In recent years, Microsoft, Facebook and Slack (and many more) have all built new productivity platforms for workers to integrate and communicate about dozens of other API-enabled enterprise apps, but what about productivity tools for those enterprises that have no appetite or budget to rip out and replace software that they’ve been using for years? Well, there’s an app for that, too.
Sapho, which has developed a platform that lets you build “micro apps” for older legacy software packages (often without any APIs at all) to make them more useful and used (“as easy as using Facebook” is the pitch from CEO and cofounder Fouad ElNaggar), has picked up $14 million in a Series B round of funding — raised as the startup continues to pick up speed among enterprises using older software, growing revenues 320 percent and customers 200 percent in 2016.
Typical categories covered in Sapho’s range include expense reporting, sales software, IT support tickets and HR tasks.
Sapho added a Microsoft Teams integration earlier this month, and it also added an integration with IBM Domino (the server side of the legacy service IBM Notes) this past February. It also integrates with software from Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle’s EBS, Salesforce and SAP ERP.
That momentum has also meant that Sapho has been attracting M&A attention: close sources tell us that both Microsoft and IBM are among a group who have talked to the startup about buying it outright as a route to offering micro apps building and administering services to enterprises direct, rather than letting a third party do it for them.
Sapho’s valuation is not being disclosed, but ElNaggar tells us that its increased nearly three-fold since its last round, a Series A of $9.5 million in June 2016, announced at the same time as Sapho launched out of closed beta. The company has raised $27 million to date and is not yet profitable, investing everything in growth at the moment, he added.
The rush of new cloud services from the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, Box and so many more has taken the IT industry by storm. Many small companies and some larger ones are jumping into the new wave of IT with both feet by buying into cloud-based products that can be used in the office, on the go on your phone and maybe even through your watch or Echo speaker.
But that is not the whole story: there is a lot of legacy software still being used by large enterprises, and in many cases the cost of it has already been depreciated to zero, noted cofounder Peter Yared, making it a compelling concept for companies to figure out how to continue to use that rather than invest in something new.
“In Silicon Vally people love to talk about running Docker and Kubernetes, and that is the future of the enterprise stack maybe 15 years from now, but the reality today is that we’ve got security concerns and an IT team that is not ready to make that migration,” said ElNaggar.