Smartphone Operating System Maker Cyanogen Lands $80M Series C

Cyanogen, the mobile operating system developer attempting to rival Google and Apple, is planning to make new hires and further develop its open platform after receiving $80 million of Series C funding.

Its new investors are a mix of high-profile individuals, as well as A-list companies and venture firms. Premji Invest, the venture arm of Indian IT billionaire Azim Premji, led the round, which includes investments from Twitter’s venture branch, San Diego-based Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), Telefónica’s venture business, and Rupert Murdoch, among others.

“Cyanogen is well positioned to become the third leading mobile OS, and we’re excited to back them in growing their business on a global scale,” said Sandesh Patnam, technology sector Lead of Premji Invest, in a statement released Monday.

The company, which has offices in Seattle and Palo Alto, CA, built its open-source operating system based on the Android platform developed by Google, and intends to be a direct competitor for operating systems such as Google’s version of Android and Apple’s iOS. Having received $110 million in total funding since it was founded in 2013 (founder Steve Kondik started work on the system in 2009), the company said it has several yet-to-be-announced partners as it builds an operating system that is open and customizable for the user.

Cyanogen is working on having some basic apps already installed, according to Forbes, which first reported the news. The company may create a partnership with Microsoft that would take advantage of multiple services from the software giant, including include tools such as search engine Bing, Outlook, and Skype, among others, Forbes reported, citing sources. Cyanogen also plans to sell a smartphone with those services included later this year, Forbes reported.

Cyanogen’s other investors in this round include Smartfren Telecom, Index Ventures, Access Industries (the US-based industrial group headed by Len Blavatnik), and Vivi Nevo. Previous investors Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, and Tencent Holdings also participated in the new round, the company said.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

Trending on Xconomy