Vancouver startup QuickMobile Inc. has netted another $3.2 million in funding, thanks to its investors BDC Venture Capital IT Fund and Vancity.
QuickMobile, which builds multi-event mobile apps for enterprise and small to medium businesses, touts itself as a way to streamline the app-building process. The apps are typically for corporate gatherings like conferences, allowing organizers to keep track of attendees, image galleries, messaging and social media.
For clients who lack the technical know-how to develop their own apps, the company has created a template to help them build one master app for a whole host of events, instead of requiring them to have multiple separate apps for every event. Its clients include Dell Inc., the Walt Disney Company, Microsoft Corp., Goodyear Inc., Bausch & Lomb Inc. and Hilton Worldwide, Inc.
While QuickMobile only introduced the master app concept in Q4 of 2012, the money coming in has helped the company grow. Lately, the company has undertaken a slew of hiring and service deployment because of “almost overwhelming demand,” said CEO Patrick Payne.
“We had been talking to our customers, so we were certainly expecting a lot of good take-up,” Payne said. “But this was literally 10 times what we even projected, and we were pretty optimistic about our chances.”
While the company is known for creating multi-event apps, Payne added that their customers are also starting to use the apps in more creative ways. Many of them have gone beyond simply using the master app to showcase upcoming events. Instead, some customers have progressed to using the app as a communication tool, sending internal messages between employees either by just using the app or by integrating existing internal communications systems with it.
The multi-event app platform “is still in its embryonic stages, shall we say,” Payne said. “But people are very quickly getting into this idea that if we have a master app inside our organization, then we should use it for other forms of communication as well.”
However, there is something to be said for the power of face-to-face networking at events, says Derek Andersen, founder of Startup Grind.
“To bury yourself in an app is a complete opposite reason for being at an event,” he says. “The whole point of being at an event is to interact and be with people.”
Andersen adds that he feels event organizers shouldn’t rely on apps to connect people. Over the past two years, he has organized about 200 events, and although he has tried using apps and sites to generate interest and facilitate networking, he says he believes great content and great speakers should still be organizers’ true focus. Plus, if attendees are looking to network with successful people, those individuals aren’t necessarily using these apps, Andersen says.
QuickMobile passed the 100-employee mark last September. The startup now employs 160 people, and it just added three people to its leadership team in the past few months. QuickMobile welcomed Robin Jones, vice-president of marketing, Rob Reilly, vice-president of client and partner services and Darren Card, director of product management.
In the meantime, the company is looking to hire 20 more people to help meet customer demand. It is looking to bring in project managers, developers, graphic designers, and people in customer service and QA support, Payne said.
This is the second time in six months that QuickMobile has received more funding. In 2012, the startup received $3.3 million in a funding round led by BDC Venture Capital IT Fund, and in 2011, it picked up $2.6 million of equity investments from Vancity and angel investors.