We recently sat down with Bastin Gerald, CEO of Fremont-based Apptivo, a cloud based customer relationship management (CRM) software company. Here’s a bit about the company’s growth, its commitment to CRM and why Fremont is a great location for its headquarters.

Q: Apptivo has received significant third-party recognition from PC Magazine and Capterra as a powerful, user-friendly, versatile, and affordable CRM alternative. What kind of companies and industries are benefitting from this tool? What are some of its unique competencies?

A:The Apptivo product is highly configurable and therefore can be applied to many industries with proper configuration. A significant number of requirements for service-oriented businesses are available out-of-the-box.

For example, if you are a consulting firm, you can use Apptivo to track the progress of a project, record time and expenses, and invoice customers. Data flows between these apps smoothly so that you don’t ever have to worry about integration between various point solutions being used. Another example is field service. If you are running a solar installation company, you can track work orders and labor, identify materials used in performance, and invoice customers.

We have several product-oriented businesses using the product as well. For example, a jeweler uses Apptivo to power its ecommerce portal.

We also have an “App Builder” that allows you to build custom apps without writing a single line of code. This lets you “fill the gap” if you need to track something that is not available as one of the standard apps.

Due to the configurability of the platform and the variety of out-of-the-box apps, you can pretty much string together any business flow you need in order to model and manage your business processes.

Q: IoT is another focus for Dew Mobility. Can you tell us more about what you’re doing in this area?

A: Dew Mobility is part of the Dew Software family. Dew Mobility is the team lead for IoT-based smart city projects endorsed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

As part of NIST’s Global City Teams Challenge, Dew Mobility has designed and developed four pilot smart city projects that are being deployed in multiple cities across the United States and Europe. Dew has also partnered with universities for IoT research and academic syllabuses, and has designed IoT course materials for undergraduate and graduate students.

In addition, Dew initiates discussions and community-based IoT courses at Ohlone College. Such community-based courses enable local Fremont students and adults to get exposure to IoT training and work with companies in surrounding cities and counties. Dew Mobility also developed an IoT development kit consisting of monitoring air quality, temperature, humidity, gas, and pressure sensors. Such development kits have been installed and utilized at many universities in U.S. cities.

To learn more about Dew Mobility, please feel free to visit www.dewmobility.com.

Q: Cloud-based computing is the common thread for all of your business endeavors. How is the cloud changing IT, both now and in the future?

A: The cloud model is the reason that we are able to bring in a heavyweight application like Apptivo to the reach small businesses. Before the advent of cloud, it is hard to think of a software project costing less than $25,000, an out-of-reach cost for many small businesses. Now, you can pretty much get going with a product like Apptivo for less than $1,000 ,and in a large number of cases, it’s almost $0 to get started, followed by an affordable monthly or annual fee.

The cloud also enables businesses to scale up and down without heavy IT investments. Being able to convert IT investments from capital expense to operational expense is a huge boon for businesses.

Q: You’ve been based in Fremont for almost 20 years, what makes Fremont attractive for software companies?

A: Fremont is the center of Silicon Valley and San Francisco, and it’s an easy commute to Pleasanton, San Ramon etc., which is where most of our consultants are located.

Most of our consultants live in Fremont due to affordability, diversity, low crime, great food and restaurants, and shopping (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costco, etc.). Rental and housing are affordable, and there are also good public schools for kids and community colleges (Ohlone, etc.) There are also great spots for hiking and recreation (Mission Peak, Lake Elizabeth, Quary Lake, Niles, etc.), as well as a variety of places for religious worship.