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Typesafe, a maker of software development tools for the Scala programming language, has raised $3 million in a first round of funding.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based company is also introducing today its open source Typesafe Stack, which integrates the most recent releases of the Scala programming language, Akka middleware and development tools. That makes it easier to develop software with Scala, which takes advantage of multicore hardware and cloud computing. Scala is used by some of the world’s highest-trafficked web properties such as Foursquare, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Multicore processors and cloud computing offer a lot of benefits for speeding up performance and allowing lots of users to use software at the same time. But it requires programming tricks to take advantage of them. That’s where the open-source Scala comes in. Scala is the foundation for building apps that are used by millions upon millions of users.
Greylock, the investment firm whose roster includes LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, made the investment. Cambridge, Mas.-based Typesafe makes money via commercial support and maintenance options through a subscription service. Martin Odersky, chief executive of Typesafe, created the Scala (which stands for scalable language) programming language in 2001 at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and launched it seven years ago. It runs on top of the Java Virtual Machine and is interoperable with Java.
“The previous generation application architecture came from sequential computing and it is running out of steam,” said Odersky. “With Typesafe, we’re introducing a modern software architecture that is designed for parallel and distributed computing, bringing huge advantages in scalability and reliability.”
Greylock partner Bill Kaiser, who made his bet on open source as an early investor in Red Hat, said that computing is entering the era of “big cores,” meaning lots of cores, or computing brains, on a single chip. And there are lots of chips inside servers, which are the computing machines inside data centers that keep huge internet web sites running. Kaiser said Scala is the only proven alternative that can handle the challenges of multicore and cloud computing. Typesafe, Kaiser says, can take Scala to the mainstream and thereby help protect the billions of dollars that corporations have invested in java.
Chris Conrad, engineering manager at LinkedIn, says Scala is a powerful programming tool that offers scalability and efficiency. He is glad to see the creators of Scala launch Typesafe so that they can invest in the next generation of the programming language.
Alex Payne, former platform lead at Twitter and chief technology officer of online banking firm BankSimple, said that Scala played a critical role in improving the scalability and reliability of Twitter’s backend services (which have had to handle huge computing loads as more and more users sign up for the service).
The company named Java creator James Gosling and Java concurrency expert Doug Lea to its board of advisors. Willy Zwaenepoel, a parallel computing expert, has also joined the advisory board. Odersky co-founded Typesafe this year with Jonas Bonér, creator of Akka. The company has 12 employees.
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