The basic outline
Boston-based Apperian, founded in 2009, is known for its enterprise app catalog and standalone MAM and app wrapping. Apperian targets enterprise and “extended enterprise” use cases like partners, contractors, and field workers.
San Francisco-based Arxan, founded in 2001, provides mobile app and IoT security. Their approach is to harden apps themselves, creating “self-defending” apps. Arxan targets consumer, partner, and employee-facing use cases.
Apperian will operate as a subsidiary of Arxan, and the Apperian brand will remain in use. Terms of the acquisition, which closed in late December, were not announced. According to Crunchbase, Apperian had received $39.4 million in funding, with the most recent being a $12 million Round C in 2015.
Apperian CEO Brian Day recently departed to be CFO at unified communications vendor Fuze. Mark Lorion, former chief marketing and product officer at Apperian, will now be president and general manager.
I spoke to Mark Lorion before today’s announcement, and he noted that the acquisition was a good fit because both companies have app-centric (i.e. not dependent on MDM) philosophies. (Here's Mark's blog post for customers and partners.)
The deal came about because Arxan was looking for app distribution technology. While MAM is generally associated with employee, partner, and contractor-facing use cases, Apperian’s app distribution tools (which include app signing, collecting feedback, group-based distribution, analytics, and a customizable enterprise mobile app store) are useful for development and testing at any company that creates mobile apps.
Apperian’s customers will gain access to Arxan’s more sophisticated app hardening technologies, on top of Apperian’s existing MAM policies. Over time, these may be incorporated directly into the Apperian app wrapper.
The first question that I had was about what will happen to Apperian’s close relationship with Blue Cedar Networks (formerly Mocana). While Apperian used to rely on them for some MAM features, these days Blue Cedar’s key differentiation is their Atlas VPN and SSO platform, which will continue to be attractive to Apperian customers post-acquisition.
Anyway, I’ve always been a fan of Apperian. By their nature, they have always had a good pulse on where mobile apps are making a difference in enterprise and extended enterprise. (See here and here for more on these topics.)
Apperian is also a strong voice for app-centric EMM. Mobile app management technologies are an important aspect of enterprise mobility, yet frequently misunderstood. (This lead me to write a recent series and speak about the topic.)
Some have doubted that app-level MAM could exist as a freestanding product, but the fact that Apperian was acquired by a vendor with a similar app-level focus—and not a general EUC or EMM vendor—indicates that there are plenty of folks that want to focus on apps without worrying about managing devices.
Congratulations to Apperian and Arxan! I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next.