US-based Cyanogen, maker of an alternative Android-based mobile operating system called Cyanogen OS, has announced the completion of a $80 million round of Series C financing. The company will leverage the infusion of new funding to hire talent and accelerate the development of its open OS platform.
The investment was led by Premji Invest and includes participation from new strategic investors Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm Incorporated, Telefónica Ventures, Smartfren Telecom, Index Ventures, Access Industries, Rupert Murdoch, Vivi Nevo, and several others undisclosed investors. Existing investors Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, and Tencent Holdings Ltd. also participated.
Till now, Cyanogen has received a total of $110 million in funding.
While earlier this open OS was opted by individuals who wanted more customization freedom on their Android phone, it picked up traction when handset makers started using it as the default OS in their phones. For instance, in China local phone makers are prohibited from using Google’s version of Android due to Government regulations. Chinese brands have to make their own custom Android ROM or co-opt an alternative like Cyanogen.
Cyanogen OS comes pre-installed on the OnePlus One smartphone and some Oppo model from China.
The company also turned its attention to India. Indian homegrown phone maker, Micromax had also signed a deal with Cyanogen for exclusive rights of CyanogenMod OS support and updates for the Indian customers and offers Micromax YU phone with the commercial version of Cyanogen’s operating system.
Cyanogen offers two versions of its own – the first is an open-source Android-based operating system called CyanogenMod and second is a commercial version for phone makers that includes various services from partners, named Cyanogen’s OS. It’s existing investor Tencent is also testing its own Android fork called Tencent OS.
“We’re committed to creating an open computing platform that fundamentally empowers the entire mobile ecosystem from developers to hardware makers, and most importantly, consumers around the world,” said Kirt McMaster, CEO of Cyanogen Inc. “We’re excited to have the backing of an amazingly diverse group of strategic investors who are supporting us in building a truly open Android.”