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The people at Kinvey, a startup with a cloud service for constructing and running mobile applications, have watched competitors get acquired, one after another. Now some key investors are placing bets on the startup in a $10.8 million round Kinvey is announcing today.

NTT Docomo Ventures and Verizon Ventures are leading the round, acknowledging  that “mobile is driving the adoption of cloud in enterprises,” Kinvey’s chief executive, Sravish Sridhar, told VentureBeat in an interview.

Telecommunications companies like NTT or Verizon can provide businesses with virtual private networking (VPN) services and even devices, and Kinvey could chip in with a platform for developing mobile applications. Such a partnership would give the telecoms a way to capitalize on companies’ interest in building for mobile, just as Facebook, PayPal, and most recently Red Hat have done, by acquiring startups Parse, StackMob, and FeedHenry, respectively.

Meanwhile Kinvey could also be in a good spot because big technology companies seem to be on the verge of buying or building their way into the mobile-backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) market. That’s particularly true following the Red Hat deal, which became public last week and after it became clear that cloud giant Amazon Web Services was adding mobile-development features.


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“I’ve been saying this for three years,” Sridhar said. “I’m glad the market has finally come around. I think companies like Red Hat, Oracle, and IBM are starting to see enterprise IT wake up and say they need a mobile platform and say mobile is different than web. There’s significant dollars being spent.”

Which makes independent companies with mobile platforms like Kinvey — as well as AnyPresence, Appcelerator, Apstrata, CloudyRec, FatFractal, Kidozen, Kii, Kony, and Kumulos — look like partnership or even acquisition candidates.

Kinvey provides several tools that developers can use to build mobile applications easily: libraries for mobile platforms, integration with widely used database systems, lifecycle management, push notifications, analytics, a data store, a file store, and a content-distribution network. Customers can leave Kinvey to deploy their applications atop popular public clouds, or they can run applications in on-premises data centers.

Alongside NTT Docomo Ventures and Verizon Ventures, Avalon Ventures and Atlas Venture also participated in Kinvey’s new round, much of which will go toward marketing and selling Kinvey’s service to more companies.

Customers include Beerdog, Flooring America, Game Show Network, Johnson & Johnson, Macquarie Bank, Schneider Electric, and Vibram.

And VMware worked Kinvey’s platform into the mobile service it announced for the vCloud Air public cloud in August. Also, last year Kinvey announced a partnership with Google to integrate its platform with the Google App Engine platform as a service.

To date Boston-based Kinvey has raised $17.8 million, including a $2 million seed round in 2011 and a $5 million round in 2012.

Around 30 people work for the startup, and the tally should hit 50 over the next three quarters, Sridhar said.

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