Case Study – Cotham Technologies: App Development Transformed – Easier, faster, smarter, apps for all

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SETsquared Bristol

To help our aspiring entrepreneurs and future SETsquared Bristol members, we are showcasing a number of case studies demonstrating the breadth of tech and depth of success in SETsquared Bristol and what it takes to achieve.

We had a chat with Cotham Technologies CEO & Co-Founder, Raman Mistry…

 

What does Cotham Technologies do?

Cotham Technologies have a patent filed mobile app development platform called FloFrame, which is a catalyst for ‘digital business transformation’. We help businesses to digitise processes and work flows through easily and rapidly creating mobile apps. FloFrame can significantly accelerate customers’ ability to build B2B (Business to Business), B2C (Business to Consumer) and B2E (Business to Employee) solutions, integrated with cloud and enterprise systems.  The result is a significant time-to-value advantage for customers across multiple industry sectors and technology paradigms.

The beauty of our solution is that the integration to real world backend systems is architected in an agnostic manner: the FloFrame platform connects via re-useable  software building blocks to technologies such as enterprise systems from leading vendors (i.e. IBM, SAP, Salesforce, Oracle Microsoft) IoT, Blockchain solutions, Augmented Reality (AR) or Artificial intelligence (AI). Analogous to the way that WordPress transformed web development through a no-code environment, we transform mobile app development.

There are a number of low-code platforms out there, uniquely Cotham Technologies specialises in completely codeless, purely native enterprise grade apps, which is a differentiated positioning in this market. Using other frameworks and tools apps often take months to build, FloFrame enables apps to be delivered in days/weeks to a very high level of sophistication and performance. Our product is very visually intuitive and user friendly, with the ability to use native features such as a camera, barcode scanner or fingerprint reader, offering a more frictionless user interface and experience.

 

How did you enter SETsquared?

We were one of ten companies offered funded SETsquared Bristol membership in September 2017, when we were accepted onto the Digital Catapult IoT boost programme, and we became part of the second fully-funded IoT Boost cohort last year. We’re already working with a couple of IoT companies, and as a result were invited to exhibit at the Innovate UK IoT exhibition at the NEC in December 2017, as well as a number of other shows.

 

How has SETsquared and IoT Boost helped you?

SETsquared membership has been great and very supportive, giving our business credibility through association with their brand. Being members has allowed us to be around other companies with similar challenges creating new opportunities to do business with them with access to networking. We found the workshops really useful, as well as advice and coaching from the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and advisor clinics, covering all areas of business from marketing, finance, and raising capital. SETsquared has plenty of experienced people to leverage best practice from. Our assigned Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Pete Keevill, has been very helpful.

In turn, IoT Boost has given us more kudos to leverage these technologies. We did a demo with IBM’s Watson IoT platform, which we’ll use as our demo for the IoT Boost programme showcase. You can view the demo video here.

We found that being in the cohort has given us greater understanding of the tech and drivers of the market through the business support network and round table events, which we’ve found very useful.

 

What business have you won so far?

TM Forum have been a long-term customer, and SETsquared member, Fundsurfer, are one of our original clients. We have a large contract with German HQ environmental services company, Tegos, where we are building a number of apps for the UK arm. They are the first company to licence our FloFrame product.

A shift over the last two quarters has included engagements with big global companies such as IBM, Ericsson, DXC, and Fujitsu amongst others. We’re currently talking to a global printing manufacturer whose strategy involves the embedding of our FloFrame technology into their hardware devices.

We’re also in discussion to build a ‘wayfinding’ app for a customer part of a global hotel franchise, which is our first foray into augmented reality. It’s a exciting time for the company, with opportunities to grow across industry sectors and innovate with new emerging technologies..

 

Who is in your team?

Cotham Technologies’ DNA is about having a fantastic team with a shared strategic vision to shape the evolution of the next generation of app development platforms, and to create immense value for our partners and customers alike. Our execs have a track record of successful exits in the past, either as IPO or trade sales. Dominic O’Neill (CTO and co-founder), was the principal engineer at Orange and has five software patents granted as part of that activity. Orange was later acquired by France Telecom. Stephen Lee (CSO) and James Magin (CPO) co-founded Smiths Consulting, a technology services firm which was sold to Capita. Kay O’Neill is our CFO whose background includes Nair and Co and KPMG. I was one of the early employees at Ubiquity Software, which floated on the London AIM market, and was later acquired for $144M by global technology company Avaya.

 

Do you have any awards/accreditations?

We were proud to be one of the ten companies – and the only UK company – referenced on OVUM’s Global Decision Matrix report for enterprise mobile app platforms, alongside well-established players like Salesforce, IBM, and Oracle. We’ve been in discussion with global leading analyst firms and are hoping to be referenced by those in the coming months to further enhance our industry recognition and credibility.

Earlier this year we were pleased to be accepted onto the SETsquared Partnership’s Scaleup Programme, and Digital Accelerator Scaleup Hub.

 

Are you looking for investment?

Cotham Technologies has customers and revenues that has helped to bootstrap and grow the business organically. We’re now working on fine tuning our investor-readiness and are hoping to pitch at the SETsquared Scaleup Investor event in June 2019. We’ll probably be aiming to raise £2 to £3 million to help build out our engineering, sales, marketing, and operational teams, as well as the potential to open global offices, primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. We’ll also look at additional product offerings to target other market sectors, utilising the versatility and power of the underlying FloFrame technology.

 

What’s been your biggest challenge to date?

 The biggest challenge has been growing and scaling the company organically. We were approached by a Silicon Valley tech company about potential acquisition, but we felt it was too early, although it’s great to get the recognition and exposure.

 We’re a knowledge and people-based business and principally finding the right engineers and designers is also challenging, like with other tech companies. We set the bar high looking for the right mix of aptitude and people that want to come on this exciting journey with us.

 

What are your next steps?

We’re working on getting investor management ready, to have active discussions with venture partners and investors. We’ll be focused on serving existing customers, as well as winning other business. We have some exciting opportunities with big global players – which we’re trying to close in the next quarter.

We’ve come from a service led business, using our own technology to build apps for customers and clients. We’re strategically aiming to become a fully-fledged product licensing company, licencing our tech to other organisations to build apps for themselves or for their customer base so our focus will encompass go to market launch activities.

 

What’s the ethos underpinning your business?

Our strapline is ‘innovation wins’. We’re all about continually innovating, looking at newer and impactful technologies, such as AR, Blockchain or AI, and are always looking for people that are passionate about developing cutting edge tech. The platform is innovative, as is what we do for our customers. Our mission is ‘easier, faster, smarter, apps for all’. Essentially, we are liberalising the development of the app supply marketplace.

 

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?

 

Persistence is a great attribute, as well as flexibility, you need to go out with a vision but be prepared to pivot. There is evidence that shows some of the most successful companies have pivoted at least once, for example, YouTube. We are currently embedding our technologies into devices, which, for us, is a pivot that could open-up great opportunities. Also, in any organisation you need to have incredible people around you: have a team that works well together that you can trust and rely on.

 

Discover more of the companies SETsquared incubate here and sign up to the monthly SETsquared newsletter to keep up with news, events, opportunities and more.

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