Summary:

Funambol’s first round of funding in four years comes just as mobile operators are mounting a challenge against the cloud storage services offered by Google, Microsoft and Apple. Funambol provides a white-label cross-platform service, which several of the big carriers have already tapped.

Funambol just got a $5.75 million vote of confidence that it can help mobile carriers that want to challenge the likes of Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive. The later-stage funding round was led by previous investors HIG Growth Capital, Nexit Ventures and Castile Ventures.

Funambol won’t just get the $5.75 million cash infusion -– its last round in 2008 raised $12.5 million -– it will also have access to a working capital line, which it will use to expand into new international markets. The company started out as a cross-platform mobile e-mail synchronization service, but it’s evolved into a white-label cloud services company that lets wireless and wireline operators, ISPs and device makers to launch their own branded cloud storage services.

It’s biggest growth, however, has been among mobile operators who are pitting Funambol’s platform against the growing number of “siloed” clouds that limit storage to particular set of devices, operating systems or apps. Funambol and its carrier partners figure that they can carve a niche for themselves by opening up cloud content storage to any device or platform.

Funambol has already signed deals with Sprint, Clearwire, Telefónica, BT and a handful of smaller international operators, but it’s biggest customer is still unnamed. Funambol claims that customer is among the global top 5 in both customers and revenues. The only operator to fit that definition besides Telefónica is either China Mobile or Vodafone.

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr user getinet

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