Parse, the San Francisco-based startup that’s trying to bill itself as the “Heroku of mobile,” is coming out of the gate with some nice momentum.
The company, which streamlines the development process for mobile apps by letting developers basically outsource their application’s server-side backend, is coming out of beta today. There are more than 10,000 developers who have signed up including 955 Dreams, which is behind those immersive iPad apps like Band of the Day and The History of Jazz. The company adds that those numbers are growing at about 40 percent month-over-month.
“There’s this trend underway with apps increasingly resting on web services. Years ago, people said you would be crazy to run your apps in the cloud,” said Tikhon Bernstam, who co-founded Parse after co-founding Scribd. “The next step is cloud platform dedicated to mobile apps. This is totally inevitable given AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Heroku.”
(For those unaware, Heroku was Y Combinator’s biggest exit to date with its $212 million sale to Salesforce. It eased Ruby on Rails, Node.Js, Python and Scala development by taking the pain of dealing with servers out of the process.)
With the move, Parse is introducing pricing for access. It’s a freemium model, with free access for up to 1 million API requests, 1 million push notifications or 1 gigabyte of file storage. After that, it’s $199 per month for up to 15 million API requests, 5 million push notifications or 5 gigabytes of storage. Then there’s a higher enterprise pricing tier, for which developers need to sort out a custom arrangement with the company.
Bernstam says that most of the 10,000 developers who have signed up are showing up by word of mouth. Parse’s entire team is made of developers, so Bernstam says the company is acutely aware of the pain points that others feel in the mobile app development process.
“When we were building apps, we saw that everybody one was building this half-baked version of what Parse is over and over,” said co-founder Kevin Lacker. “We would spend 90 percent of the time building that infrastructure and plumbing instead of building the apps we wanted to create.”
Parse recently raised $5.5 million in a round led by Ignition Partners, the same firm that led the Series B round for Heroku.