It seems that lately everything is becoming _____as-a-service. But a bit over a year ago, Kinvey launched out of Boston’s TechStars in order to do something different. Its goal has always been to turn the entire application backend into a service that’s readily accessible to developers at a price that they can afford. Today, the company is closing a $5 million A round in order to help bring that to reality.
In the time since the company’s launch, it has been working hard, gaining customers and growing to 14 employees with a goal of doubling its staff by the end of next year. It recently partnered with Cloud Foundry, in order to bring a more robust PaaS offering for mobile, Web and tablet applications.
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What’s probably most interesting about Kinvey’s approach, however, is its pricing. While there are other services on the market that can help to build apps quickly, Kinvey is taking a “success-based” look at how it charges developers who use the platform. As Sravish Sridhar, Founder and CEO of Kinvey, puts it:
“A success based pricing model around active users is a developer’s dream. It not only makes planning dead simple, but also gives developers a concise pricing metric, which directly aligns with growth goals.”
But it’s not an easy task to undertake, and it’s probably worth a bet that the $5 million Series A will go to help Kinvey make the model a more effective reality. Essentially the success-based model means that there isn’t assured money for Kinvey unless an app gets users. That’s a big gamble in a market that’s becoming increasingly crowded, but Sridhar told me (during a conversation at the GLUE Conference) that placing the right tools into the hands of the right developers is what will make the difference.
The other differentiating factor for Kinvey is how broad its reach extends. It’s common for development platforms to lock a team to only the tools that it provides. If you want to add more features or data, you’re going to have to go it alone. For Kinvey and Sridhar, “that’s wrong”:
“We want to free features and data from any source and make it available to applications in a unified fashion, by addressing the complexity ourselves. Developers can then focus on creating magic with Kinvey services, cloud APIs and legacy data, to deliver fantastic experiences to their users.”
The $5 million round is lead by Avalon Ventures, with Atlas Ventures in the mix as well. It adds to the $2 million seed round that the company raised in August of 2011, in which Atlas and SK Ventures took part. Sridhar tells me that it will give the company 2-3 more years of runway as it works toward making backend-as-a-service the de facto public or private platform for the next generation of mobile apps.