Mithril, doubling down, leads $50 million investment in AppDirect-Reuters

(Reuters) – San Francisco-based AppDirect, which helps developers and businesses create, use and sell apps, said it raised another $50 million in a funding round led by Mithril Capital Management, the same firm in charge of its last round. The latest funding values AppDirect at $600 million, double the valuation when it raised $35 million in April. By doubling down, Mithril is making a big bet on the growth of apps, specialized software that users tap into via the Internet rather than through a specific computer. As part of the trend, also called cloud-based software, developers try to make sure the apps work seamlessly with smartphones. Last year, venture firms invested $2.89 billion in software, up from $2.41 billion the year before, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Software has led venture investing since 2008, the height of a clean-technology boom and a time when venture capitalists preferred industrial energy. From its founding in 2012, Mithril was seeking investments that benefit from the increasing tendency of companies to move software to the cloud, said partner Ajay Royan. However, he wanted to find new ideas within that well-trodden route. “You’re looking for something that is slightly hidden,” he said. “The secret that was hidden in plain sight.” He liked AppDirect in part because it makes it easy to tap into what he says is a quietly emerging trend that allows employees to use their own software at work, much as they now bring in their own computers and phones instead of using workplace hardware.
Continue reading "Mithril, doubling down, leads $50 million investment in AppDirect-Reuters"

Top 5 Apps of 2014

5. Evernote – It just keeps getting better. Simple UI for a complex app. Across all platforms.

4. Carousel –  not that the app is mind-blowingly great, but if you keep your photos in Dropbox, it does make life much better. Especially the latest update. Flashback is cool.

3. Headspace - Guided meditation… it’s a paid app after the first 10 days, and it’s one of those things that gets more valuable the longer you use it. 12 months in I value this app *far* more than the first month.

2. Inbox from Google – Still in beta, but there’s no way I’m going back to regular Gmail. Inbox brings a lot of the goodness of Google Now by surfacing what you need vs making you dig for what you need.

Which brings me to my number one App of 2015:

1. Android 5.0 – Lollipop. Yes, technically it’s not an App, but the whole OS works together to make your life better and easier. Google Now continues to be amazing – combined with Inbox and Google Calendar, it’s a major winning combo. And this is coming from a long term member of the Church of Apple. I really like the new UI as well, but that’s form, not function.

Honorable mention:
Mac OS X, Yosemite - Yeah, this isn’t an App either, but I think it’s definitely the best iteration of OS X since it was first released 14 years ago. Everything has been simplified, and it’s a delight to use. It also works seamlessly with my iPhone.

Uber - because I use it *all* the time.

Shameless Portfolio Promotion:

Peak - Addictive games that help with your memory (and I need a lot of help on that front), along with other cognitive abilities. Featured in Apple’s “Best of 2014″

Yplan- Best way to figure out what’s happening, and get yourself a ticket (maybe even a VIP ticket). Currently available in London, New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

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Mainframe2 nets $2.2 mln

Menlo Park, Calif-based Mainframe2, a cloud-based platform that gives developers and businesses a place to manage their apps, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding. Columbus Nova Technology Partners led the round. According to the firm, the capital will be used for customer acquisition and to accelerate development. PRESS RELEASE MENLO PARK, CA – November 19, 2014 – Mainframe2, a cloud computing innovator whose platform lets developers and businesses move Windows applications to the cloud and deliver them to any device, announced today it has closed $2.2 million in seed funding to accelerate development and expand its customer base. The investment was led by Columbus Nova Technology Partners, with participation from existing angel investors. “Hundreds of software vendors (ISVs) already use our revolutionary cloud service to transform their Windows desktop apps into Software-as-a-Service,” said Dr. Nikola Bozinovic, founder and CEO of Mainframe2. “New funding will enable us to expand the service to accommodate thousands of businesses and educational institutions that reached out asking to move their Windows apps to the cloud.” The company’s core technology enables any software to run in a browser, with no plugins required. Its cloud-based platform automates a slew of time-consuming tasks that are handled manually in traditional software virtualization environments, including: on-boarding new applications, provisioning compute resources, scaling, analytics and logs, software entitlement, and more. Mainframe2 also connects to third party components, like storage (e.g. Dropbox) or identity services (e.g. Active Directory), allowing businesses and developers to manage all their apps from a single elegant, cloud-based platform. Even graphics intensive applications run with stunning performance from the Mainframe2 visual cloud.
Mainframe2 will use the funds to continue building out its core cloud platform and app streaming technology, and to scale its operations and support infrastructure to meet the growing demand while continuing to deliver world-class support to its clients. “Mainframe2 is about freeing developers and businesses from the burdens of managing and distributing Windows software so that they can focus on innovation, not software administration,” said Dr. Bozinovic. “We are thrilled that our investors share our vision for the company and for what Mainframe2 can bring to the marketplace.” About Mainframe2
Mainframe2 is a cloud-based platform that gives developers and businesses a single place to manage their Windows apps — all online, from a single, elegant dashboard. Privately held and headquartered in Menlo Park, Mainframe2 is led by graphics industry veteran and founder Dr. Nikola Bozinovic. For more information, visit www.mainframe2.com

