BlackBerry is putting down some investment money to try to ensure app developers can more easily tap in to mobile networks’ resources.
Its BlackBerry Partners Fund is leading a $10 million VC round in Aepona, a Belfast company whose services let carriers expose some of their services as Web APIs.
Aepona’s previous investors Amadeus Capital Partners, Polaris Ventures, Innovacom, Nordic Venture Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures are also in on the round.
Aepona’s offerings are couched in typically impenetrable vendor descriptions, but basically let third-party developers tap in to carrier features like messaging, location and voice communications, plus their billing engine.
Building native network features in to apps could start to give the carriers a slice of the increasingly valuable market, rather than sitting on the sidelines and not monetising the pipe they’re providing between apps and users.
Aepona already has 20 networks aboard and runs the GSM Association’s OneAPI standard. BlackBerry says its services can be used by media companies and enterprise clients, and is investing because it reckons Aepona’s set for “significant growth”.
The company says it’s profitable and that revenue grew 50 percent last year. It will use the funds generally to “invest in additional sales and business development resources”.
This all comes at the same time the new Wholesale Applications Community is itself aiming to standardise distribution of apps to networks and harmonise standards for ensuring the networks can benefit from the take-off of apps.