Cloud-based services marketplace firm AppDirect has raised $8.5 million in expansion capital from existing investors, including iNovia Capital. The company says it will used the proceeds of this Series A financing round to launch a number of partner marketplaces around the globe.

AppDirect raised $3.25 million in seed funding from iNovia and Stingray Digital in May 2011, so this round brings its total capital raised to $11.75 million.

The San Francisco company aims to improve the way businesses discover, purchase, and manage cloud-based software applications, operating a platform that powers a global network of branded app stores.

For example, AppDirect recently partnered with European telco juggernaut Deutsche Telekom to power its new Business Marketplace for SMB customers.

Competing services include GetApp and Jamcracker but also Google’s Apps Marketplace and Salesforce.com’s AppExchange, among others.

Update: in addition to the financing round, AppDirect this morning announced that it powers Rackspace’s Cloud Tools Marketplace, which is is now available to more than 180,000 Rackspace customers worldwide.

From the press release:

The Cloud Tools Marketplace offers a full range of tools and add-ons that help customers get the most from the Rackspace Cloud, from billing and file management solutions, to online backup applications and more.

A range of business-critical applications have been fully integrated into the marketplace, including New Relic, SendGrid, Standing Cloud and more. In addition, the marketplace offers over 100 other leading solutions for customers to browse and review.