Jolla hits profitability ahead of turning ten, eyes growth beyond mobile – TechCrunch

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A milestone for Jolla, the Finnish startup behind the Sailfish OS — which fashioned, almost a decade ago, when a band of Nokia staffers left to maintain the torch burning for a mobile linux-based different to Google’s Android — right this moment it’s asserting hitting profitability.

The mobile OS licensing startup describes 2020 as a “turning level” for the enterprise — reporting revenues that grew 53% YoY, and EBITDA (which supplies a snapshot of operational effectivity) standing at 34%.

It has a new iron within the fireplace too now — having lately began providing a new licensing product (known as AppSupport for Linux Platforms) which, because the identify suggests, can present linux platforms with standalone compatibility with common Android functions — with out a buyer needing to licence the total Sailfish OS (the latter has of course baked in Android app compatibility since 2013).

Jolla says AppSupport has had some “sturdy” early curiosity from automotive firms in search of options to develop their in-case infotainment methods — because it provides a method for embedded Linux-compatible platform the potential to run Android apps without having to go for Google’s automotive choices. And whereas a lot of automotive makers have opted for Android, there are nonetheless gamers Jolla might internet for its ‘Google-free’ different.

Embedded linux methods additionally run in a lot of different locations, too, so it’s hopeful of wider demand. The software may very well be used to enable an IoT device to run a very in style app, for instance, as a worth add for purchasers.

“Jolla is doing wonderful,” says CEO and co-founder Sami Pienimäki. “I’m glad to see the corporate turning worthwhile final yr formally.

“Basically it’s the general maturity of the asset and the corporate that we begin to have prospects right here and there — and it’s been actually some time that we’ve been pushing this,” he goes, fleshing out the explanations behind the constructive numbers with trademark understatement. “The corporate is turning ten years in October so it’s been a protracted journey. And since of that we’ve been steadily enhancing our effectivity and our income.

“Our income grew over 50% since 2019 to 2020 and we made €5.4M income. On the identical time the price base of the operation has stablized fairly effectively so the sum of these resulted to good profitability.”

Whereas the buyer mobile OS market has — for years — been nearly solely sewn up by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, Jolla licenses its open source Sailfish OS to governments and enterprise as a substitute platform they'll form to their wants — with out requiring any involvement of Google.

Maybe unsurprisingly, Russia was one of the early markets that tapped in.

The case for digital sovereignty basically — and an impartial (non-US-based) mobile OS platform supplier, particularly — has been strengthened in recent times as geopolitical tensions have performed out through the medium of tech platforms; resulting in, in some instances, notorious bans on international firms having the ability to entry US-based applied sciences.

In a associated improvement this summer, China’s Huawei launched its personal Android different for smartphones, which it’s known as HarmonyOS.

Pienimäki is welcoming of that particular improvement — couching it as a validation of the market through which Sailfish performs.

“I wouldn’t essentially see Huawei popping out with the HarmonyOS worth proposition and the know-how as a competitor to us — I feel it’s extra proving the purpose that there's urge for food out there for one thing else than Android itself,” he says once we ask whether or not HarmonyOS dangers consuming Sailfish’s lunch.

“They're tapping into that market and we're tapping into that market. And I feel each of our methods and messages help one another very firmly.”

Jolla has been working on promoting Sailfish into the Chinese language marketplace for a number of years — and that searched for enterprise stays a work in progress at this stage. However, once more, Pienimäki says Jolla doesn’t see Huawei’s transfer as any sort of blocker to its ambitions of licensing its Android different within the Far East.

“The best way we see the Chinese language market basically is that it’s been at all times open to wholesome competitors and there's at all times competing options — truly closely competing options — within the Chinese language market. And Huawei’s providing one and we're glad to supply Sailfish OS for this very huge, difficult market as effectively.”

“We do have good relationships there and we're constructing a case along with our native companions additionally to entry the China market,” he provides. “I feel basically it’s additionally superb that huge companies like Huawei actually acknowledge this chance basically — and this shapes the general trade so that you simply don’t must, by default, choose into Android at all times. There are different options round.”

On AppSupport, Jolla says the automative sector is “actively in search of such options”, noting that the “digital cockpit is a key differentiator for automotive markers — and arguing that makes it a strategically necessary piece for them to personal and management.

“There’s been quite a bit of, let’s say, constructive vibes in that sector previously few years — new comers on the block like Tesla have actually shaken the trade in order that the standard distributors must assume in a different way about how and what sort of person expertise they supply within the cockpit,” he suggests.

“That’s been closely invested and quickly creating previously years however I’m going to emphasise that on the identical time, with our restricted sources, we’re simply studying the place the alternatives for this know-how are. Automative appears to have quite a bit of urge for food however then [we also see potential in] different sectors — IoT… heavy trade as effectively… we're brazenly exploring alternatives… however as we all know automotive may be very scorching for the time being.”

“There's a lot of common linux OS base on the earth for which we're providing a superb extra piece of know-how in order that these working options can truly additionally faucet into — for instance — chosen functions. You possibly can assume of like working the likes of Spotify or Netflix or some communications options particular for a sure sector,” he goes on.

“Most of these functions are naturally accessible each for iOS and Android platforms. And people functions as they merely exist the potential to run these functions independently on prime of a linux platform — that creates quite a bit of curiosity.”

In one other improvement, Jolla is within the course of of elevating a new growth financing spherical — it’s focusing on €20M — to help its push to market AppSupport and likewise to place in the direction of additional rising its Sailfish licensing enterprise.

It sees growth potential for Sailfish in Europe, which stays the largest marketplace for licensing the mobile OS. Pienimäki additionally says it’s seeing “good improvement” in sure elements of Africa. Nor has it given up on its ambitions to crack into China.

The growth spherical was opened to buyers in the summertime and hasn’t but closed — however Jolla is assured of nailing the increase.

“We're actually turning a subsequent chapter within the Jolla story so exploring to new rising alternatives — that requires capital and that’s what are in search of. There’s a lot of cash accessible lately, within the investor front, and we're seeing good traction there along with the funding financial institution with whom we're working,” says Pienimäki.

“There’s undoubtedly an urge for food for this and that can undoubtedly put us in a greater place to speculate additional — each to Sailfish OS and the AppSupport know-how. And particularly to the go-to market operation — to make this know-how accessible for extra individuals on the market out there.”

 

Source : TechCrunch

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