Aptilo was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2001 as a spin-off from Axis Communications. Today the company employs just under 100 people in four offices around the world. There are eleven employees working in the light, open Scandinavian office design in the newly renovated facilities near Alma and Park in Central Plano.
“We had to operate internationally from Day One,” says Paul Mikkelsen, CEO and one of the six founders of Aptilo. “We started out with our headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and a regional office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.”
The first product offering in 2001 was a pre-integrated solution for operators rolling out the new Wi-Fi technology networks. Aptilo today is providing world-leading, award-winning, Wi-Fi service management and offloading solutions to over 120 carriers around the world.
Aptilo’s carrier-class Services Management Platform provides authentication, policy control and charging for Wi-Fi data services and Wi-Fi calling in sports arenas (NFL, NHL, etc.), shopping malls, airports, and hospitals. Visitors can connect various Wi-Fi devices and use existing carrier data plans or purchase temporary service at a variety of speeds, all managed by Aptilo’s software. One high-visibility, door-opening event was the FIFA world cup in Brazil last year where Aptilo was one of the suppliers. The Summer Olympics 2016 and several NFL stadiums will be among the next high-profile venues.
In 2004, the company was ready to establish a local office in the US to cover all of the Americas. “Most Swedish companies believe they must establish themselves in Silicon Valley, California to start out in the USA,” says Jonas Jacobsson, Vice President Sales, Americas. “California is perceived to be flashy and the ‘place to be’, but the work force is volatile, expenses are high, and you need to look at where your partners and customers are.”
“At the time, we were partnering with HP and Nortel, both having a strong presence in the Plano area. Combined with the strong IT and Telecom concentration, the easy access to Latin America and the rest of North America, Plano was the right choice for us,” adds Paul. “There are many factors to consider when selecting an office location, but I believe any foreign IT/Telecom company would be making a mistake if they didn’t add the Dallas area to their US location evaluation list!”
Aptilo anticipates continuing to grow with the Wi-Fi macro trend. More and more devices will have built-in Wi-Fi, putting high capacity requirements on network access expansion. Mobile data traffic is estimated to be at six times that of 2014 by 2019, and today, Wi-Fi handles 70% of all data traffic; the other 30% is handled by cellular networks.
In the next few years, the Wi-Fi share is expected to grow to 90% and much of that growth is expected to happen in the Americas. Today, 30% of Aptilo’s revenue comes from the US market; in a few years that number is expected to grow to 50%.
“We plan to continue developing our global sales channels,” says Paul. “We have recently reinforced our Latin America and North America sales organizations to prepare for the growth. We will also focus on promoting our Managed Cloud Services. Using our offices in Stockholm, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, and Plano, we ‘follow the sun’ and can seamlessly offer our customers 24/7 support, which is very appealing to clients that don’t have such an infrastructure.”
“Plano will continue to be our headquarters in the Americas,” says Paul. We are very happy with our choice of location, and have added many new clients and partners, including Ericsson Inc., since we got established in the area eleven years ago. We look forward to growing our business in the area, and we will enjoy networking with other SACC members in the near future.”
Birgitta Mossler, SACC-Dallas