Android has been one of the most extraordinary software movements in history. When the product was launched in 2007, Andy Rubin and company radically transformed the mobile industry by open sourcing a powerful operating system that rivaled and, in some ways, improved upon iOS. Mobile handset manufacturers and carriers quickly latched onto this movement in an attempt to capitalize on the smartphone revolution and challenge the Apple iPhone. In a few short years, Android has became the leading smartphone operating system by market share and its influence continues to expand.
However, all was not well in the Android community. The handset manufactures and carriers, desperate to build “differentiated” products, took advantage of the open source nature of Android to build custom user experiences. Unfortunately for consumers, these efforts have been uneven at best. In many cases, these phones are loaded down with bloatware (which impacts performance), are missing key features and don’t enable users to fully customize their devices.
In 2009, increasingly frustrated by the software handset manufacturers and carriers were providing consumers, Steve Kondik created CyanogenMod (CM) – an open source mobile operating system based on Android – that provides full user control and a number of very cool features. What Steve started has grown into a full fledged movement. Tens of millions of people have installed CyanogenMod and today there is a vibrant community propelling the project forward at an ever increasing rate.
To support this movement, Steve Kondik, Koushik Dutta, Kirt McMaster and their team started Cyanogen – a company whose mission is to promote and support the development of CyanogenMod and its community. Their work, and that of the community of a whole, is helping accelerate device support and the development of great consumer features and services.
Earlier this year, Redpoint participated along with Benchmark Capital in a $7M Series A round to help get Cyanogen off the ground. Since that time, the team has grown significantly and they have made substantial additions to the product. In particular, this September, Cyanogen launched a “one-click” installer which dramatically simplifies the process required to install the software and brings it into the mainstream.
Today the company takes another big step forward by announcing a $23M Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Benchmark, Redpoint and Tencent. We are thrilled to welcome them and continue to work with the entire Cyanogen team to build the world’s best mobile operating system.