Progress Buys Mobile Backend Company Kinvey for $49M

[Updated 6/29/17, 8:33 am. See below.] Kinvey, one of the early players in mobile backend services, has been acquired by Progress for $49 million in cash.

Progress, a 36-year-old software firm, has for years offered products and services for building, deploying, and managing business applications. Lately, it’s been focusing on making those tools more robust and sophisticated—a “cognitive-first strategy,” the company calls it.

The Kinvey deal is part of that effort. It’s the second acquisition in three months under new CEO Yogesh Gupta (pictured above). In March, the Bedford, MA-based firm (NASDAQ: PRGS) acquired Redwood City, CA-based DataRPM for $30 million. That company’s machine learning tools aim to predict when industrial machines will fail, which can help businesses save money.

Boston-based Kinvey handles the server-side software that acts as the backbone for mobile applications. So, instead of writing and managing their own code, app developers can essentially outsource things like databases, libraries, analytics, and user authentication to someone else and pay as they go.

Founded in 2010, Kinvey’s software powers more than 31,000 apps used by more than 100 million people, according to a press release. That includes consumer and business apps for insurance, manufacturing, and media companies, as well as HIPAA-compliant apps for healthcare.

Mobile backend services have become a crowded field over the past few years, with competition between startups and big companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.

Kinvey has had its ups and downs. The Techstars Boston alum raised at least $17.8 million from investors; its last announced funding round was a $10.8 million Series B in 2014. The company went through layoffs in early 2016 before apparently righting the ship and ramping its staff back up, BostInno reported in November. (The company currently has 31 employees, BostInno reported Wednesday.) Kinvey was considering raising a $14.1 million round of funding last fall, according to an SEC filing, but the records don’t show if it closed that deal. [This paragraph updated with latest reported employee count.]

Now, Kinvey joins Progress, which already offered backend application services, but clearly sees an opportunity to strengthen its capabilities. Progress says the addition of Kinvey makes its application development offerings more comprehensive, cutting across front-end and backend tools, as well as predictive analytics and data connectivity technologies.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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