola, Steria, Logica, Orange Business Services, … Best is to let our customers speak about their experience working with Sparus. (*)
Funding history? VCs? BA?
Management team, Business Angels and 2 Venture Capital funds contributed to the financing of the company R&D and sales/business development over the last 3.5 years (4.3 million euros raised to date).
We expect approx. 100% growth rate over 2007-2009 (we started shipping our product early 2007); we opened our UK subsidiary in oct 2008, and have an active business partner in Sweden. Since mid-2008 we have also developed a web-based marketing strategy, enabling us to reach out for customers and business partners worldwide.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
15 employees including 8 software developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what? Where?
Yes, hiring in R&D and marketing.
Which platform are you building on? Why? ( No taboos)
Windows Server and Linux (server-side) and Windows Mobile (device-side). Windows Server is widespread, and Linux may be a prerequisite for certain customers. Windows Mobile is the leading platform for enterprise mobile Line of Business applications (both consumer and ruggedized form factors) which is one the biggest growth sector in the mobile space.
Do you have any Software IP? Is there something that you’re the only one to do on the market?
We own 100% of our IP. Overall, our unique selling proposition / differentiator is that we are a “one-stop-shop” for controlling the mobile IT environment (otherwise one would need 2 or 3 distinct products). We have also several unique features, such as “Mobile Application Tunneling” which optimizes the way Line of Business mobile applications operate over cellular data networks, and “Mobile Remote Support” which is a powerful real-time remote control of end-user devices.
Who’s your role model?
Bernard Charles, CEO of Dassault Systemes, visionary, energetic.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet areas?
In the enterprise sector, deploying unified communication technologies over mobile handheld devices is a large opportunity.
Looking for funding? If yes, how much?
Not for the short-term.
What about the BizSpark Program? What do you think? Are you going to join? Why?
We believe that BizSpark is a formidable opportunity for those many startups.
Any advice to young Software entrepreneurs?
Choose a space where there is real pain, assemble an experienced and complementary management team, build partnerships and “focus, focus, focus”.
Anything else you’d like to say?
SPARUS experienced the benefits of BizSpark since early 2006 when we joined the IDEES sponsorship program in France. It has given us the visibility and credibility that is essential to reach out our first customers and business partners.
(*) Customer quotes:
« We plugged the EveryWAN server in, open the flow, installed the clients and everything started working immediately with stable connections. This is a victory for us as we spent hours and hours trying to fix problems which had no technical solution vis-à-vis the mobile operator. Everyone’s happy: we are because we use less bandwidth and our customers reduce their telecom bills » (Frederic Callard, Cegedim Global Network Manager)
« We knew how to manage a computer infrastructure but not a mobile infrastructure. With Sparus we’ve greatly improved in this domain and we’ve maybe achieved perfection. The rate of reproduction, efficiency and implementation of EveryWAN was very fast, it met our needs perfectly. » (Marc Zuilli, CIO Deloitte France)
« We’ve installed EveryWAN and it helped us have stability and performance right away. Thanks to EveryWAN we’ve also been able to measure real traffic technician-by-technician and month-by-month, and then were able to lower our monthly subscription plan with our mobile telecom operator. It has paid off for us.» (Eric Payan, CIO e.l.m. leblanc)