Dev

Xamarin takes $12M to solve the mobile developer shortage

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Can’t find a good developer to work on your smartphone app? Join the club, pally.

In fact, the mobile developer shortage of ’12 is so dire that a bunch of VCs just lobbed — lobbed, I tell you — $12 million at Xamarin to address the crisis the only way that startup knows how: with technology.

Xamarin is the current home of Mono — not the disease, the kinda sorta open-source project that allows for cross-platform development between Microsoft technologies, Android, iOS, etc. Mono has been in development for more than a decade, but the developers who created it founded Xamarin just last year.

(Parenthetical history lesson: The Xamarin team was, back in 2000, the Ximian team. Ximian was where Mono was born and bred, but that company was acquired by Novell in 2003. When Novell itself was acquired in 2011, a bunch of folks got pink slips, including the guys who first cooked up Mono. So they took the project with them and founded the new company, Xamarin.)

In its first year, the startup has signed up 150,000 developers to use Xamarin’s Mono products, and 7,500 of those devs are paying customers, as well, which adds up to “millions of dollars in revenue,” according to co-founder Nat Friedman.

So, what’s all that got to do with the mobile dev shortage?

“Enterprises face a severe shortage of mobile developers as pressures from BYOD [bring your own device] escalate and as mobile becomes a strategic customer engagement channel,” said International Data Corporation researcher Al Hilwa in a statement on today’s funding. “Technologies that leverage large existing ecosystems of developer skills are exactly what enterprises need to support multiple device platforms productively.”

In other words, if you make it easy for an old-school .NET developer to build Android and iOS apps without having to relearn everything he already knows for a new ecosystem, we all profit. Especially Xamarin.

Today, the startup is announcing it’s taken a grand total of $12 million in venture capital from Charles River Ventures, Ignition Partners, and Floodgate. This is Xamarin’s first institutional round of funding.

The startup is based in Boston, Mass., and its clients run the gamut from megacorporation National Instruments to music startup Rdio.

Top image courtesy of igor1308, Shutterstock


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