Top SaaS investors have been saying for nearly a year that the next billion-dollar market opportunities are rooted in mobile enterprise apps – software for people who don’t sit behind a desk but do keep a smartphone in their pocket.
Last month, we talked about the trend with Kevin Spain of Emergence Capital. More recently, we caught up with Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners, who says Bessemer, which has already made 10 related bets, is similarly making a giant push into more mobile enterprise apps businesses. More from our chat, lightly edited, here:
How long have you been focusing on mobile enterprise apps?
We probably began focusing on this 18 months ago, with investments that range from pure plays like [the conference calling software company] Speakeasy to vertical applications – meaning they have mobile-heavy use cases or vertical use cases — like [the construction management software company] Procore; ServiceTitan [it makes management software for home services businesses like plumbing]; and ClearCare [which makes software for home care agencies].
Something like 80 percent of the 3 billion people in the world who work do not sit behind a desk. Given the opportunities, how do you decide which industries to go after first?
We look at industries and market size and sectors. We look at the state of existing technologies. And we try to have hypotheses around which verticals should fall first and where the biggest opportunities should lie. But we’re also very opportunistic in terms of meeting with great entrepreneurs and trying to find out where traction is happening because often it happens in areas you wouldn’t expect. For example, construction wasn’t an area we were looking at as an early adopter segment. Now that we work with Procore, it seems obvious in hindsight. But it isn’t something you would have seen outside in. It took industry insiders and proactive outreach to understand the power of the trend.
Which is suddenly huge. There seem to be a lot of mobile companies now tackling the construction market.
There can be multiple winners in these markets; they’re surprisingly big. Take ClearCare in the health care space. Healthcare alone is massive and it’s just sourcing a small part of it.
The company is [focused on] home care workers for a specific type of segment. But there are probably dozens of other opportunities to do mobile-centric things in healthcare, within the hospital setting, within the home setting . . . we think it will be many years in the making, and that these are very early days.
What industry do you think is ripe for mobile disruption next?