Sencha, the maker of a couple of application development platforms, including the recently launched Sencha Touch, said today that it has raised $14 million in a first round of funding.

The Palo Alto, Calif. company launched in 2007 with a tool for building business apps. Sencha Touch marks the company’s move into the mobile world — the new platform should allow companies to create websites that have most of the power of native applications built for devices like the iPhone. It takes advantage of HTML5, the powerful Web format that has been billed as an alternative to technologies like Adobe’s Flash, to native mobile applications, and even to desktop software.

Since a Sencha Touch “app” is a website, not a downloadable app, companies don’t have to build a completely new version for each device. And it also means companies aren’t subject to Apple’s approval — the App Store has a notoriously slow and unpredictable approval process, and Apple may also be blocking apps using cross-platform technologies (there’s some question of who will be affected).

Here’s more detail from Sencha’s blog post about the technology:

I won’t take this space to go over the entire feature list, but we feel confident that a majority of mobile apps today could be developed with Sencha Touch and deployed as pure web apps because they don’t need access to device capabilities like cameras or bluetooth. And let’s remind ourselves why web applications are amazing things. They work cross browser because they’re based on standards. You don’t need to update them. As a developer, you never need to worry about old versions that people won’t upgrade. They’re searchable and their content shows up in search engines, which do a far better job of figuring out what people mean than any app store hierarchy. Practically anyone can write them. And best of all, you can plug in multiple third party advertising, analytics, social connector, mashup, affiliate, etc. into your application trivially.

Renowned venture firm Sequoia Capital led the round, with participation from Radar Partners.

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