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Pebble raises $15M, launches SDK update for better smartwatch apps

Pebble Smartwatch CES Press Conference

After raising more than $10 million on Kickstarter, smartwatch maker Pebble announced today that it has received $15 million in first round funding from Charles River Ventures.

That’s a pretty hefty sum for a company that was initially shot down by VCs, a blow that led to the Kickstarter campaign, one of the first big crowdfunding success stories. But after nabbing around 85,000 orders on Kickstarter and successfully kicking off Pebble shipments (despite significant delays), it’s not surprising to see investors taking a second look.

Pebble says the funding will let it expand its software engineering team, scale for demand, and grow its open development platform. (I backed Pebble via Kickstarter and am still waiting for my watch.)

Pebble could be credited with kicking off the latest smartwatch craze — now Apple, Google, and several other companies are rumored to be working on similar devices. The Pebble communicates with your smartphone to show incoming calls, email messages, and calendar entries, and it can also run apps on its own. After launching its initial SDK for developers in March, the company is today releasing an updated SDK that allows for two-way communication between your smartwatch and smartphone. That means Pebble apps can now be built to remotely control your smartphones or other web-connected devices.

The company is also launching a Sports API for fitness apps, which would give developers the ability to connect their apps with the smartwatch similar to RunKeeper’s integration a few weeks ago.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat