With $30M Venture Round, Mellmo Adds Global Offices, New Publishing Capability

11/23/11Follow @bvbigelow

Mellmo began life on the move. Now the Solana Beach, CA-based startup is going global.

Mellmo, as we’ve explained before, provides business intelligence for mobile users. Its flagship product, Roambi Analytics, is a Web-based service that converts mind-numbing business data from spreadsheets and databases into simple-but-compelling graphic displays—pie charts, bar charts, list views, card index views—for iPhone and iPad users.

Since mid-September, when Mellmo secured $30 million in its first round of institutional funding, the four-year-old startup has announced the opening of a new London headquarters to oversee business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as new offices in France, Spain, and Italy. The company also established a beachhead in Shanghai, and formed strategic partnerships with Hitachi Consulting, and Deloitte China Consulting—businesses that provide IT services to big companies in Asia.

“Before we even opened our office in London, we had five or six customers in Europe who had purchased our product through the [Apple] app store,” says Mellmo co-founder Quinton Alsbury. “The realization we came to was that the opportunity was much larger than we had anticipated ourselves.”

Mobile business intelligence is an idea that suddenly took off, Alsbury says, especially among the businesses listed in the Fortune Global 500 annual ranking of biggest companies in the world. “The concept of mobile BI in general just exploded after the iPad came out,” he says, adding that tablets are expected to surpass PCs as access points to business intelligence data by 2013. Instead of making business decisions from a desk, executives can access data on the factory floor, warehouse, or while traveling.

Mellmo enables customers to upload data from their corporate database (the company supports SAP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and others) to the Roambi website. Customers can select the graphic views they want to use, add customizations, and make the information available internally to their workforce. Under Mellmo’s freemium business model, a basic personal account is free, and the service can be upgraded to Pro or Enterprise subscriptions, depending on customer needs.

I met with Alsbury last month, during the CTIA’s annual Enterprise & Applications conference at the San Diego Convention Center. As Mellmo’s president of product innovation, Alsbury leads the interactive design, user experience, functionality, and art design of Roambi. He was at the CTIA to demonstrate Roambi Flow, a wholly new software as a service that enables corporate customers to wrap text around their Roambi graphics to produce print-like reports. With Roambi Flow, users can embed their graphic displays in documents to create a platform that publishes much more comprehensive reports for the iPad.

“Imagine what The Wall Street Journal would be if it showed up on your doorstep with just the charts and graphics,” Alsbury says. “Roambi Flow enables customers to add editorial copy with their graphics to create an iPad-style magazine.”

“It’s the first thing I’ve seen in which the output is optimized for the iPad instead of a pdf,” Asbury says. Mellmo has some customers, such as the financial services giant Primerica, that are looking at Roambi Flow as a platform for their external communications.

Aside from Primerica, Alsbury says Mellmo now has about 160 enterprise customers, including San Diego’s Life Technologies, Novartis, and Dow Corning.

Mellmo also has expanded its workforce to roughly 100 full-time employees, and moved its corporate headquarters from Del Mar, CA, into a distinctive building in Solana Beach that was previously occupied by ServiceNow—which is now an established Web-based services provider on a fast-growth track. Alsbury says that’s good karma for Mellmo, and a sign of things to come.

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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