Investors have just bankrolled Sapho, a stealthy startup with mobile apps that aggregate alerts and basic functions from lots of enterprise software companies already use.
With the new $3 million in seed funding, Sapho intends to bolster its development team and expand its range. One key objective: supporting more tools out there, including cloud-based software, Sapho co-founder and chief technology officer Peter Yared told VentureBeat in an interview. (Disclosure: Peter Yared has contributed a number of editorials to VentureBeat in the past.)
In doing so, Sapho hopes to make it possible for many more employees to use the software their companies have already paid for, said Yared, who previously worked with fellow co-founders Charles Christolini and Fouad ElNaggar during his time as chief information officer at CBS Interactive.
“What we noticed at CBS was it was incredibly difficult to get people to use enterprise software,” Yared said. “The software is cumbersome and complicated. Logins are always wonky. It’s hard to understand. You don’t know where to go.”
Sapho’s applications, built in HTML5, are designed to avoid that software hell. But competition could come from Microsoft’s Yammer and hot startup Slack, which have been working on ways to bring information from enterprise software into their business-messaging applications.
Still, the big-media veterans heading up Sapho believe their creations ought to stand up to challengers just fine. Sapho hooks into companies’ on-premises software, including databases like IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server and application servers like Apache Tomcat and Oracle Weblogic.
It might be hard to imagine what a mobile app for these things would look like, especially when Sapho isn’t ready to do a demo yet. Yared likens the user interface to the cards from Google Now, which surface data like flights, calendar events, traffic, and sports scores. Sapho’s cards get stacked up in a similar way. And its push notifications appear on an Android or iOS mobile device or in a desktop browser window.
Windows Phone is coming up next, Yared said. Support for cloud software like Workday, Salesforce.com, and Zendesk will come in time, too.
Caffeinated Capital’s Raymond Tonsing led the round in Sapho. Bloomberg Beta, Redpoint Ventures’ Brad Jones, Andy Rankin, and SoftTech VC also participated.
San Francisco-based Sapho started earlier this year. The startup had not raised funding in the past. A few companies have started using Sapho’s apps, Yared said.
Sapho currently employs 11 people. “We’re hiring as many people as we can right now,” Yared said. “We need to scale the company.”