With a talent war in Silicon Valley for the best developers going strong it’s common knowledge that finding good mobile developers is a problem. Xamarin, a company founded last May, has found that building open-source software development tools for people write code for mobile is a good bet.
The Boston-based startup plans to announce Tuesday that it has raised $12 million in a series A round from Charles River Ventures, Ignition Partners and Floodgate, which it will use to build a sales and marketing team and expand its product offerings.
As GigaOM wrote in December, Xamarin has been successful launching a service that helps developers write native apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and other mobile platforms, even if their expertise lies in developing for desktops or servers. Using the same language to write for iOS, Android, Windows and other operating systems makes it easier to update and maintain that code.
“We sell platform and developer tools that developers can use to build apps that are native on different devices, fast and smooth and scroll nicely, and yet also share code between these devices to reduce total amount of work you have to do,” explained CEO and co-founder Nat Friedman. He pointed to music startup Rdio as an example of a group that’s taken advantage of Xamarin’s products, noting that the resources have saved Rdio from writing an additional 100,000 lines of code across all its devices.
Xamarin has an interesting backstory, as it came from a group of developers who worked on Mono, the open-source implementation of the Microsoft .NET development framework, left Novell and launched Xamarin as their new home only days later.
Xamarin isn’t the only one taking this cross-platform approach to mobile development — there are plenty of companies providing similar services, including Rhomobile and Appcelerator. And even with those options, many developers will go the extra mile to build separate native apps for iOS and Android, believing that process produces a better quality product in the long run.
But Friedman said Xamarin has been successful so far, with rapid success among both consumer app startups and large corporate enterprises. He said Xamarin has 150,000 developers and more than 7,500 paying customers using its services, and it’s done “millions” in revenue so far.
“Bootstrapping is part of our culture now, so we’re cautious, we’re not reckless with money, and I hope we never will be,” Friedman said. “So we’re going to deploy this carefully, and if we do this right, we’ll never have to raise another round.”