Q&A with Chris Schroeder: Mobility Entrepreneur, App Expert

Chris Schroeder is co-founder and CEO of App47, a provider of Mobile Application Management (MAM) Solutions.  Schroeder talked with WashingtonExec about his decision to become an entrepreneur, the world of mobility, as well as what he learned from RealOps (acquired by BMC) and how he will apply his lessons to Apps47.

Acknowledging the ever present and ever changing technology world, when asked the question, “Where do you see App47 in five years?” Schroder responded, “In startup time, five years is a long way away.” Schroder plans to not only catch the fast-moving mobility train, but transform the way mobility is executed and perceived. With much hard work,  App47 is well on its way to becoming an industry leader of app management and tools.

WashingtonExec:  What sparked the idea for App47?

Chris Schroeder: After selling RealOps to BMC in 2007, transitioning the team and working on the M&A team, I left BMC to pursue new adventures in the consumer market, specifically the mobile consumer market. I built several iPhone apps, published them in iTunes and set out to market and sell them, $1.00 at a time.  I learned that the customer acquisition costs exceed revenue and that I have a lot to learn about in consumer-focused marketing.

One other area I gained a tremendous amount of experience in was mobility, specifically the platforms supporting the smart phones and tablets taking the market by storm. The “ah-ha” moment came when using this education in mobile and combining it with years of experience building management systems for the enterprise as the genesis for App47.

Having either worked in, built software for or managed operations centers, we know management systems in the enterprise have a different set of features than are required in the consumer market. There is cross over but the areas of App distribution, security, data privacy and performance for not only the App, but back end components are some of the areas that require greater attention and features than in the consumer space. We are confident that as the enterprise adopts the “App”, they will need App47 to manage its application lifecycle.

WashingtonExec:  How has your past experience in the tech industry influenced you in starting App47?

Chris Schroeder: There is a very long list of items I learned, or were reinforced by being part of RealOps. The more significant ones are:

  • Technology is the easy part; it’s the sales and marketing that win the day.
  • Get to market as fast as you can. Getting feedback on what features work and what is needed next is invaluable data that you cannot obtain trying to get the product perfect before launch.
  • After sales and marketing, timing matters, a lot.

WashingtonExec:  What is the biggest challenge you’ve experienced in your career and how did you overcome it?

Chris Schroeder: After RealOps was acquired by BMC and I transitioned the R&D team over to the BMC development process and reporting structure, I transitioned onto the M&A team at BMC. My background was always focused on the technology, so being on a team of financial wizards was daunting, and humbling. I had a lot to learn in a very short time frame. I was familiar with conducting market research but applying a market valuation, and by inference a company valuation, was a whole new art for me.  As I took off my R&D hat and put on my new M&A one, it required a lot of patience from both my co-workers and boss.

WashingtonExec:  Where do you see App47 in the next five years?

Chris Schroeder: In startup time, five years is a long way away. From a financial standpoint obviously I want to be still growing and cash-flow positive, however more importantly I envision App47 being a key component in the transformation of the way mobile apps are developed, deployed and managed in the enterprise. Today, there is a lot of repetitive work and uncertainty on how to build mobile Apps efficiently across multiple platforms in the enterprise.

WashingtonExec:  What is a typical day in the life of Chris Schroeder?

Chris Schroeder: Being an early stage startup, everyone wears many hats and my day is no different. It usually starts with the engineering stand-up call, followed by sales calls into new or existing leads.  My days are often spent working with potential partners on contracts and with the marketing department as we try to increase lead gen.  I can usually be found in the afternoon at the computer catching up on email and getting my “to-do list” done.

WashingtonExec:  What is your favorite mobile App?

Chris Schroeder: Right now I have two Apps that I really like.  For a time productivity point of view I use Instapaper.  I follow a lot of RSS feeds, twitter handles, etc., but don’t always have time to read the articles at that time. Instapaper let’s me save the articles for the downtime to stay up to speed on the latest news.

When I want to have a little fun (and kill time) I like Turbo Granny. My kids turned me on to this addictive game – it’s a great way to kill 5-10 minutes.

WashingtonExec:  What kind of activities do you enjoy outside the office?

Chris Schroeder: I have four children, all under the age of 10, so I love to spend time with my family.  I coach whatever sports they happen to be involved in and enjoy summer afternoons at the pool.

*Article featured in an August issue of the Fairfax Economic Development e-Bird online magazine.

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