on the phone
Sapho micro apps platform delivers a simplified user interface of existing enterprise software PHOTO: HO JJ

Enterprise applications were designed for power users who revel in their intricacies, not everyday workers who just want to get their jobs done. 

So it's no wonder the majority of employees avoid using the company provided software applications or log into them as infrequently as possible.

This is not a theory, but a reality according to Natalie Lambert, vice president of marketing at Sapho, a San Bruno, Calif-based startup whose goal it is to ensure employees have all of the relevant and actionable information they need to get work done at their fingertips, at any time, from any place.

Sapho, which describes itself as a "modern portal experience," provides a single interface for the endless number of applications enterprise workers switch between. With it, users no longer need to repeatedly log into individual applications or navigate through often complex UIs to do something as simple as give a coworker a thumbs-up or welcome a new member to the team.

"Our hope is that by the time an employee gets to the office in the morning, these tasks are done," Lambert told CMSWire, noting that Sapho's mobile UI is similar to Tinder's, making it simple to use on the phone.

Betting on Sapho

Sound appealing? At least half a dozen venture capitalists think it does. And they are betting that companies will buy Sapho with the intention of helping their employees become more productive.

This morning Sapho announced a new, oversubscribed $14 million round of funding led by Caffeinated Capital that includes Bloomberg Beta, Felicis Ventures, Green D Ventures, Morado Venture Partners and SoftTechVC. This follows a $9.5 million Series A funding round last June.

What Is Sapho?

Peter Yared, Fouad ElNaggar and Charles Christolini founded Sapho in 2014 to combat the poor use of enterprise software at CBSi, where the two worked.

Sapho is a micro apps platform on which IT developers, business analysts and business process experts can leverage pre-built templates to build modern, highly palatable and functional single purpose apps on top of existing systems. Employees gain access to their productivity apps including tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, G Suite, IBM Domino through their desktop, their phones or tablets or through their company intranet. 

Sapho SharePoint intranet view
Sapho SharePoint intranet view

Sapho provides a front end that is as attractive and functional as best in class consumer-facing apps, and it actively takes the items you need to take action on and puts them in front of you, without your having to ask.

How It Works

It accomplishes this via its proprietary Extract, Transform, prepare to Notify (ETN) technology, which distills only the "active" data needed to complete workflows from any specific source (enterprise application) and delivers it through the micro app. This is a huge win over grabbing all data, which mainstream business applications try to do.

There is an added advantage as well. Sapho's micro apps can provide a single view into multiple systems and automate tasks between your systems.

sapho microsoft teams on iPhone
So if someone needs you to approve an invoice by the end of the day, Sapho can be set up, proactively, to present you with a "card" that provides the name of the requester, the reason for the expense, the amount and so on, so that you can approve it, or not, from whatever screen you are staring at.

But that's not all. If you're not sure whether Bob's expense report for $150.00 is legitimate, Sapho's machine learning technology can remind you that you typically sign-off on anything less than $500.00 where Bob is involved.

Sapho offers connectors or integrations with more than 90 on-premises applications, SaaS applications, data warehouses, channel providers, identity providers, virtual private clouds and EMM solutions according to Lambert.

The Key Is Simplification

Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller takes what Sapho does and breaks it down a little more simply.

"Basically there is too much enterprise automation in different apps with different UX's making it hard for employees to learn and stay on top of," he told CMSWire. "The benefit that Sapho delivers is that it helps take older applications and deliver modern front-ends using Sapho, or it can take an existing application that was written for specialized users and simplify it for a larger user base."

And finally, the name: why is Sapho called Sapho? Dune enthusiasts can probably guess, but for the rest of us ... Sapho is the juice that the Mentats, fictional, human-like characters in the Dune series, drink to increase their processing powers. Will the company live up to the name? Investors seem to think so.