Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN): Can these Two Executives Return the Stock to Glory?

June 7, 2023
CEO of Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN) Russ Buyse

Russ Buyse, CEO, Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN)

COO of Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN) Randall Crowder

Randall Crowder, COO, Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN)

Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN) has two highly experienced senior executives guiding the company to shareholder returns.

In this 5,432 word interview, exclusively in the Wall Street Transcript, the Phunware CEO and COO describe their path to success.

Russ Buyse is the CEO of Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN).

Mr. Buyse has two decades of executive leadership experience in both product and services companies, leading teams to create innovative solutions from startups to enterprises.

He founded two companies, served as an executive in six others, and was an Entrepreneur in Residence at a venture capital firm. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin.

Randall Crowder is the COO of Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN).

Over the past decade, Mr. Crowder has led over 40 angel investments and deployed over $60M across 14 companies as a venture capitalist.

Mr. Crowder is a co-founder and Managing Partner at TEXO Ventures where he focused on tech-enabled health services and he is the sole founder and Managing Partner at Novē Ventures where he focuses on investing in existing companies looking to leverage blockchain technology.

Prior to TEXO, he led the Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN) to becoming one of the most active angel networks in the country.

Mr. Crowder also founded and launched Texas Venture Labs (TVL) at UT in order to give the next generation of investors unique experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

Mr. Crowder was a Captain in the United States Army and is both Airborne and Ranger qualified.

Mr. Crowder holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from the McCombs School of Business.

He is also a Kauffman Fellow and member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).

The COO of Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN) explains the company’s beginning.

“Phunware was founded back in 2009.

The premise was pretty simple. It was helping large brands transition from web to mobile. At the time, mobile was non-obvious; about 3% of internet content was consumed on mobile. We set about correcting that.

We built the first NFL app, the first NASCAR app, most of Fox Media Group’s mobile application portfolio, and the Olympics. We’ve done hotels, hospitals, stadiums, airports.

There aren’t many firms with more experience in mobile than Phunware.

But what you become is really a custom development shop and we didn’t want to be that.

We wanted to innovate within the mobile space, so that these large brands could build scalable ecosystems on mobile that took into account all the other competing datasets and third-party solutions that they might leverage in order to scale and grow successfully.

And so, we invested in a platform.

That platform now allows you to license mobile software the same way you would license a CRM from HubSpot or Salesforce.

This allows our clients to tech-enable contextual engagement.

For about 10 years, we were this custom development shop, but we were making these investments in what this platform would become, and we went public with the idea of scaling that location-based SaaS platform.

We raised about $100 million as a private business. We raised over $100 million since we went public at the end of 2018.

We work primarily in the health care and hospitality space, but it’s really anywhere you have a complex user journey; anywhere you need that Disney World experience where you’re going to download a mobile application in order to enhance your experience and optimize everything you’re going to do while you’re on site.

For most businesses, what you’re really looking at is how can I better engage my target audiences, my consumers, and use mobile to make more money, save more money, or get more out of the money I’m already spending and make proper use of all the other systems I use to engage consumers…

Think about your experience as a consumer.

You live a very analog life even though you’re surrounded by a very connected digital world.

You go to a grocery store and maybe you cross an RF signal to open a door, maybe you tap your credit card on the reader when you leave, but that’s it. Technology doesn’t really serve you.

You go to your favorite beach resort and still today, people are sitting somewhere by a pool wondering where in the world the waiter is or you’re sitting on a beach thinking, “I sure wish I could get another towel.”

There are all these moments for technology to serve you if there was just the proper connection, if you can reach the person who could scratch that itch and address that pain point.

That’s what our mobile platform is doing. We’re providing context for that engagement.

Who are you? Where are you? What’s important to you right now? Let’s address that in a seamless way.

That’s what Amazon did. If you think about it, Amazon to the world is a global mall, where not only can you buy books, but you can buy anything.

But to small businesses, it’s their CRM, ERP, and POS business systems all wrapped into one that can manage how they engage you and how they sell you products and services.

We’re taking that exact same framework, and we’re applying it to the real world. We’re going to allow businesses to manage all the things they want to get in front of you, so that we can turn your phone into a mobile concierge because we can’t assign an employee to every single consumer that’s on site.

But every single consumer has a phone.

So, let’s turn that phone into a mobile concierge and let’s get you what you need when you need it. It’s mobile ordering.

It’s being able to book and buy.

That’s what was really surprising to Atlantis in the Bahamas.

It’s a 140-acre island with five distinct luxury resorts, and now they’re making seven figures through this mobile application they licensed from us and that actually surprised them.

What’s going on is that people live in an on-demand world, and they have ADHD. We have consumers with limited attention spans.

If you don’t get them when they’re most willing to make a decision to buy or engage or book, you’re going to lose them forever.

That experience has to be flawless and seamless.

The undercurrent of all of this for Phunware is location. We have the best location-based services capabilities in the world.

As an investor, you should be thinking, “OK, I know you have a lot of mobile experience, that makes sense; I know you have a couple of really great reference customers; that makes sense. What are those moats that you created around your platform? What are those dynamic blockers to other people trying to do what you do?”

It’s actually location-based services, or LBS, that is a huge competitive advantage for us. That’s the ability to triangulate a mobile device, both indoors and outdoors so that I can engage you.

Maybe I want to engage you and tell you how not to get lost at a hospital. Everybody has dealt with that. You go to these massive hospitals, and you can’t find your way around.

We have a solution for that and can make sure that you know where to go, what parking garage to park in, what level to park in, how to go directly to your appointment so that you’re not late, how to basically drop a pin if you want to have somebody else from your care team find you or family member meet you.

And then the same thing for a resort.

You’re at Atlantis and you’re trying to find your way to the Stingray Encounter and you want to link up with your significant other.


We can allow you to book and buy that right from the palm of your hand.

All of that requires this location-based services capability, where we can find you, engage you, and then give you something that actually delights you.”

Randall Crowder, the COO of Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN) explains how investors will reap the benefits of the Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN) software platform.

“I would tell investors if I could tell them anything, you’re looking at Phunware and it’s somewhat binary.

The way we’re trading today, if you don’t want to open a position by making an investment, you’re assuming we’re just going to go away.

We haven’t gone away in the last 14 years and we’ve innovated in some of the most incredible spaces and with the most incredible brands.

It’s a great entry point if you’re checking out this interview today because we have traded very well in the past.

If you look back at our stock price, it’s more volatile than we would like, but we have been a top gainer on NASDAQ in terms of volume and price appreciation multiple times: 3x, 4x, 9x.

A lot of people are tracking PHUN, the ticker symbol.

We are very liquid and have great volume for the size of the company we have.

But when our stock starts to move, and we talk about the brands that we’re working with, our stock moves in a big way.”

Get the complete picture of Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN) by reading this entire 5,432 word interview, exclusively in the Wall Street Transcript.