Silicon Valley-based Cyanogen Inc, a leading mobile operating system (OS) developer which customises Google's Android OS for its clients, has raised $80 million from a group of investors in it Series C round of funding led by PremjiInvest, the personal investment vehicle of Wipro chairman Azim Premji.
The round also saw participation from new investors, including Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm (through Qualcomm Ventures), Telefónica Ventures, Smartfren Telecom, Index Ventures, Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, News Corp promoter Rupert Murdoch, Vivi Nevo and several yet to be announced partners, the company said.
Cyanogen added that existing investors Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures and Tencent Holdings Ltd also participated in the round.
The company will be using the money to hire people and accelerate the development of its open OS platform. With this new funding, it has raised a total of $110 million to date.
"We are committed to creating an open computing platform that fundamentally empowers the entire mobile ecosystem from developers to hardware makers and most importantly, consumers around the world and we are excited to have the backing of an amazingly diverse group of strategic investors who are supporting us in building a truly open Android," said Kirt McMaster, CEO of Cyanogen.
US-based Cyanogen is developing an alternative Android-based mobile operating system called Cyanogen OS. It has the features like personalisation, intuitive interface, speed, improved battery life and enhanced security. Cynogen's OS has over 50 million users in over 190 countries.
"We invested in Cyanogen because we are big proponents of what they are doing in opening up Android and supporting global and local ecosystem players," said Sandesh Patnam, technology sector lead of PremjiInvest.
"Cyanogen is well positioned to become the third leading mobile OS and we are excited to back them in growing their business on a global scale," he added.
"We see significant potential in the level of innovation that Cyanogen can enable through its open platform strategy. Cyanogen can address the needs of different audience segments through this approach of collaborating with global and regional developers and hardware makers at a deeper level," Nagraj Kashyap, senior vice president, Qualcomm Ventures, said.
For PremjiInvest, this comes as a second investment in a US-based firm within a month. Two weeks ago, it joined others in a $115 million investment round in California-based Zuora Inc which runs a software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based subscription billing and financial solutions venture. The investment was led by BlackRock, Passport Capital and Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com and also included several others besides PremjiInvest.
Last year, it invested in another US-based software firm Datastax Inc.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)