YC’s Parse Lets You Run Custom Code For Your Mobile Apps Without Worrying About The Server Stack

Parse, a Y Combinator-backed startup that makes it easier for mobile developers to handle their back-end infrastructure, is launching Cloud Code — a way to easily write custom code without worrying about servers.

“If you’re a social game and you need to calculate the top 10 scores every day for a leaderboard, or if you’re a chat application and want to let people manage their chat room, this lets you use snippets of JavaScript that run on our servers,” said co-founder Ilya Sukhar. “You don’t have to think about actual servers. We can handle the top-to-bottom integration.”

Developers use Parse to power their push notifications, manage user accounts and integrate with social networks like Facebook. Ultimately, they’re trying to build a service that helps developers avoid ever having to deploy or maintain a server-side stack. The company has 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.

Parse says it’s growing about 40 percent month-over-month and is aiming to support about 100,000 applications over the next six months. They’re already seeing about 100 million unique devices on the network with apps like Exec, 955 Dreams’ Band of the Day and Minecraft using the service. There are also bigger brands like the Food Network, Armani, Cadillac, Green Bay Packers, and Vevo. The company is still seeing a 3:1 ratio of iOS-to-Android devices on the platform, though.

Parse faces a number of backend-as-a-service (BaaS) providers like StackmobKinvey, FatFractal and Applicasa. But it’s particularly well-funded with $5.5 million in a round led by Ignition Partners, the same firm that led the Series B round for Heroku, another YC-backed, Rails back-end service that Salesforce bought for $212 million.