A number of high-level investors, including Tomorrow Ventures, the investment arm of Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, and BlackBerry Partners Fund has invested in PocketGear, an independent app store that claims to have twice as many free and paid titles as its competitor GetJar, which claims 70,000 free apps. The second round of funding totaling $15 million was led by Trident Capital.
The Durham, N.C.-based company has a long history of selling applications. In June 2008, PocketGear was spun off from Motricity and raised $3.2 million from Noro-Moseley Partners and Wakefield Group, which were the original backers of Motricity. In February, it acquired Handango, another player in the space. What’s a little ironic about this funding is that PocketGear has a longer history in selling applications than the two platforms associated with its investors — Android and BlackBerry. Both players are still have a long way in improving the shopping experiences in both Android Market and BlackBerry App World.
PocketGear specializes in powering storefronts for its 40-or-so partners, including handset-makers and carriers. In addition it operates a handful of consumer properties, like Handango.com, PocketGear.com, SymbianGear.com, AndroidGear.com, and RIMGear.com. In a release, PocketGear’s President and CEO Jud Bowman, said: “The mobile application marketplace is exploding and we are very excited about the opportunity to use this funding to help our expanding network of service provider, OEM and media company partners efficiently bring new revenue generating services and devices to market more quickly and easily.” The funding will help pay for additional marketing and international expansion to take advantage of the application frenzy.