Jolicloud Raises $4.2M From Atomico, Mangrove; Zennström Takes Board Seat

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Charge4all, your friendly neighborhood charging tube

On the very same day that a certain search and Internet advertising giant based in Mountain View, California has made public its plans to soon bring to market an open-source operating system that it hopes will give Microsoft a run for its money when it comes to powering the netbooks of this world, a lone startup from Paris, France has raised millions in financing to do exactly the same thing. I’m talking about Jolicloud, Netvibes founder and former CEO Tariq Krim‘s new company, which has just raised $4.2 million in Series A funding from Atomico Ventures and Mangrove Capital Partners.

With the investment, Jolicloud not only gains capital from two of the most widely respected venture capital firms in Europe, Krim also wins two heavyweight entrepeneurs / investors on its board of directors as well as one experienced advisor. Atomico Ventures’ Niklas Zennström (of Kazaa, Skype and Joost fame) and Gilles Samoun (current fotopedia CEO) will both take seats on the startup’s board, and Michael Jackson – partner at Mangrove Capital Partners and former COO of Skype – will take up the role of advisor.

I was one of the few people to get their hands on a developer, ‘alpha’ version of the Jolicloud operating system – my hands-on review – and ever since I installed it on my Acer Aspire ONE (which I use when I travel or attend short meetings) it has yet to disappoint me. The OS ‘just works’ and has changed the way I think operating systems should function in a digital world increasingly dominated by web applications and cloud services (that is, get out of my way and focus on simplicity, speed and a well-designed interface).

I realize full well that Microsoft, Google and Intel are to be taken into account when looking at the slowly but surely growing netbook OS market in the coming years, but I think it doesn’t hurt to have a couple of startups trying new things and keeping them on their toes. I talked to Krim about this and Google Chrome OS in particular, and he sees a lot of holes in today’s announcement from Google. He’s hardly the only one to point out the inevitable internal conflict that should soon surface between the Android and Chrome teams, the fact that it’ll take quite some time before a working version of Chrome OS will enter the market, and furthermore he sees this as a welcome validation of what he’s trying to achieve with Jolicloud i.e. building an OS designed to meet the needs of future netbooks and users who grow more and more accustomed to do both things for fun and work using cloud-based services and web applications. Others point out the netbook market isn’t booming at all, and that Linux distributions so far have not fared as well as predicted on the small notebooks.

I for one respect Krim’s ambition – more of this attitude in Europe, please – and I understand why investors would be interested in Jolicloud, but only time will tell if a combination of a good team, idea and execution will prove enough to effectively challenge the American technology behemoths who are eying this market in a big way. It sure isn’t easy.

The road to success, if any can be found at the end of it, will prove to be very rocky.

  • Ilan

    If someone can do it in Europe (Challenge the US heavyweights), it’s Tariq. Go JoliCloud

  • jason

    Michael Jackson is back!! I knew CNN was just doing it for the ratings.

    • jason

      We love you Michael and will always support you in your career transition.

      • Tom

        Haha…nice one.

  • TechCombo

    With just a few minor adjustments which all beta operating systems possess, this could potentially be up their with big systems like Microsoft and soon to be Google. Good luck to Tariq and Jolicloud! They can do it!

  • Alex

    With some many iphone users out there, how will netbooks co-exist with iphones? I haven’t seen any viable Linux iphone sync tool.

  • digitalzaar

    This is so fantastic. Whatever feelings you all have about netbooks aside (myself: Love em) it is really great to see an entrepreneur with a vision pursue a technology, and them see them vindicated for their hardwork.

    Also, FYI: TC has been writing about Jolilicloud since day 1. Great work!

    • Omnibus

      Although I agree generally with the TC take on cloud computing, your assertion that they are “dominate”, and Arringtons claim that current web apps rival Microsoft Office, are nothing short of completly rediculous.

      Crunchpad better hurry up before they are the vaporpad of the past.

