Fuse Raises $2.8M For Design-Centric App Development Platform

Fuse, an Oslo and now Palo Alto-based startup offering a iOS and Android app development platform, emerged from stealth today while also announcing $2.8 million in new funding as it heads to launch. The funding was led by investor Northzone, a Nordic firm and Spotify backer. The company is also backed by Alliance Venture and other private investors.

The Fuse platform has been in private alpha testing for over a year, but will launch into beta later in 2015.

The startup was founded three years ago by CEO Anders Lassen, who previously worked at ARM (by way of acquisition), and CTO Morten Fornes. Many of the team also came over from ARM, too, Lassen says.

The idea with Fuse is to offer developers a platform that makes it easier and quicker to build mobile applications for both iOS and Android in parallel. It’s a challenge many others have taken on before, but one that no one has yet really “cracked,” says Lassen. He notes that today, around half of all apps are still made natively for both platforms, which indicates the failure of cross-platform solutions to really take over the market.

“The mobile app industry in general and in particular custom app development is exploding. Some numbers claimed that throughout 2014, it grew by 100% per quarter,” Lassen explains. “And in all this growth, the industry has accepted that they have to make parallel versions of apps for iOS and Android in order to get a good enough product.”

With Fuse, he wants to change that.

When building apps today, developers and designers begin with wireframes and mockups of their app concepts, which then have to be recreated with code when it’s time to actually begin the building process. But Fuse instead offers a different workflow where a WYSIWYG editor, similar to other popular prototyping tools, allows designers to take a bigger part of the overall app building process. Except now, instead of building prototypes, designers are actually creating user interfaces and motion that can be used in the app.

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The platform then has a dialect of C# where developers can write logic, and it can export native code to iOS and Android. The same code can also be exported to JavaScript, and render graphics through WebGL. However, Fuse’s main focus is mobile.

“You can create the actual user interfaces either through code or an XML markup language – the visual editor is basically a fancy editor for the XML,” says Lassen.

The company has been testing the platform with a handful of developers who have been piloting the alpha version of the service, which the CEO claims can be used for anything from games like “Candy Crush” up to enterprise applications, or even early stage startups looking to quickly test their concepts on both app stores.

Fuse pricing will be on a freemium basis, but the specifics around that are still to be determined.

With the additional funding, Fuse is now preparing to launch into beta in Q1. It’s also expanding its U.S. presence with the addition of the Palo Alto office, which will be headed up by Sumi Lim, previously of Samsung, Adobe and Papaya Mobile.

Including previous funding rounds, the company has now raised $7 million to date.

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