Business Profile | Alex Bratton

February 2014 View more

CEO and Chief Geek, Lextech


Photo by Michael Hudson

We live in a mobile world. For many of us, that means we can’t imagine living without our smartphones and tablets. Alex Bratton is the CEO and chief geek, as he likes to refer to himself, at Lextech, a custom mobile application developer based in Lisle. Naperville Magazine recently spoke with the man behind the team and the technology at the heart of the mobile revolution.

There has been a rapid explosion of personal mobile devices within the past few years. It seems there is an app for everything. How significant will this “Mobile Revolution” continue to be for the business world and in our personal lives?

The mobile revolution has already taken place. Mobile is the new reality. Mobile devices are now our gateways into everything we do with technology, influencing how we communicate with each other, live our lives and do our jobs. In fact, mobile has become so prevalent that for the first time this year, Americans spent more time using apps on mobile devices than on computers, and more time on mobile apps and other digital media than watching television. We truly are a mobile society.

Mobile apps have literally changed the way we live on a daily basis, from the way we communicate, to how we enjoy entertainment, to the way we conduct business. Lextech is developing many of those apps. In what areas do you see the greatest opportunity for mobile app growth?

The greatest growth in mobile apps will be in helping people do their jobs better. A lot of companies ask us how we can help their teams do their entire job on mobile. But this doesn’t mean shrinking down an existing web solution to a mobile device. Good mobile apps change how companies operate and force simplicity. Before we even develop app concepts for companies, we work with them to create better workflows and business processes. That’s why our apps regularly produce process improvements of more than 50 percent.

Lextech helps sales, operations and IT teams maximize business by identifying, designing and developing custom mobile apps. How does your team come up with new app ideas?

The best app ideas are based on solving problems. Our Billion Dollar App process looks at business objectives, internal teams, workflows and the challenges that impact efficiency or effectiveness. Then we can identify the best app or suite of apps to improve the process.

Many companies fall into the trap of building the “obvious app,” which usually means shrinking a web app onto a smaller device. But then the same problems exist and the app provides little value. Our approach has been so successful that I’m writing a book on it, which is due out in the first quarter of 2014 as both an e-book and paper book at

As CEO of Lextech, what has been your proudest accomplishment?

I love the innovation involved in an app we developed to mobile-enable a grain silo. On the surface, that statement makes no sense. However, grain-hauling truck drivers had a difficult and dangerous job when filling the truck bed with grain, which required exiting the truck cab and hanging on the truck trailer to watch the operation. Now, with an iPhone, drivers can pull up and load the truck efficiently and safely from inside the truck cab—they have full view of their environment and can control the process with a single tap. This is a great example of how we applied mobility to a non-tech workflow, simplifying it and creating efficiencies.

With numerous geographical locations to consider in the Chicago area and around the country, what inspired Lextech to setup shop in Lisle?

I live just outside Lisle and really love this community. As Lextech continues to grow, we will stay headquartered in this area. We also have an office in Chicago and another at the research park at the University of Illinois. I’m a big believer in the Illinois entrepreneurial and tech community.

Lextech uses technology to change the world and help the community. Your company is dedicated to giving back to the community through education and community involvement. Tell us about some of your community projects.

I am very invested in seeing the entrepreneurial and tech communities in Illinois thrive, and have been a mentor to entrepreneurs for years. Education also is very important to me. I serve on the computer science advisory board for the University of Illinois, my alma mater, helping to guide their curriculum, and also partnered with Northern Illinois University to create a mobile app development certificate program (the first certificate was awarded in December 2013). I’m working with a few other colleges, as well. We have also donated apps to worthwhile organizations. We did this for the University of Illinois engineering open house, a large annual student run exposition of hundreds of student projects. The app helped attendees find exhibits, get more information via QR codes and vote for their favorite display all from their mobile devices. Our team has been involved in a number of charitable efforts and continues to contribute around causes that they are passionate about.

What is your favorite mobile app for business and/or personal use?

I love using Evernote for business. It helps me capture everything from meeting notes to pictures of brainstorming white boards. It’s my spare brain. The app I use most for pleasure is iBooks. I do almost all my reading on mobile devices, especially now that mobile devices are allowed during take-off on airplanes (one of the last places I relied on paper).