Mobile App Development Startup Xamarin Lands $54M, Plans Global Expansion


Xamarin, a mobile application development startup that has grown very chummy with Microsoft, said Thursday it raised a $54 million Series C round.

San Francisco-based Xamarin lets developers build native iOS and Android apps using Microsoft's C# programming language. Microsoft doesn't currently offer such a tool, which is one of the big reasons why Xamarin has become popular in Microsoft's 6 million-strong global .NET developer community.

“If they want to own the hearts and minds of all developers, they have to get to all devices,” Xamarin co-founder and CEO Nat Friedman told Geekwire Thursday.

[Related: Microsoft Open Sources Some .NET Code, Launches .NET Foundation With Xamarin]

Rocky Lhotka, CTO of Magenic, a Minneapolis-based Microsoft development-focused partner, said Xamarin's popularity is all about making life more convenient for developers.

"We're all looking for a way to build enterprise mobile apps without having to write them and maintain them three times. Xamarin seems to be the leader when it comes to building native apps that run on iOS, Android and Windows," Lhotka said.

Xamarin formed an official partnership with Microsoft last November and was a central figure at the software giant's Build conference in April. Xamarin is working with Microsoft to open source more of its .NET code and other projects in the .NET Foundation, which also includes other industry partners.

CRN reported in March that Xamarin was talking with Microsoft about a strategic investment or acquisition. While that hasn't yet materialized, Xamarin is still one of Microsoft's most important partners, as its tools fit well with CEO Satya Nadella's push to bring Microsoft software to other platforms.

Xamarin also has partnerships with Salesforce.com, Samsung and SAP.

Xamarin previously raised $28 million in earlier funding rounds since its founding in 2011. The funding comes from new and existing investors, including Charles River Ventures, Floodgate, Ignition Partners, Insight Venture Partners and Lead Edge Capital.

Xamarin says 700,000 developers are now using its tools and claims to have customers in more than 150 countries worldwide. Like most startups that land massive funding rounds, Xamarin said in a press release that it plans to use the money to expand its international presence.

Some Microsoft partners believe a Xamarin acquisition may still be in the cards. One source told CRN Microsoft will have to either build its own tools that compete with Xamarin or pony up whatever it takes to acquire the startup.

For now, Xamarin is apparently focused on potentially making its own acquisitions.

"We may do a couple smaller acquisitions to help us solve problems for mobile developers," Friedman told Geekwire.

Xamarin in May acquired the Visual Studio division of Clarius Consulting, a Buenos Aires, Argentina-based .Net development firm. Clarius has built Visual Studio extensions for a number of high-profile clients and counts Microsoft as a customer.

PUBLISHED AUG. 21, 2014