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This startup thinks enterprise mobile apps should be more like consumer apps

Have you noticed a huge gap between consumer and enterprise apps on your phone? While consumer apps are beautifully designed and easy to use, business apps are a pain to use.

A European startup is developing a suite of B2B applications designed specifically for mobile devices, as phones have become most people’s primary computers. They call their company…a mobile-first company.

When you download an app from the company, you can expect to be able to create an account from your phone (not always the case with B2B apps) and perform all actions from the device in your pocket. Too many companies offering B2B tools treat mobile apps as companion apps and second-class citizens.

But the European startup isn’t trying to recreate Salesforce, Asana or Workday on mobile devices. Instead, the company plans to focus on small and medium-sized businesses, addressing their needs one app at a time. Small companies don’t need complex enterprise software solutions. They need an app that performs a set of tasks well.

The Mobile-First Company has many ideas, such as building an app to create quotes, or another app to track expenses, or an app specifically for managing inventory on the shop floor or in a small warehouse.

“The idea is actually to build a suite of apps. It won’t be an all-in-one app and that will be the main differentiator from other players. We don’t believe in the all-in-one model because people are afraid of technology,” co-founder and CEO Jérémy Goillot told me.

The first app to track inventory

Ignacio Siel Brunet, co-founder and CTO of the new project, previously served as VP of Engineering at Pomelo, a Latin American fintech infrastructure company with 200 engineers.

While Siel Brunet has more experience meeting the needs of larger companies, he has also seen that B2B applications don’t adapt well to smaller businesses. “I know how to help big companies solve big problems. But on the other hand, my family and I also have this problem. They own a furniture company and have problems with invoicing, inventory, etc.,” he told me.

Many small companies simply rely on consumer apps to meet their needs. “They use Instagram as a showcase, WhatsApp as a CRM, and personal banking to manage their finances,” Goillot said. “Our DNA is to keep this B2C-style app user-friendly and mass-market appealing while solving problems.”

The mobile-first company’s first app is Amoa, a mobile app for tracking inventory. For example, many repair shops rely on spreadsheets to track the number of spare parts they currently have in stock. But employees don’t typically spend their work day in front of a computer.

With Amoa, they can open the app, add parts by scanning a barcode, add additional information such as pricing details, and start using the app as a source of truth. When they pick something up off the shelf, they can take that item out of Amoa and move on.

Even if you don’t sell items, managing inventory can be useful. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you might want to create a list of all your camera lenses and gear to make sure you don’t leave anything behind. Likewise, nurses want to make sure they have everything they need before driving to see their first patient.

Act like a mobile gaming company

Amoa may or may not work. The idea is that mobile-first companies will develop, launch, iterate, and eliminate ideas that don’t work so they can focus on the most promising ones. In my discussions with the founders, it felt more like talking to a casual mobile gaming company than a B2B software company. Eventually, the company plans to monetize the most promising apps with premium features that you can unlock through paid subscriptions.

That’s because the startup’s CEO, Jérémy Goillot, previously served as head of growth at spend management startup Spendesk, so he already knows something about product-market fit. He is the fourth employee at the French fintech company, which is quickly becoming a unicorn.

When he left Spendesk, he spent some time traveling and researching tech products and how they were used outside of Europe and the United States. “I went to Africa a lot, from Nigeria to Ghana and Kenya, because I wanted to see other types of products. I also travel a lot to Latin America,” Golot said.

“I’m really impressed by other types of companies. We’re big fans of Indian companies – Zoho is one of them. We’re also big fans of Treinta – it’s a Colombian company.”

Mobile-First Company has raised €3.5 million ($3.8 million at today’s exchange rates) in pre-seed funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Emblem. A number of angel investors also participated in the round, including Xavier Niel (Kima Ventures), Thibaud Elzière (Hexa), Jean-Baptiste Hironde (MWM) and Rodolphe Ardant (Spendesk).

Now, the company wants to act quickly. “By the end of the year, our goal is to release six apps that really advance the company’s knowledge at this high-speed try, kill, try, kill,” Goillot said.

“We were able to build an app in two weeks. We were able to drive thousands of downloads a day,” he added. So let’s see how long it takes for a mobile-first company to release an app that you can spot in the wild when you talk to small business owners.

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