Mobile Backend-as-a-Service providers may have only been around for a few years, but they’re already beginning to evolve as the market consolidates and the various middlemen of the app industry converge. MBaaS started out as infrastructure for mobile apps, offering backend cloud storage and APIs to cater for the growing mobile app revolution.
Many players have since abandoned indie users for big enterprises and many have also moved on to offering cross platform development, along with a variety of other features such as push notifications, app analytics, monetization and more. Over the next year or so expect this trend to continue, with the lines between MBaaS, development and marketing platforms becoming ever more blurry.
But if you’re looking for an MBaaS right now, what does the landscape look like and who’s offering what? Take a look at the following list to find out. If you think we’ve missed out any key vendors, get in touch and let us know. Also take a look at our recent enterprise app development platform round-up for more suggestions.
Kinvey was one of the first players to emerge that solely focused on offering an MBaaS solution. The company, founded in 2010, had since focused its business on catering to big business, and has recent rolled out secure private cloud offerings and an enterprise development platform. The company also recently launched an enterprise-focused tool that helps companies manage external and internal app development teams, while also facilitating the iterative agile development process. Kinvey most recently raising $10.8 million in Series B funding in September.
Kinvey offers a free limited version of its platform to try out. Prices start at the “Indie” level at $200 per month, which includes support for 5,000 active users. The next tier is “Business,” which includes 50,000 active users, and is priced at $1500 per month. Enterprises above “Business” level can contact Kinvey directly for pricing details.
Kii is one of the few MBaaS solutions that’s been heavily pushing an Internet of Things focus over the last few months, hoping to reap the rewards of what’s expected to become a huge market (Juniper forecasts wearables online will be worth $1.5 billion this year). Kii supports deployment, testing and user acquisition within a single environment. The company is quite marketing skewed too, which will probably see more of going into 2015, and offers push notification, analytics, geo-location and monetisation. Headquartered in Asia (Japan to be precise), Kii also touts itself as a channel into China, offering app localisation and other marketing services for what’s one of the fastest growing app markets out there.
Built.io is an MBaaS and app development solution created by Raw Engineering, a software development company based out of San Francisco and India. Unlike some other MBaaS platforms, Built.io says it was created from the ground-up for enterprise use and allows customers to deploy mobile apps in private, public or hybrid cloud environments. The company also recently partnered with app creation platform AppGyver, letting users built-out prototypes with a quick drag-and-drop interface. Most recent funding was in 2012 with a $600 Seed round.
Pricing is broken down into three categories: Standard, Dedicated (for private cloud deployments) and Students. Within the ‘Standard’ category, developers can try out a free version including up to 50 users. Prices then start at the ‘business’ level for 5,000 users at $99 per month, moving up to $399 per month for the same amount of users but with added enterprise features such as analytics.
AnyPresence recently hit headlines having secured $6 million in a Series B funding round, which included software multinational Citrix. The company offers enterprise-focused MBaaS solution and app development platform, emphasising its policy of giving customers complete control over the created source code, with an open, no-proprietary technology stack. AnyPresence says this gives customers great customisation, control and portability when it comes to their apps. Clients include the likes of MasterCard, USA Today and Petco. Pricing details are not publicly available.
Sencha offers a number of tools to develop HTML5 apps, so it’s surprise that its MBaaS solution, Sencha Space, focuses on HTML5. Customers can take advantage of a secure runtime environment across desktop and mobile, manage user access, secure data and more. Trial version is free up to 10 users, then Sencha Space is priced at $3.99 per user, while large enterprises can get in touch directly.
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Like most on this list, Appcelerator offers a complete end-to-end solution with its Appcelerator MBaaS platform and its cross platform app development tool, allowing customers to build, deploy and host on public, virtual private or private servers. Appcelerator also touts its robust analytics offering as a key draw, allowing customers to get an insight into user acquisition, retention, engagement and other metrics. Pricing details are not publicly available.
Acquired by Facebook back in 2013, Parse offers three main products. Parse Core is the basic MBaaS offering, letting you store data securely, connect with social networks and the like. Parse Push is, as the name suggests, a push notification platform, while Parse Analytics lets you measure acquisition, retention, engagement, push notification campaigns and everything else you’d expect out of an analytics platform. In terms of pricing, Parse Core is offered for free to try out at 30 requests per second and you can tailor up from here. When you get to 80 req/s that price jumps to $500 and 210 req/s hits $1800 per month (you’re about halfway up the scale at this point).
If you’re looking for more of a stripped down MBaaS offering, without all the cross platform development stuff, then take a look at apiOmat. The solution includes setting up data models, third party APIs, ready made modules, backend logic and deployment into the public cloud. Prices start from a free version to try out, to ‘Medium’ at 49 euros for 2,500 active users, professional at 299 euros for 20,000 active users, and ‘Ultimate’ at 599 euros for 50,000 active users. Based out of Germany.