Startup Targets Business Users With iPhone Graphics App

5/19/09Follow @bvbigelow

By some estimates, some 40,000 software applications have been developed for the Apple iPhone. But with a few notable exceptions, such as Apperian, the Boston startup that Wade profiled earlier this year, not many companies are working on business apps for the versatile mobile phone.

So today’s introduction of a new iPhone app by MeLLmo, a startup based in Del Mar, CA, is more noteworthy than the run-of-the-mill apps that enable iPhone users to toss a figurative coin or to visualize guzzling a mug of beer. MeLLmo says its RoamBi application enables users to transform data from spreadsheets, tables, and other business software into interactive graphics that can be displayed on the iPhone. Users can view, analyze, and share the information.

The iPhone application is free, although the company says it plans to introduce a premium version in 90 days. MeLLmo says it also is offering a Software-as-a-Service version of RoamBi online so that new data can be transformed into a pie chart, for example, and transmitted to a company’s entire sales force. In fact, MeLLmo says it is working with San Francisco-based SaaS provider Salesforce.com to provide such enhanced mobile access to information stored by Salesforce users.

roambi_view“It would be very useful for sales reps,” but they are not the only business user MeLLmo is targeting, co-founder, chairman, and CEO Santiago Becerra says. The goal is to provide a quick and easy way of presenting any kind of business information in a graphical display, including financial, production, and human resources data.

As part of today’s announcement, MeLLmo also unveiled RoamBi Enterprise, a server that allows both small and large organizations to transform business data and reports into visual analytics delivered to the iPhone. “We  give them the option of licensing the software and loading it on their own enterprise server behind a firewall,” Becerra says.

MeLLmo says RoamBi offers four views, or user interface templates, that have been formatted for the iPhone. The templates are specialized for viewing tabular data, catalog data, pie charts, and in a card-like format.

Becerra previously founded two software companies (he sold one to Oracle and the other to Business Objects) and is a former Booz Allen consultant and Harvard MBA. In a statement, Becerra says, “With RoamBi, we have introduced an entirely new format that unlocks the true value of accessing content on mobile devices and empowers users to publish dynamic and interactive information directly to their iPhones.”

Oh, and what does MeLLmo stand for? A spokeswoman for the company says it has no specific meaning. It’s just a name that Becerra’s grandson provided.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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    I agree there is a dearth of truly useful apps on the store. The iPhone is a pocket computer for crying out loud – something unimaginable just a few years ago, and still underutilized.

    MeLLmo seems to have found a way to provide real value and capability with an innovative business model.

    If I may, I’d like to point out another powerful new app that just became available: politicoTracker. It is a news discovery tool, with much more relevant and targeted results than Google, and with the unique capability to do cross-searches.

    Although this app is targeted at political news, more apps will be developed with different focuses using the same search technology. We actively seek suggestions for future products.

    This is our attempt to elevate the iPhone app market. What do you think?