It's far more insightful if we have a bit more context such as how its management team is shaping. That's especially true for startups that have Salesforce.com and a host of others competing for turf in the fast growing social enterprise market.
Today we are looking at Socialcast, Yammer and Apigee. Both Socialcast and Yammer have activity steam products. The Apigee platform
provides a gateway for API traffic management, security and analytics.
The direction of these three companies point to movements that are rapidly unfolding as we move into the new year. The relationships between the client and the cloud point to the demand for new frameworks that make the passing of data as seamless as possible. Appliances that host social technologies that can be plugged into the enterprise are increasingly in demand. APIs are becoming so numerous that companies need single gateways to offer developers access to their platform of choice. Activity streams are becoming popular among users. A user can be up and communicating in as long as it takes to sign up for a service. The data that passes through these services is considerable, requiring the need for analytics and ways to find the information pertinent to the context of the inquiry.
Socialcast today announced a 600% increase in revenues last year and the hiring of two new executives, who have experience from working at VeriSign and Microsoft respectively. Scott Magrath joins as vice president of operation. He was general manager of the managed services business at VeriSign before the group was sold to Secureworks where he took on the role as vice president of strategy. Tauseef Bashir joins Socialcast as vice president of sales. He served in the executive group at FAST Search and Transfer, the search technology company that was sold to Microsoft. Most recently, Bashir worked at Ramp as vice president of sales and business development. Ramp is a SaaS content optimization platform for publishers, media companies and broadcasters.
Socialcast works with a number of Fortune 100 companies. These larger enterprises are seeking ways to access the unprecedented amount of data that runs through its networks. Search is a component of what is baked into Socialcast. That aspect of the business will be increasingly important. As for Socialcast's distinguishing strategy for 2011 - it has to be on the company's solutions oriented approach. Magrath should prove important as the company builds out its infrastructure in the new year.
Yammer's Vice President of Marketing Steve Apfelberg said the company had triple digit growth in 2010. The company does not disclose its earnings. In November, the company raised $25 million. Today it announced Leaderboard, a service that helps users discover their top members, best posts and most heavily replied-to threads.. ReadWriteWeb Co-Editor Marshall Kirkpatrick says it is a service he wishes Twitter offered for breaking out Twitter Lists.
Yammer's service is distinguished by its free offering that sets a contract with an individual to use the activity stream technology. Yammer gets criticized for this strategy by competitors but it's apparent that its "freemium" practice is working.
Apfelberg said that often individuals in a company will sign up for the service. Companies will see networks start emerging that have groups of employees on the Yammer platform. When a company adopts Yammer, the data for the individuals using the Yammer service is integrated into the new corporate account. Until that point, the individual controls the data. That user may export their own data but until it becomes part of the company network, it's the individual's choice fon how to use it. That's the model of a freemium service. The individual holds the contract until the service gets adopted and the enterprise then pays on a per user basis.
Apigee's Sam Ramji said the company is in its third quarter. By the end of the fiscal year, he projects that the growth of the company will be on the order of 900%. He says at this point, revenues are up about 400%. That sound off? The volume of the data through Apigee's API gateway helps justify this growth. According to Ramji, Apigee is seeing 16 billion API calls per month. He expects that to be five times what it is today by the end of the fiscal year. With that kind of growth, the revenue jump can be justified.
In part driving that growth is the growing demand by telecommunications companies to offer APIs for developers to access SMS or MMS messages, location information and other data. Instead of running multiple APIs, AT&T uses the Apigee gateway for developers to access its data. It's simpler and Apigee has relationships that allow for simpler ways for developers to access services such as Foursquare or LinkedIn.
The demand for API gateways will continue as more sectors of the market increasingly allow access to its data. Ramji says financial services companies and the travel industry should see more activity in the year ahead.
"The decade is off to a bang and we are only in the first few weeks of the year," Ramji said about the general rate of innovation across the market.
Update: Apigee's revenues are for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The company launched in 2008 with its cloud services platform. Apigee was previously Sonoa Systems, but was renamed last year. Sonoa was founded in 2004. The core technology was built prior to its launch in 2008. Socialcast was founded in 2005. Yammer launched in 2008. The time in the market, growth in revenues and the size of the company all are factors for why we consider all of these companies young, emerging providers.