A milestone for Jolla, the Finnish startup behind the Sailfish OS — which shaped, nearly a decade in the past, when a band of Nokia staffers left to maintain the torch burning for a cellular linux-based different to Google’s Android — in the present day it’s asserting hitting profitability.
The cellular OS licensing startup describes 2020 as a “turning level” for the enterprise — reporting revenues that grew 53% YoY, and EBITDA (which offers a snapshot of operational effectivity) standing at 34%.
It has a brand new iron within the fireplace too now — having not too long ago began providing a brand 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 complete Sailfish OS (the latter has after all baked in Android app compatibility since 2013).
Jolla says AppSupport has had some “robust” early curiosity from automotive corporations in search of options to develop their in-case infotainment methods — because it affords a manner for embedded Linux-compatible platform the aptitude to run Android apps with no need to go for Google’s automotive choices. And whereas loads of automobile makers have opted for Android, there are nonetheless gamers Jolla might web for its ‘Google-free’ different.
Embedded linux methods additionally run in loads of different locations, too, so it’s hopeful of wider demand. The software program may very well be used to allow an IoT machine to run a very fashionable app, for instance, as a worth add for patrons.
“Jolla is doing fantastic,” says CEO and co-founder Sami Pienimäki. “I’m pleased to see the corporate turning worthwhile final yr formally.
“Typically 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 popping ten years in October so it’s been an extended journey. And due to 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 fee base of the operation has stablized fairly nicely so the sum of these resulted to good profitability.”
Whereas the patron cellular OS market has — for years — been nearly solely sewn up by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, Jolla licenses its open supply Sailfish OS to governments and enterprise in its place platform they’ll form to their wants — with out requiring any involvement of Google.
Maybe unsurprisingly, Russia was one of many early markets that tapped in.
The case for digital sovereignty typically — and an impartial (non-US-based) cellular OS platform supplier, particularly — has been strengthened lately as geopolitical tensions have performed out through the medium of tech platforms; resulting in, in some circumstances, notorious bans on international corporations having the ability to entry US-based applied sciences.
In a associated improvement this summer time, 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 by 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 after 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 assist one another very firmly.”
Jolla has been engaged on promoting Sailfish into the Chinese language marketplace for a number of years — and that hunted for enterprise stays a piece in progress at this stage. However, once more, Pienimäki says Jolla doesn’t see Huawei’s transfer as any type of blocker to its ambitions of licensing its Android different within the Far East.
“The way in which we see the Chinese language market typically is that it’s been all the time open to wholesome competitors and there may be all the time competing options — truly closely competing options — within the Chinese language market. And Huawei’s providing one and we’re pleased to supply Sailfish OS for this very large, difficult market as nicely.”
“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 typically it’s additionally excellent that large companies like Huawei actually acknowledge this chance typically — and this shapes the general trade so that you simply don’t must, by default, choose into Android all the time. 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 automobile markers — and arguing that makes it a strategically essential piece for them to personal and management.
“There’s been lots 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 otherwise about how and what sort of consumer 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 assets, we’re simply studying the place the alternatives for this know-how are. Automative appears to have lots of urge for food however then [we also see potential in] different sectors — IoT… heavy trade as nicely… we’re overtly exploring alternatives… however as we all know automotive could be very sizzling in the intervening time.”
“There may be loads of common linux OS base on the earth for which we’re providing further piece of know-how in order that these working options can truly additionally faucet into — for instance — chosen functions. You may consider like operating the likes of Spotify or Netflix or some communications options particular for a sure sector,” he goes on.
“Most of these functions are naturally out there each for iOS and Android platforms. And people functions as they merely exist the aptitude to run these functions independently on prime of a linux platform — that creates lots of curiosity.”
In one other improvement, Jolla is within the strategy of elevating a brand new development financing spherical — it’s focusing on €20M — to assist its push to market AppSupport and in addition to place in the direction of additional rising its Sailfish licensing enterprise.
It sees development potential for Sailfish in Europe, which stays the largest marketplace for licensing the cellular 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 expansion 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 loads of cash out there nowadays, within the investor entrance, 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 take a position additional — each to Sailfish OS and the AppSupport know-how. And specifically to the go-to market operation — to make this know-how out there for extra individuals on the market out there.”