Mobile-device management firm MOBI nabs $35 million

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Indianapolis-based MOBI, which manages enterprise mobile-device fleets, announced Monday that it secured $35 million in venture capital, tied for the largest amount for any local tech company so far this year.

New York-based private equity firm Bregal Sagemount, which boasts investments in LifeLock, Orbitz and Vivint in its portfolio, made the investment. It's the first external cash infusion for MOBI, which has been bootstrapped by its co-founders Michael Browning II, Christian Browning, Tony Paris, Josh Garrett and Scott Kraege since its founding in 2009.

Kraege, CEO of the 250-employee firm, said the capital will be used to expand its market presence globally and enhance its technology offerings.

"Not only is it big for us," Kraege said in an interview Friday, "but it really sends the message that Indianapolis, from a tech community perspective, is as strong as it has been … and we hope to keep the momentum going."

MOBI sells cloud-based software that helps companies manage and analyze all of their devices, including third-party applications, security, carriers and more.

MOBI's typical client has at least 500 phones or tablets deployed, and MOBI serves companies in the software, manufacturing and health care industries, among others.

As part of the investment, Bregal Sagemount’s founding partner, Daniel Kim, will join MOBI's board, the company said.

“The problem MOBI solves is one that has not been traditionally addressed by a comprehensive software platform," Kim said in prepared remarks. "MOBI is experiencing incredible growth and has established itself as a market leader in mobility management."

MOBI spun off in 2009 from Bluefish Wireless, which was founded in 2001 by Christian and Michael Browning II, sons of local real estate developer Michael Browning. In 2010, it landed a performance-based incentive package from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to hire 253 workers by 2014 in exchange for $2.9 million in tax credits.

Kraege declined to disclose the company's recent revenue, but said MOBI is profitable and has been growing revenue about 35 percent annually since 2012. "Since 2012, we've seen the demand for managed mobility services increase dramatically," he said.

Kraege said MOBI's five founders still own a majority of the company after the Bregal Sagemount investment. He also said the company plans to move into about 55,000 square feet of leased office space near West 96th Street and Zionsville Road in early August. The firm currently occupies about 35,000 square feet of space in that vicinity.

High Alpha, a tech company creation studio led by former Exact Target CEO Scott Dorsey, also raised $35 million this year. But some of that funding sits in an investment pool that will be used to fund other companies.

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