Founded in 2009 and dubbed the “pioneer” of MaaS, Phunware’s products act as the software component of Digital Transformation, enabling high-value touchpoints between brands and end users—supported by Cisco infrastructure, hardware and bandwidth. Phunware makes this possible thanks to an approach called mobile application lifecycle management, which requires thinking holistically about how to define digital experiences, bring them to life, build and monetize audiences, and capture data to make smarter decisions in the future. Phunware’s enterprise mobile software platform includes a suite of tools such as location-based marketing, blue dot wayfinding and hyper-targeted push messaging with deep location analytics.
“Phunware specializes in mobile application life cycle management, predominately for the Fortune 5000,” said Phunware Co-Founder and CEO Alan Knitowski. “And at the heart of all of this is data and how you use it for engagement and insight before, during and after customers visit your physical location.”
A New Wave of Mobility for Silicon Valley
The concept of gathering and analyzing user data to engage consumers and enrich their experiences seems obvious in hindsight, but when Phunware first began making a splash in Silicon Valley, it seemed to be the only brand that saw the wave of mobility transformation coming.
“From day one, we focused on being mobile and being fully integrated with a single log in,” said Luan Dang, Phunware CTO. “From a technology perspective, Phunware was always ‘native apps first’ and we built an entire infrastructure to support a great end-user experience.”
“When we started Phunware, only two percent of the world’s Internet traffic was mobile. Now, it’s 70 percent,” said Alan. “And of that, 90 percent is in native apps – not web browsers. So when Luan and I started Phunware, we saw a massive opportunity to focus on the Fortune 5000 and put mobile first.”
A Win-Win for Cisco and Phunware
Working together on various businesses and ventures (and close friends) since 1996, Alan and Luan raised $17 million in angel funding for Phware during the company’s first five years and to date have raised over $90 million. During an institutional raise that netted them $30 million, Phunware added Cisco as a corporate strategic investor.
“Throughout our company history, we’ve always been tech-focused,” said Luan. “The technology we built around Phunware led us to start working with Cisco and their infrastructure to provide indoor location accuracy.”
Phunware’s ability to capture data from the edge of the network down to individual users offers a “big picture” perspective to digital and marketing leaders. These capabilities directly align with Cisco’s Connected Mobility endeavors, providing their clients unique data offerings that take user engagement and interaction to new levels.
“We identified mobility as a relevant area for Cisco. And working with Phunware positions us to find joint solutions that bring incremental value to our customers,” said Matt Carbonara of Cisco Investments.
Phunware’s Phenomenal Ride
Supported by Cisco Investments, the benefits of the partnership between Cisco and Phunware are not lost on the Phunware team.
“When we think about our vision in the tech space, we want a Phunware ID associated with every device touching the global network through mobile applications. You have to go through a lot of steps to achieve that, and working with the Cisco Investments team added an additional step of credibility,” said Alan.
In the short time since they’ve become entrenched in Cisco as an investment portfolio company, Phunware has participated in several signature global events, including CiscoLive Berlin. The company will also take part in CiscoLive! Las Vegas later this summer as a member of the Cisco Investments pavilion. Phunware has also made it to Cisco’s coveted Price Book, with nine product SKUs to support Digital Transformation and the customer journey.
“It takes time and effort to get on that list,” added Matt. “And they’ve shown the ability to create value for Cisco’s customers for our business counterparts to be willing to champion them.”
Phunware is enjoying a phenomenal ride and their involvement with Cisco Investments has provided a unique chance for them to continue making strides for a branch of the mobility industry for which they essentially set the tone.
“Cisco respects you if you can push the envelope of technology,” said Luan. “And when you can actually demonstrate superior technology, that gets their attention very quickly.”