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Independent mobile app store GetJar announced it has grabbed $25 million in Series C funding as it looks to become the premier open Android (s goog) market. The San Mateo, Calif.-based start-up’s latest round was led by Tiger Global Management, and Accel Partners, which participated in earlier rounds, will also contribute. The latest investment brings GetJar’s total funding to $42 million.
GetJar said it will use the money to expand sales, marketing and engineering efforts as it works to build upon its 1.5 billion downloads to date. A key part of GetJar’s strategy is to ride the growth of Android, which is booming in sales and offers big opportunities for independent app markets. GetJar said it will aggressively expand its offering for Android publishers while still pursuing other platforms such as BlackBerry and iOS. In comparison, Apple, which boasts more than 300,000 apps, announced last month it eclipsed 10 billion in app downloads since launching its App Store in 2008.
GetJar’s growth comes as app stores proliferate, as they try to capitalize on an estimated $15 billion in app sales expected this year. Carriers and manufacturers are pursuing their own stores while big retailers like Amazon have announced plans (s amzn) for their own Android app markets. On Monday, the Wholesale Application Community, an alliance of dozens of carriers, announced the commercial launch of its app store. This isn’t even counting mobile app recommendation sites and apps like AppBrain and Appsfire, which are also driving mobile downloads. Everyone is trying to get a piece of the action that Apple (s aapl) and Google are seeing with their huge and fast-growing app stores. Apple, which boasts more than 300,000 apps, announced last month it eclipsed 10 billion in app downloads since launching its App Store in 2008.
With the app craze in full swing, it’s no surprise that GetJar is loading up on funding. It’s seen a lot of success building off the growth of Android. Last year, it won an exclusive to distribute Angry Birds on Android before the game moved to Android Market. While Android Market has improved a lot lately, including the announcement of new in-app purchase methods and a web storefront, GetJar still feels like it can flourish because it offers a lot of discovery options and has wider distribution globally.
I think there’s a lot of opportunity to be had in the app craze, though I expect Google is going to ratchet up its efforts to be the premier destination for Android app sales. That’s going to make it tougher for GetJar, Amazon and others to compete for Android app users. But if the mobile app boom continues as it does, there may be plenty of business to go around.
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