Xamarin, the popular service for building cross-platform native applications, today announced that it has raised a $54 million Series C round led by a combination of new and existing investors. As far as we are aware, that’s the largest round ever raised by a mobile app development platform.
The company tells me that the biggest new investor in this round is Insight Venture Partners. All of Xamarin’s existing investors, including Floodgate, Charles River Ventures and Ignition partners, exercised their pro-rata rights and many put in significantly more. Xamarin specifically called out Lead Edge, which invested in the company’s $16 million Series B round last year and went in a lot stronger in this round.
As Xamarin’s CEO and co-founder Nat Friedman told me earlier this week, the company decided to raise a new round this year because the team believes that while the company has seen triple-digit growth every single year since it was founded in 2011, the time to accelerate this growth even more is now. Not only is the climate for fundraising great right now, Friedman argued, but he also believes that the company should capitalize on what he believes is a huge opportunity for Xamarin. As much of our computer usage moves to mobile, Friedman believes that the company that builds the best mobile development tools today will be able to offer the best development platform across all platforms in five years or so.
“Over the last 18 months or so, we’ve been working to capitalize on the tremendous success we’ve had with our platform,” Friedman told me. “But we’ve also been expanding our product portfolio to address new parts of the mobile apps life cycle.” And that’s where the company plans to focus on going forward. While Friedman wasn’t quite ready to delve into any upcoming products, he did note that the strategy will be similar to what Xamarin did with its testing tools in recent months.
“We will be strategic and look at the areas where mobile developers have pain and where there are big opportunities where there isn’t a great existing solution in the market,” he said. “We did that with testing, because there wasn’t a great solution in the market.” Xamarin.forms, an API for building cross-platform user interfaces that launched with Xamarin 3 earlier this year, is also a good example of this. Traditionally, Xamarin apps always shared a code base, but developers still had to craft separate native user interfaces for their applications.
Besides building its own tools, though, Xamarin will also look into making more acquisitions going forward to be able to get new products into the market quickly.
Xamarin also plans to use its new funds to expand its international operations, specifically in Europe, where the company currently has a small presence, but which generates 35 percent of its business already. Friedman believes there is still a lot of untapped potential for Xamarin there, as well as in Asia — and specifically China, though Friedman admitted that’s a tough market to enter.