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GetJar, The ‘Wal-Mart For Mobile Apps,’ Raises $11 Million

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Fast-growing mobile app store GetJar, which says it has had more than one billion apps downloaded from its store to date, making it second in size only to Apple’s app store, has raised $11 million in a second round of funding.

GetJar’s app store includes about 70,000 apps for all of the major mobile operating systems, including Apple’s, although CEO Ilja Laurs tells us that most of the company’s growth is coming from “open” platforms where there is less of an “established and convenient place” to get apps. He says the company, which he calls the “*Wal-Mart* for mobile apps,” will invest much of the new cash in building up its presence on the Android platform.

In recent months, GetJar has announced high-profile distribution deals with both Rogers and Sprint (NYSE: S), which now include prominent links to the GetJar app store on their mobile portals. Laurs says a new GetJar service, which has been used by companies including Facebook and Photobucket to alert visitors to their mobile sites that there’s an app they can use instead, has also been a source of growth. Most users, however, still access the store via GetJar’s own mobile site, usually referred there by friends who have already downloaded an app from GetJar.

GetJar, which is profitable, makes money by providing “premium visibility” on its store to developers who pay. All of the apps on the store are free, and Laurs says the company is not planning on changing that. “In the industry, applications are perceived as content, (but) we see applications as media just like website and televisions,” he says. “We believe media can only take off it it’s free for consumers. You don’t pay to visit websites.”

All of the new cash comes from Accel Partners, which was also the only investor in the first round GetJar raised in November 2007. This round brings GetJar’s total backing to $17 million.