News Flash: Mobile Banking is Important
In a nutshell, Clairmail provides mobile banking middleware and professional services geared around SMS, mobile web, and native mobile apps.
The deal, rumored to be for $173 million, would represent a solid (if smaller-than-expected) return on the estimated $45M in venture + debt capital raised by the company since 2005 in four+ rounds from Norwest Venture Partners, Outlook Ventures, and others. (Note: Techcrunch’s Crunchbase database shows only $34.1M raised, but omits a C Round of capital and rumored debt financing).
Clairmail and Montise issued a press release that emphasized the synergies of the deal, possibly signaling the beginning of a wave of M&A in the mobile services space. Combined, the two companies service 15 of the top 50 US financial institutions.
What’s interesting about this deal isn’t that mobile banking (specifically app-based banking) isn’t a huge opportunity – it absolutely is! Mobile banking represents one of the highest non-gaming app demand areas. What’s interesting is that Clairmail and Montise continue to focus almost exclusively on the premium, large-brand segment of mobile banking, ignoring the massive opportunity to bring mobile apps to the long-tail financial institutions around the world.
There are over 16,000 financial institution brands in the US. Every one of them needs mobile services to compete with the large service providers, like Bank of America.
While Clairmail and Montise focus only on selling customized mobile payment and banking solutions into the top 1% of institutions, the real question is, what about the other 99%?
How are the smaller banks and credit unions going to compete?
If servicing 15 of the top 50 banks in the US is worth $173 Million, then the real story here are Internet Banking Platforms and the transition from web banking to mobile banking across the entire industry. These platforms powers tens of thousands of banks and credit unions in the US. These companies rich mobile services can, in turn, be powered by Unwired Nation’s mobile platform.
Our partners in the Internet Banking space have something that providers like Clairmail and Montise do not – Scale.
Powering thousand’s of other company’s end-user interactions and transactions should be a great thing – and it’s one of the keys to success for web software providers. However, it represents a Scalability Trap when it comes to transitioning customers to uniquely branded native mobile apps.
The Unwired Nation Spin
That’s where Unwired Nation comes in. We partner with web software companies across a wide variety of industries, from Internet Banking to Pharmacy, from Automotive Dealer Management to Retail. We enable our partners to create value from selling native app versions of their existing web software products. Our business grows by helping companies with real scale service their customers more efficiently and profitably.
It’s great that servicing 15 of the top 50 banks mobile platform business is worth $173 Million. At Unwired Nation, we’re focused on helping our partners win the other 16,000 financial institution’s mobile business.
That, and bringing three million new apps to the app stores in partnership with successful web software companies across all industry segments.