Parse, The ‘Heroku For Mobile’, Raises $5.5 Million Series A

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Parse, a hot startup that serves as a ‘Heroku for Mobile’, has raised a $5.5 million Series A funding round led by Ignition Partners. Ignition’s John Connors will be joining the Parse board of directors — which is notable because he was a board member at Heroku prior to its acquisition by Salesforce for $212 million (Connors is also on the boards of Nike and Splunk). Parse had previously raised $1.5 million from Y Combinator and some top angel investors.

Parse’s mission is to help streamline the development process for mobile apps, effectively allowing developers to outsource their application’s server-side backend. Most smartphone apps today use server-side functionality for something — user accounts, data management, real-time updating, and more — but the knowledge required to implement these features tends to be totally different from the skills needed to build a solid iOS app in Objective C, or an Android app in Java.

That’s where Parse comes in: developers focus on building the client side of things, then add key features like data storage, Facebook integration, and user management using Parse’s SDK, which makes implementing these features much easier (creating a new user account, for example, takes four straightforward lines of code).

Parse now has 3,500 developers building with its platform, and the apps running Parse are exchanging “millions” of data transactions per day. Most important, though, is their growth — traffic from Parse-enabled apps is growing 40% week over week.

Parse’s founders say they’re seen a pretty broad array of apps being built on the platform (there isn’t any one specific use-case). And some of the apps are already doing quite well — Band of the Day, which was recently chosen by Apple as its App of the Week, was built entirely using Parse.

The company now has seven employees, and they’re hiring aggressively.