Convergence Modeling, a 7-month-old Bellevue startup, wants to make it dead simple for people to create mobile applications that work across various platforms. Led by founder Jean-Jacques Dubray, the company just added to its iPhone offering with support for Android. (Windows Phone 7 is in the works).
In our latest installment of Startup Spotlight, Dubray explained how they are different from a number of others looking to streamline the mobile app development process. And the 47-year-old entrepreneur shared insights on how his son helped inspire the startup company.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Canappi is a Mobile Application Development Platform that greatly simplifies the development of native iPhone and Android applications.”
Inspiration hit us when: “My son and I tried to build an application last fall, Wikityo. I could not believe how hard it was to build just a 4-screen app. What could have been a fun ‘father-n-son’ project turned out to be nearly impossible and very frustrating.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap for the time being, with a laser-sharp focus on quality and understanding what our customers need. If the market values our approach we may then seek outside funding to accelerate our expansion.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “We created a dedicated programming language, mobile-dsl, which requires minimal programming knowledge. It is simple enough that even non-technical people who are willing to “punch above their weight” can get the hang of it. From an mdsl file, Canappi generates all the native iOS and Android code that a developer would otherwise have to write by hand.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “We assembled a diverse team with 3 core focus areas: quality, customer and technology.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “We have underestimated some of the difficulties in executing in our plan.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Steve Jobs is our clear choice because he understands that to bring innovation successfully to the market you must be able to clearly articulate why the change you are delivering is important to the adopters. Canappi defines a unique approach to building mobile apps recognizing that commerce increasingly is going mobile and for everyone to participate, creating great mobile solutions must be simplified.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “Entrepreneurs, developers and business realize they can take advantage of the mobile revolution by themselves, because we make it simple without hiring a team of Objective-C or Android Layout designer gurus. We empowered Nexus 6 to build a life changing application for COPD patients in a month, with their development team, without any prior knowledge of iPhone or even mobile development. Their developer had never touched a Mac before, for that matter.”
Rivals should fear us because: “We have uncovered the blueprint of successful mobile applications and we are sharing it with our customers. Combined with our development platform, which makes mobile development simple (but not simplistic) we empower them to create incredible value for their customers, employees and business partners.”
We are truly unique because: “Competitors try to lock in their customers, often charging monthly fee for years, with technologies that will be obsolete in six months. Our programming language is technology independent, hence we give our customers the opportunity to abstract their app from the technologies vendors want to lock them in. We don’t sell any mobile technology per say. When these technologies change, we change our code generators so that you don’t have to spend much effort rewriting your app to take advantage of new capabilities, or when one of them disappears … like Symbian.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Articulating the value of a very innovative way to create software.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: I would recommend Entrepreneurs to start by asking the question: ‘Why do we build our product or services?’ instead of “What are we building?” We watched this presentation from Simon Sinek, and it certainly had a lot of influence on us and how we reflect and communicate about our tool.”