Prospus is excited to announce the invention of a new type of software solution: the “nApp”. Napps, short for “nano apps”, is a new kind of application aimed at alleviating the pains of building, selling, buying, and using many types of software. The “nano” prefix conveys the smallness and simplicity of the solutions, while “app” relays that they are fully functional software solutions. At first, it may seem a little far-fetched, but the product investor and owner Marc Ragsdale will assure you that it is a well thought-out concept.
The origins of the theory
“I have been thinking about this application, in one shape or another, for 20 years”, claims Prospus President and Founder, Marc Ragsdale. “Ever since I started creating games and applications in 1992 as a kid, I was fascinated with the idea of making software that naturally worked together”, he added. In 1998, he coined the term “omni-functionality” — implying software that contained properties that worked everywhere in accordance to universal laws. In the same way that a rock thrown into a foreign environment would behave according to its intrinsic properties and the environmental characteristics, omnifunctional solutions should function as a negotiation between the properties of the solution and environment. “Solutions should work, no matter what. A thrown rock wouldn’t stop and show an error”, Ragsdale wrote in his original thesis on the subject.
Ragsdale continued to think about the concept of a new kind of solution through college and into his professional career. Finally, in his late 20’s, he decided to start prototyping it. In 2008 he formed a consultancy to fund development. That led him to fund and form Prospus Consulting Private Limited in Noida, India, where he could research and develop the concept. He started with the simple hypothesis that there was a better way to build solutions that was less costly, less time-consuming, and easier for the user. “When I started my company in 2008 I had a team of 15 professionals building a $150,000 website”, said Ragsdale. Within 5 years, Ragsdale employed 55 full-time employees and was running a multi-million dollar company.
The evolution of the framework
In the early years of R&D, Ragsdale tried to build specific applications with his framework. The first solution, started in late 2011, helped him conceptualize the necessity of developing byte-level pieces, which he called “nodes”. Nodes represented single, individual components which could carry any kind of property. “The problem with the initial node structure was that they were inflexible”, claims Ragsdale. “While nodes were a clever way of representing information and functionality, they could not be built any easier than other system-level objects”. That first-generation application, lovingly referred to as “Prospus Nodes”, became Prospus’ internal ERP, providing employee attendance, project and task management, accounting, and other vital corporate functions. It is still in use to this day.
The next leg of the application came in the form of a new type of database structure. Ragsdale knew the benefits of both non-structured and structured databases, and so invented a new database that shared characteristics of both. Over the course of eight months, Prospus created an intriguing database structure. It allowed administrators to easily modify the characteristics of any node in multiple dimensions. The resulting data structures were extremely flexible in storing data across a variety of dimensions, such as time, physical properties, access, and ownership. This took Ragsdale one step closer to a universal framework where all solutions of any sort could interact without additional configuration by developers. The project took on the name “Prospus Universe”.
The final leg of the application was the UI. Ragsdale knew that the promise of easier software required a universal user interface. This limited user learning curves and maximized integration of data points. In 2014, Ragsdale took advantage of his emerging framework and offered the founding team of YourYacht, a Prospus-funded company, the opportunity to use the powerful platform. Prospus and the YourYacht team decided to carry the production on the Universe platform. The robust yacht management platform gave Ragsdale the opportunity to implement his universal user interface into a live, public-facing product. It was very successful, winning praises from users. Ultimately, attracting buyout offers from several large companies in the marine industry.
The announcement of the nApp
To date, Ragsdale’s universal software framework has had many names: Project Now, Prospus Nodes, and Prospus Universe. Prospus has built and released multiple versions of the framework. Prospus uses the applications internally and used in the market. It also runs multiple enterprise-level applications used by large corporations. Thus attracting early-stage funding from multiple investors. Not to mention attention from some of the largest tech companies in the industry. But after 6 years of continuous R&D, Prospus has decided to re-brand the application to better reflect its primary use case, and convey a deeper understanding without additional information.
“One of the biggest difficulties we have faced with the Prospus Universe framework is communicating what the framework does”, said Ragsdale. After six months of market research, the Prospus team settled on the moniker of “nano-app”. It combines two words people immediately recognize: “app”, being a software application, prefixed by “nano”, popularly understood to mean small. Focus groups have consistently recognized the “nano-app” phrase to mean a “small application”. When shortened, “nApp”, was catchy and immediately understandable. As of today, all Prospus Universe-based solutions will now be marketed as “nApps”.