What’s most impressive about Polar Mobile is that it has had so much success in its less than four years in the market. Adding to that, the company was in existence before the boom of iPhone apps, interestingly enough. So what can be attributed to Polar Mobile’s success in such a short period? According to Kunal Gupta, CEO of Polar Mobile, the average Canadian is always connected; our mobile phone the last thing we look at before we go to bed; the first thing we look at when we wake.
“It’s a time filler, a time killer, and the average user looks at their mobile screen about 50 times a day,” Gupta emphasized, “so the consumption of these devices is just getting started. These aren’t communications devices; these are content consumption and media consumption devices, so that’s what we solve through software.”
Truly, Polar Mobile began with the premise of enabling the next generation content experience, something Gupta believes is everywhere. It’s raised the level of mobile knowledgeable, when previously, a smartphone wasn’t used for anything more than voice, text, and email.
Growing its reach
Gupta recalls a visit to Hong Kong, only a few years ago, when he able to view live TV on his phone, while riding an underground subway no less. At that time, North Americans were barely texting, so there was a huge gap, according to Gupta.
Today, Polar Mobile has more than 200 customers in 10 countries, and has launched over 500 mobile apps, while those numbers are only expected to increase. One year ago, the company had 40 customers and, as Gupta added, those customers believe in a need to go mobile because “that’s where people are spending most of their time, with a platform that is a fast and easy way to do that.”
And while Polar Mobile has already seen plenty of business growth, it remains the primary goal today.
“We are looking to grow our team; our customers; our apps. We will evolve our platform and extend beyond apps later this year, extending to tablets very, very soon,” Gupta said. “It is all about growing the company in a direction that continues to add value to our customers around the world.
“We have seen tablets come to the forefront now, and there are a lot of predictions out there on how many tablets are going to be sold, but needless to say, there will be tablets everywhere, and you need to be on tablets in a compelling way, otherwise people aren’t going to be seeing your content.”
King of the sports apps
A large portion of Polar Mobile’s 500 apps in existence today are tied to the sporting industry, perhaps becoming a niche for this growing company.
“The benefit of getting news and sports from a mobile content consumption standpoint is that the content is always updating throughout the day…during the day, during the game, sports scores are updating constantly, and we built technology that is unique to Polar Mobile that provides the best-in-class content experience for news and sports.”
Some of those sports clients include the likes of CBS Sports, The Hockey News, Pro Football Weekly, Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, the NHLPA, and the official app of the Toronto Maple Leafs, among others.
“We have built a team, built a product, based on the BlackBerry to start with, and then it quickly got on to the iPhone, got more apps, and then to the Android, and today it helps media companies all over the world publish their content across every single mobile device in a compelling way,” Gupta said. “The biggest impact I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is the importance of focus. Our customers recognize our products as the best at accomplishing their goals, targeting the audience and targeting revenue.
“We are pretty unique in the market in that we are not actually a custom app developer. We are not a development firm in that sense. We basically are an open platform, so our approach has allowed us to give our customers the ability to get to market fast,” Gupta said. “Within two weeks of coming to us, a customer has an app on BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, and Windows.”
Led by a simple philosophy
It is this modest approach by Polar Mobile that has led to so much success in so little time. That philosophy is keenly illustrated in the company’s logo, a subtle iceberg that symbolizes its diligence.
“As a concept, if you think of an iceberg, there is more beneath the surface [than what you actually see], and we think that is our representative of our company, our product, our team,” Gupta summarized, “so there is a lot of depth behind what we do, and it is key to what we do.”