Flappy Bird’s creator swings higher

If you thought flying a Flappy Bird was fiendish, just wait until you try swooping Swing Copters. So say new addicts of the latest free app from cult Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, who this week overcame his famous revulsion at his previous creation to release what looks like another hit. Droves of instant Swing Copters devotees took to Twitter Friday to bemoan how guiding the propeller-headed hero through a landscape of deadly swinging obstacles was even closer to impossible than navigating Flappy Bird’s famously exasperating arrays of killer pipes. Continue reading: Flappy Bird’s creator swings higher

NEA backs mNectar

mNectar said Wednesday that it has closed $7 million in Series A financing from New Enterprise Associates. In addition to the funding, Rick Yang of NEA has been named to mNectar’s board of directors. Based in San Francisco, mNectar lets users sample apps before downloading or buying them. PRESS RELEASE SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jul 9, 2014) – mNectar today announced it raised $7 million in its Series A financing round from venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA). mNectar is a pioneer in mobile application virtualization and cloud delivery, allowing customers to sample apps before downloading. mNectar’s unique Playable technology drives higher ad revenue for app developers and higher quality users for mobile advertisers. Rick Yang, a principal from NEA’s Menlo Park division, joins mNectar’s Board of Directors. “mNectar has a rare combination of everything NEA looks for when partnering with a company,” said Yang. “The team’s impressive background, innovative technology, product market fit, and huge market opportunity are all validated by the rapid growth of delighted customers and consumers. We are extremely excited to team up with mNectar to bring virtualized apps to the mass market.” With the millions of apps available on the App Store and Google Play, new apps have difficulty gaining large user bases with high lifetime value. mNectar’s Playable platform helps app developers monetize and acquire quality users with playable ad units. Advertisers are able to vet users before paying to acquire them, ensuring high-quality users, while publishers benefit from attractive ads with high performance numbers. “mNectar is redefining how applications are discovered and engaged with,” said mNectar co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Wally Nguyen. “With the new funding, we will invest heavily in our infrastructure to continue to push the performance envelope of mobile content delivery and acceleration.” mNectar will use the investment to deepen its leadership, engineering and business teams with a focus on international expansion as the company grows its customer base worldwide. mNectar’s customers include Bash Gaming: a subsidiary of GSN, Big Fish Games, Buffalo Studios, Freshplanet, GREE, King Digital, Mag Interactive, Mobile Deluxe, MobilityWare, Social Gaming Network (SGN), Storm8, Wooga, Zeptolab and Zynga. Along with Nguyen, mNectar’s founding team includes Artem Grigoryan, Chief Technology Officer and Daniel Cheng, Chief Revenue Officer. Nguyen and Grigoryan previously worked together at Panther CDN, a next-generation content delivery network. Grigoryan and Cheng worked together at Greystripe, an early ad network for mobile that delivered interactive rich media for consumer brands. About mNectar
mNectar revolutionizes mobile app discovery by allowing customers to sample apps and games before downloading. Through its proprietary streaming and virtualization technology, mNectar has proven to drive higher ad revenue for publishers and higher quality users for advertisers, compared to interstitials and video advertising. mNectar’s customers include Bash Gaming: a subsidiary of GSN, Big Fish Games, Buffalo Studios, Freshplanet, GREE, King Digital, Mag Interactive, Mobile Deluxe, MobilityWare, Social Gaming Network (SGN), Storm8, Wooga, Zeptolab and Zynga. mNectar is funded by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and top app developers and is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.mnectar.com and follow mNectar on Facebook and Twitter. About NEA
New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With approximately $13 billion in committed capital, NEA invests in information technology, healthcare and energy technology companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm’s long track record of successful investing includes more than 175 portfolio company IPOs and more than 300 acquisitions. In the U.S., NEA has offices in Menlo Park, CA; Boston, MA; New York, NY; Chicago, IL; and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. In addition, New Enterprise Associates (India) Pvt. Ltd. has offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, India and New Enterprise Associates (Beijing), Ltd. has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, China. For additional information, visit www.nea.com.