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As the number of apps, and the amount of investment in apps, both continue to grow, startups that focus on optimizing how they are created and distributed are getting a lot of attention from the investment community, too. The latest example of this is the Dutch-based Service2Media — a develop-once, deploy-everywhere provider — which today is announcing a funding round of $10 million.
This current round is led by Prime Ventures and Private Plus Fund, which is managed by Newion Investments. It looks like the third round of funding for Service2Media, which picked up €1.3 million ($1.9 million) from LAB Venture Capital in 2007, and an undisclosed amount from the Private Plus Fund in 2009.
Service2Media’s main line of business is offering a platform to third-party publishers so that they can make their apps work across multiple operating systems at a lower cost than developing each version individually. Current customers include media companies like CNN, Al Jazeera and Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK), as well a financial institutions like RaboBank and utility companies.
Building apps to run across different native systems is not a unique idea, and seemingly dozens of other companies offering comparable solutions for developers — they include Titanium from Appcelerator and products from Rhomobile.
However, Geert Kolthof, the CEO, tells mocoNews that his company is now taking this model one step further, offering a version of its platform that people can access as a cloud-based product, for a potentially lower cost than the full-service solution offered by Service2Media today, yet still retaining all the customizable features of the existing product.
Platforms supported by the company today include all of today’s “major” platforms for smartphones, says Kolthof. They include iOS from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Android from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and BlackBerry, as well as Nokia’s Symbian and Microsoft’s Windows Phone platforms. WebOS and HTML5, he says, are still being worked on, “although we don’t see these as a big opportunity right now.”
Specifically, in contrast to Service2Media’s primary focus on apps that have long “lifecycles” — for example, news apps that get refreshed regularly and used over potentially longer periods of time — Kolthof says that apps developed today for HTML5 has been primarily based on “disposable ” content. And one of the biggest limits, he says, is how HTML5 apps have not been able yet to make full use of the smartphone’s best features, such as cameras and accelerometers.
Perhaps those limits are almost welcome by content players today, though: “The biggest challenge for publishers today is that they see so much happening in this market,” he says. “They’re just trying to deal with that.”