How Parse wants to make mobile backends easy

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Ah, summer. ‘Tis the season for long weekends, leisurely lunches, leaving work at 5 p.m., and general relaxation.

That is, of course, unless you’re one of the four co-founders of San Francisco-based startup Parse, a software platform that adds a cloud component to any mobile app. Part of Y Combinator’s summer 2011 class — and with a month to go until the official YC incubation period is over — Parse has already debuted in private beta and is gaining increasing amounts of traction by the hour.

Evidently, June and July 2011 were nothing but work for Parse’s founding team. But in an interview last week, co-founders James Yu and Tikhon Bernstam said they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Parse makes software platforms that allow mobile app developers to store their data on servers without having to configure server-side code or worry about deployment and maintenance. With its software development kits (SDKs) for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system, Parse purports to “provide all the server-side functionality developers need for rich, Internet-enabled applications.” Essentially, Yu and Bernstam told me, what Heroku does for web apps, Parse does for mobile apps.

I got Yu and Bernstam to give GigaOM readers their elevator pitch, which you can check out here:

Parse is not without its competitors: Kinvey and Stackmob are both attempting to solve the same problem. Parse says it’s set apart by being simple on the surface with the most capabilities under the hood. “We just think we have the easiest and best experience for developers and the best documentation,” Bernstam said. “For us, it’s all about minimum configuration. Our philosophy is that you can type in a few lines of our code, hit run, and start saving data to our servers.”

Along with Bernstam who previously co-founded Scribd, and Yu who was Scribd’s first engineer, Parse’s founding team is rounded out by Ilya Sukhar, who was employee number one at Etacts which was acquired by Salesforce , and Kevin Lacker, a former Google engineer who previously co-founded a social gaming startup called Gamador.

With a rockstar founding team and the booming economy for mobile apps creating a growing market for app developer services, it’s no surprise that Parse has already proven hugely attractive to investors. The company has already taken on $1.1 million in funding from a cohort of backers that includes Y-Combinator, Google Ventures, Menlo Ventures, and Ron Conway’s SV Angel, to name a few.

While Parse is sure to attract acquisition interest in short order, the company’s co-founders told me they’re not interested in a quick flip. “We’re really trying to build an amazing platform for developers. We’re all engineers, and we’ve all felt this same pain,” Yu said. “Given the reaction so far, it would just be a shame to sell it right away. We’re all really passionate about this big vision. We think this idea is huge.”


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