Sapho raises $14M to turn old enterprise software into modern apps

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While most other application development startups focus on streamlining greenfield software projects, Sapho Inc. is working to help companies make better use of their existing investments.

The three-year-old firm entered the industry spotlight today after securing a $14 million investment led by a low-key San Francisco fund called Caffeinated Capital. Sapho will spend the money on hiring more salespeople and developing new features for its Modern Portal Experience platform. The MPX offering enables technology professionals to make their companies’ aging internal software accessible through apps with a modern user interface.

Sapho claims that its approach provides several major benefits. First, apps created in MPX can run on almost everything from mobile devices to messaging services, which removes the need for workers to stay glued to their office workstations. And second, the platform enables companies to customize each client based for the intended users.

An insurer, for instance, could create a mobile client for its customer relationship management software that notifies salespeople when a new enterprise customer buys a plan. It would also be possible to create a separate app for the accounting team to let them easily access the information they need to handle the administrative aspect of deals.

Sapho’s platform is proving useful in numerous other areas as well. The startup claims to have doubled its customer base last year while seeing a more than 320 percent increase in revenue. TechCrunch cited anonymous sources as saying Sapho’s rapid growth peaked the interest of Microsoft Corp. and IBM Corp. along the way, leading them both to bring up the possibility of a buyout.

Today’s funding round seems to suggest the startup will continue to operate independently for a while longer. Besides Caffeinated Capital, the investment included contributions from Bloomberg Beta, Felicis Ventures, Alsop Louie Partners, SoftTech VC, Morado Ventures and AME Cloud. The investment should help Sapho maintain its momentum amid competition from the likes of Capriza Inc., which raised a $23 million round led by Andreessen Horowitz last year to drive demand for its competing application platform.

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