Stackmob, a cloud platform for mobile developers built in the mold of Heroku, has raised $7.5 million in a Series A round as it ramps up its offering for mobile developers. The new money, led by Trinity Ventures, will help the company expand and push toward a public launch later this year.
San Francisco-based Stackmob offers mobile developers a back-end cloud platform that allows them to easily build, deploy and manage their applications without having to fuss with many of the infrastructure issues that can plague startups. That means developers can spend less time building out the basic services that most mobile apps have anyway and focus on a differentiated experience. Especially with many startups scrambling to add talent, StackMob allows them to avoid having to hire as big a team.
“We see ourselves as the experienced back end for the masses. Everyone forgets how early we are in mobile. There will be great ideas out there but people don’t know how to implement the back end,” said CEO and co-founder Ty Amell.
StackMob offers things like simple API creation and management, social integration, messaging and analytics. Monetization tools are coming shortly. Startups tie into StackMob’s platform and they don’t have to build those services themselves. They still need to hold on to some back-end programmers, but they don’t need the same number of employees working on infrastructure.
So far, StackMob has been in private beta with about 200 iOS apps on the platform. Amell said the company, which has a wait list of thousands, is preparing to open up later this year when it starts supporting Android. While StackMob builds out most of its services, it will likely need to partner for some things like location. Amell said the company is looking to integrate data from Simple Geo or Location Labs for that.
StackMob has been compared to Heroku, a Ruby on Rails cloud platform that has caught on with web developers. It’s not coincidental. Some of StackMob’s original seed investors — Harrison Metal and Baseline Ventures — were also funders of Heroku, which has been bought by Salesforce. Harrison Metal founder Michael Dearing will be joined on the StackMob board by Dan Scholnick, general partner at Trinity Ventures.
StackMob could be a major success if it follows in the footsteps of Heroku. There’s a lot of opportunity in helping power apps, and there are very few tools like this for mobile developers in particular. By empowering developers, StackMob can help apps go from ideas to real software much faster and can give rise to a lot more start-ups that don’t have enough technical talent but have some interesting takes for their apps. Amell is right, it’s still early in mobile and platforms like StackMob could ensure that the app boom continues to explode well into the future.