Appcelerator launches fund to boost mobile startups

Appcelerator, a mobile cloud development platform, has been used by thousands of developers to create mobile apps. Now, the company is moving beyond creating tools for developers to actively backing some mobile startups with a new Innovation Fund.

The fund will target early-stage startups across the mobile spectrum, providing them with capital, engineering expertise, access to Appcelerator’s tools and a place to incubate the startup. The first startup is a mobile gaming platform maker Lanica, founded by Carlos Icaza, the former co-founder and CEO of Ansca Mobile, which developed the Corona cross-platform app development tool. The exact amount of the funding was not disclosed.

Icaza is teaming with Kota Iguchi, the former CEO of Japanese gaming company Infosia, to create a gaming engine that is built off Appcelerator’s Titanium platform and Appcelerator’s cloud services. Appcelerator has traditionally appealed more to enterprise customers but now it can offer to help those customers make games using Lanica’s technology. Lanica, which will offer a gaming platform that includes a physics engine and high-end graphics, has already signed up a big unnamed name company.

AppceleratorJeff Haynie, CEO of Appcelerator, who appeared at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference last month, said the goal of the fund is to encourage outside innovation from promising mobile developers. Lanica is appealing because it addresses an area that Appcelerator is not as strong. But not all portfolio companies will need to be built around Appcelerator’s platform. Haynie said Appcelerator will spend about $1 million to $2 million over the next couple years and has already started funding two other startups.

“We believe there’s a lot of great stuff happening outside of our four walls and we want to encourage that,” he said. “We want to promote anything that accelerates our ecosystem or mobile in general.”

The hope is that that by providing capital and housing the startups, Appcelerator can speed up the development process for startups. Lanica, for example, was able to get up and running in three months. Other developers who want more information about the Innovation Fund can reach out to Appcelerator at [email protected]

Appcelerator, which is used by more than 350,000 developers, has been used to build more than 50,000 iOS (s aapl), Android (s goog) and HTML5 apps.