Jolla Bags $12.4M Series B From Europe And Asia For Its Sailfish Mobile OS

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Buoyed by a successful crowdfunding campaign to build an open source tablet running its Sailfish OS, Finnish mobile startup Jolla has also announced the closure of a Series B funding round.

A Jolla spokesman confirmed to TechCrunch that the size of the round is €10 million ($12.4M) but said it’s not disclosing who has invested. He did say that around half of the funding has come from European investors, and the other half from Asia.

Jolla has previously taken in multiple millions in external funding, including €1 million when Hong Kong-based firm China Fortune took a 6.25 per cent stake — back in February 2013.

It said today that the new Series B round brings its total raised to date to €34 million ($42 million). The spokesman added it’s now looking to raise a Series C to scale up the business and continue expanding internationally. Its devices are currently available in Europe and Asia — with India and Russia two markets it added most recently.

It’s also on the hunt for strategic partners — especially digital content providers and e-commerce players who it believes are most likely to see the appeal of its platform (which, although a mobile underdog, is compatible with Android apps, albeit it does not have access to Google’s Play store).

To date Jolla has partnered with Finland’s Rovio to push Angry Birds content — via a branded Other Half rear case for its smartphone — and also clothing store Makia. Users snapping a branded Other Half on their Jolla handset are pushed a feed of digital content on their device, such as product catalogues where they can purchase items.

Commenting on the new funding in a statement, Jolla CEO Antti Saarnio said: “Although this is a sizeable funding for a start-up already, it is still a small amount considering the size of our mobile operating system agenda. Our 100+ team has created a world-class operating system in a very short time and with extremely limited resources. Many big industry players have tried to do the same with at least five times bigger resources. Sailfish OS is now ready for further international expansion, and we are looking for the right partners to join the Sailfish OS agenda and do that with us.”

Building licensing partnerships with industry players is a key focus for Jolla going forward, he added. “People tend to think that we are a device company, but actually 90% of our efforts go to software development, i.e. building Sailfish OS. There are plenty of large device companies in the world, and we let them focus on the hardware business. Our core business has been and will be software.”

Still, Jolla has new device plans in the works too — leaning on the largess of the crowd to fund them. Last month it launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to build a tablet running its Sailfish OS.

The campaign met its initial funding target of $380,000 in a matter of hours, and went on to pull in more than $1.8 million from more than 13,000 backers — achieving two stretch goals to add in support for Micro SDHC user expandable storage up to 128GB and a split screen mode for running two apps simultaneously.

That crowdfunding raise is additional to the €34 million total external funding Jolla has so far raised.