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Nukona sign at the Citrix Startup AcceleratorThis post is sponsored by Citrix.

When Nukona, an early-stage startup focused on mobile app management, got acquired by Symantec this week, it was the conclusion of a rapid development and launch cycle helped in large part by an investment from the Citrix Startup Accelerator.

“It takes a community to help ideas grow and bloom into successful businesses,” said Nukona founder and chief executive Chris Perrett. Citrix helped provide that community, Perrett said, as well as “social credibility” that gave the startup a leg up in securing business deals.

Nukona was founded in July, 2010, hired its first employees in December of that year, and launched in January, 2011. A little more than a year later, the company was acquired by Symantec (terms were not disclosed).

Nukona raised about $1 million in overall capital from various angels as well as the Citrix Startup Accelerator. The Accelerator provided more than just working capital, however: Citrix provides the portfolio companies with shared office space in Santa Clara and access to Citrix experts who can help advise the fledgling companies, make introductions, and in some cases lead them to their next investment rounds or to acquisition.

Nukona moved into the Accelerator in July, 2011. From that time on, Perrett said, Citrix advisors spent time with the company, asked questions that helped shape their business strategy, and shared contacts that opened doors for them.

The company was one of a dozen startups picked last year to join the first class in the Citrix Startup Accelerator. Each one received between $100,000 and $400,000 in investment from the company, office space, and access to the Citrix customer base.

“This is our external innovation engine,” said Jeremiah Shackleford of Citrix.

The company is currently accepting applications for the next round of investments, and hopes to place 12 more by the end of year. Qualifying companies do not need to be closely aligned with the Citrix business of virtualization, but they do need to be enterprise-oriented, early-stage companies that could benefit from a strategic alignment with Citrix.

Interested companies can apply to the Citrix Startup Accelerator online. In addition, Citrix is sponsoring a startup competition called the Startup.Synergy Challenge, at its upcoming Synergy 2012 conference. That competition offers a $100,000 prize to the winning company. The event will also include demos from the current crop of Accelerator companies, so you can see some of the fruits of Citrix’s investments.

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