Mobile Internet usage has been growing quickly, shooting up from 4 percent to 10 percent of all Internet usage in the last 18 months worldwide, according to the latest report from Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins. In some countries such as India, mobile Internet use has eclipsed desktop use. But only a fraction of the millions of small and medium-sized businesses in the world have modified their websites for mobile usage.
BMobilized, a New York City-based company, is stepping up to take on this market with the launch of a DIY tool that converts any website into a HTML5-enabled mobile site. The company, which quietly began signing up customers in the last month, joins a number of competitors including DudaMobile, a company we recently profiled, Mobify and others.
The company is pitching its Automatic Content Identification technology, which uses 300 algorithms to identify the various menus, content and assets on a website. The system is smart enough to prioritize what needs to be converted and can also understand the main branding elements of the original website including the font, color and logos so they can automatically be preserved. And it can automatically sync the mobile converted site with the original website so all changes are constantly reflected on the mobile site.
Customers can also add more than 25 additional mobile features including click-to-call, click-to-map and sharing buttons with 15 more in the works. The mobile engine converts everything to HTML5 and ensures that it can be rendered on 14,000 different combinations of hardware and browsers. The service works in eight languages.
Ben Seslija, bMobilized’s CEO, said there’s a huge opportunity in serving small and medium sized businesses, who are losing out on business because their customers are increasingly reaching them on mobile devices. He said there is about 7 to 8 million small and medium sized businesses in the U.S. with websites but 8o percent of them were designed for desktop browsing.
“There’s very different usage on mobile devices,” Seslija said. “You need to add different and new elements for a mobile presence which are not needed on a regular website.”
BMobilized charges $5 a month for small businesses and $9 a month for larger businesses that want to pay for support. That’s competitive with DudaMobile, which charges $9 a month for businesses and professionals. The company was spun out in 2009 from a Norwegian company called bMenu, which helped companies create and maintain their own mobile portal. The company took $1 million in funding from bMenu and raised an additional $1.5 million last month in a Series A round from European VCs, Alliance Venture and Investinor. It relocated to New York from Norway last year.
BMobilized, which already has about 1,500 customers, will have its hands full competing with DudaMobile, which Google is using as part of its GoMo campaign to help businesses build mobile websites. But Seslija believes bMobilized’s technology, which is being patented, is superior. He is also counting on pushing sales through partners such as Salesforce.com,which will be able to offer a white label solution to its customers.
With the market still so large and mobile usage only increasing, I think there’s a lot of room for bMobilized and others to compete. Business owners have been slow to understand the power of mobile but it can hurt them in ways they don’t realize. Some business owners either don’t realize how different mobile is or they think it’s too hard to implement. But tools like DudaMobile, bMobilized, Mobify and others are showing that it can be pretty easy to go mobile if you know where to look.