  • Jolicloud bags $4.2 Million in Series A | Startup Meme - Technology Startup and Latest Tech News

    […] has raised a healthy $4.2 Million in Series A round of funding. The funding round came from Mangrove Capital […]

  • Heidi Sul

    Congrats to jolicloud and to the team, but Linux as an OS sucks big time for an average Joe. I’m sure the flexibility and the backings of the open source community may offer lots to the techies, but it doesn’t do any good to an average user.

  • nick

    Anything Linux related has my vote =)


    Way to go, Jolicloud.

  • Efe Cakarel

    Congratulations, Tariq!

  • Andrew Smith

    Congrats to Tariq in raising the money. Shame that Google has announced Chrome OS (Linux and OpenSource) so this will be another NetVibes (killed by iGoogle)

  • Michael Arrington

    monumentally bad timing.

    • Abijah

      David vs Goliath vs Microsoft. What happened to Ubuntu?

  • @chrisco

    They had to have known that this was coming, no? Didn’t everybody?

    I mean has it not been obvious for a long, long time that the line between the desktop OS and the web OS (browser) was converging and blurring? And that Google was going after Microsoft’s cash cows, Office/Docs, IE/Chrome, more.

    I mean (again, I know) it’s been a world of desktop apps running web services (Twitter clients) and web apps looking like desktop apps (Gmail, Google Docs, more) for a long time, no? Are people awake?

    Oh well, I guess the Kinks said it best: “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls. Its a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for lola. Lo-lo-lo-lo lola.

  • baggins

    Hey Mike, Where’s the:

    JoliCloud Drops a Nuclear Bomb on Microsoft Hype?

  • Andrew Smith

    Here is the acid test. Will Mike Arrington use Jolicloud or Google Chrome OS in a FUTURE version of CrunchPad? Also will Jolicloud be free and opensource like Chrome. If it is free and opensource where will Tariq make his money return for the investors. Services?

  • Gebadia Smith

    So with googles no os and this… do they work if you have no net access?

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  • David Winter

    I wish Tariq Krim and the Jolicloud team the success they deserve. I heard Tariq @ the WebExpo in Berlin a few months ago. He’s a smart, friendly and charismatic guy, and he gave us Netvibes, which – as I see it – is one of the few services that really “get” the concept of hypertext.

    That being said, I also hope Google will be successful with their efforts. And everyone else. Jolicloud! Chrome OS! WebOS! Arrington SexyTabletThingy OS! Let a thousand operating systems bloom!

    Because for one, competition is a good thing. Always. I have lived under Microsoft’s “Any colour you want, as long as it’s ours” world for far too long.

    But what’s more important:

    The more operating systems there are, the more important the browser and the cloud-based services become. And this is the world I want to live in, where I can access my data and services from wherever I am, using the best device and application available at that moment. iPhone, Windows 7, JC3, whatever.

    I believe that people should not need to know or care about operating systems. They should be like T-shirts. If you simply need access to data and services, grab the next device that is available. If you have special requirements – go ahead. Buy Windows. Buy a Mac. Buy a NokiaWhatever. Buy a $200 netbook that comes with Android 3.1 and switch to Jolicloud 4.5 if you’re in the mood for something new. This is a world where we do not have to look and act all the same. This is a world I’d like to live in.

  • fire

    mozilla & team are smart enough to compete with chrome OS, remember they are already working in this area, but some reason not getting mentioned in this whole OS game

    congrats to jolicloud, but it’s going to be uphill battle to compete with existing players!

  • RJ

    Jolicloud: Looks like Google stole their thunder

  • madjid

    countless projects/companies have tried, none succeeded
    neither Ubuntu, nor Mozilla

    artificial tech jet set public image can’t save the day

    I urge the guy to give away the $4M to charity and find a playable market

    and god, what is now our opinion of Mangrove

  • MindMeister on Jolicloud | MindMeister Blog

    […] operating system for the Internet age (we’re not the only ones who think so, as proven by the recent $4.2m investment in Jolicloud by some major […]

  • madjid

    25 comments – lowest comment rate for TC since eons

    end of story/

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