PubNub, a provider of APIs that publishers, developers and others can use to implement messaging and other social services on apps and websites, has picked up an $11 million round of funding that it will use to add more services to its network and build out its sales and marketing operations. This Series B round was led by Scale Venture Partners and included participation from existing investors Relay Ventures and TiE Angles, and takes the total raised by the company to $15.5 million.
As part of the investment, ScaleVP’s Andy Vitus is joining PubNub’s board.
Current services in PubNub’s offerings include real-time interaction around live location, multi-player games and collaborative apps, and services are both one-to-one as well as one-to-many. Publicly disclosed clients include Rebtel, Viggle, GetTaxi, Humble Bundle, StageIT, Spreecast, Celly, Monotype and Class Dojo. Events powered by the PubNub include the 2012 Olympics, Eurocup 2012, 2012 American Music Awards (AMAs) plus the last two Super Bowl, Grammys and Academy Awards. Less glamorously but still significantly, PubNub has also been building out services for machine-to-machine signalling as well as for implementations that include live dashboards and streams, collaboration and 2nd screen synchronization.
The idea behind PubNub is that building these out as standalone services can be capital intensive for publishers, so offering them via API becomes a more cost-effective way of implementing them. “Open source and commercial solutions, like Firebase and Pusher, only focus on the challenges of developing real-time. But 75% of the pain is deploying and scaling real-time apps. Only PubNub provides a global real-time network for deploying real-time apps worldwide as well as developing them,” Todd Greene, CEO and founder of PubNub says. He adds that the company is planning to expand those offerings in the coming weeks.
PubNub’s service is already widely used, and the company says it distributes traffic across 11 datacenters worldwide, as it powers “thousands of real-time apps” and streams more than 3 million messages per second to over 100 million devices each month. It says that traffic has increased 200-fold in the last 18 months. And as a sign of the potential of the space of API-based services like these, it is getting increasingly crowded, with companies like Twilio and newcomer Layer (which just won the Disrupt Battlefield last week) also looking to offer API-based services like messaging to publishers and developers.
On the question of whether he sees services like Layer as competitors, Greene diplomatically says “It’s awesome that TC gave recognition to these trends, but Layer is focused on voice, video and chat, while PubNub allows for a broader class of communications.”
All the same, with many of these services depending on the idea of low margins and massive scale, the race is on for users. That’s where PubNub’s funding will be crucial, and this is what is attracting investors, too, with the unique selling point for PubNub being that all of its solutions are geared at “real-time” alerts.
“We see a major market shift to real-time applications and PubNub is leading that advancement,” said Andy Vitus, Partner at Scale Venture Partners, in a statement. “The company is enabling their customers to rapidly develop and, more importantly, scale real-time applications.”