Sandy Kronenberg, co-founder of Detroit-based Locqus, spoke with DBusiness Daily News about apps for small businesses and the future of mobile development.
1. DDN: What does Locqus do?
SK: We provide businesses that have mobile workers the ability to reach their customers with a text message or an email when their driver is in route. It shows a picture of the driver and their ETA and provides the ability (for businesses) to have great communication with their customer. On the backend, we provide a complete office solution for small businesses. And what I mean by that is the ability to do invoicing and accounting; to receive payment; to do all of the scheduling, logistics, and routings; and have geo-location and awareness of where employees are.
2. DDN: Do you focus on small businesses?
SK: We look at (small and medium-sized businesses) as an underserved population of lots and lots of electricians and plumbers and landscapers who just don’t have any tools to manage their teams effectively. We’ve seen a lot of field service management solutions in the mid-market and in the enterprise space, but they’re too cost prohibitive and, quite honestly, they’re difficult to work with. So we’re very focused on creating a field service management solution that most small businesses can get up and running in a matter of minutes — that’s very important to us.
3. DDN: How are you marketing the mobile field app?
SK: Right now, we’re just doing grassroots marketing with a few blog posts and magazine articles, but we’re not going after a national media blitz until September. We’ve been pretty focused at this point on establishing our partners, who we will be announcing within the next month. (One of these partnerships) is in regards to payment processing, which is one of the other other big pain points that many small businesses have — the ability with which to accept payment. So we make it really easy for most small businesses to collect payment, whether it’s mobile in the field or with the click a button (with) invoices emailed to a customer.
4. DDN: You’re participating in TechWeek Detroit’s “Future of Mobile” panel on Friday. How do you see mobile developing?
SK: We’ll see the continuation of the evolution of the Internet of Things and making every single interaction more seamless. The premier example that everyone loves to talk about is Uber (an app that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire). You walk into the cab, say “Hi, Joe,” and then you walk out and say, “Have a good day, Joe.” And you never reach for your wallet the entire time. That experience will be expanded to so many different fronts. (For more about Techweek Detroit, go to techweek.com/Detroit).
5. DDN: What is driving the growth of the mobile app industry?
SK: The proliferation of smartphones — and the increase in the next year from one billion to two billion of them — is a dramatic shift. A significant percentage of the world’s population will now have access to smartphones. In the U.S., everyone gets these cell phone plans with two-year contracts and the device comes with it. But everywhere else in the world, it’s all prepaid. The point is that even those other countries and their carriers are providing methods for people to gain access to smartphones and there’s a lot of offerings that have come out, mostly on the Android platform, that are much cheaper.