TriPlay Rakes In $5M And A New Oligarch Investor To Take Its Consumer Cloud To Europe + Asia

TriPlay, a U.S./Israeli-based developer of cloud services that lets people consume music and other media across different devices, is today announcing a Series C round of $5 million to take its technology into new and emerging markets in Asia and Europe, and hire more people, including a CMO. The $5 million comes from new investor Kenges Rakishev, a Kazakh businessman who has made millions in petrochemicals and more and is now using some of the proceeds to back tech companies. The company has raised $15 million to date, with other backers including angel investors and the CEO and founder Tamir Koch.

Users of TriPlay’s cross-platform streaming services number in the hundreds of thousands of users; with partners like Pelephone Musix and Conduit SendSMS, the figure goes up to 11.8 million. Now, the idea behind extending to emerging markets is that smartphone and tablet takeup is in earlier stages, which feature phones still driving sales for companies like Samsung and Nokia. This is rapidly changing, and given that smartphones and tablets have been major driver for cloud service uptake, it’s a good moment to pick up new users who are just starting to need those kinds of solutions.

That opportunity is one of the things that caught the eye of Rakishev. “TriPlay is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the growth in mobile usage and global demand for cloud services,” he said in a statement. Rakishev’s other investments include Net Element, which publishes a number of mobile sites but is also now planning to launch a mobile commerce service in Eastern Europe, so you can see the investment pattern here. Rakishev sits on the board of both companies.

While companies like Apple and Google have been developing their own cloud-storage and access services to complement their larger mobile businesses, TriPlay has benefitted from others having less developed strategies. Its flagship product, MyMusicCloud, has had particularly strong pick-up among BlackBerry users, helped in part because it was a featured app on RIM’s App World; it is also the only music-synching service preloaded on Toshiba’s tablets and personal computers. It integrates Dropbox and Google Drive among its storage options. At the moment, TriPlay says that Android and BlackBerry are its top-two most popular platforms for usage, but it benefits in general from fragmentation in the market, with users (Apple fanboys and girls excluded) rarely looking only to one platform for all their products.

CEO Tamir Koch says the company will also be looking for more partnerships with local players as part of its growth. TriPlay is the third startup founded by Koch: Orca Interactive was sold to Emblaze in 2000; Dotomi was sold to ValueClick in 2011.

In addition to letting users stream and update music collections across connected devices, MyMusicCloud also offers a catalog of 11 million songs, song lyrics and ringtones. Users can use the the service to share music on Facebook. The service supports 23 different languages.

MyDigipack, meanwhile, is a photo storing and sharing service that works much the same way as the music offering. It opened in beta earlier this year.