Cyanogen rakes in $80 million in funding from Twitter, Qualcomm, Telefónica, and more

In a round of Series C financing, Cyanogen has raised $80 million in funding for their alternative Android OS, CyanogenMod. The company intends to use the influx of cash "to hire talent and accelerate the development of its open OS platform.

The funding round brought in the investment arms of several large companies across the telecom and web industries, including Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm, and Telefónica Ventures. Existing investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Tencent Holdings also pitched in more money. Notably absent was Microsoft, who after sustained rumors declined to participate in the funding round (they've got their own mobile OS competing with Google's Android to take care of, after all). It's interesting to note that with Microsoft's rumored participation the funding round was expected to raise $110 million, but without Microsoft (and possibly other unnamed firms that opted not to become investors in Cyanogen), $80 million was raised instead. That's no small number, of course, and it'll still do Cyanogen well to have that kind of cash on hand.

CyanogenMod is available freely for nearly 300 devices, and is pre-installed on the OnePlus One and Alcatel OneTouch Hero 2+.

Press release:

Cyanogen Raises $80 Million in Series C Funding

Ecosystem Rallies Behind Cyanogen's Open OS Vision

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - March 23, 2015) - Cyanogen Inc., a leading mobile operating system pure-play, announced the completion of an $80 million round of Series C financing. With offices in Palo Alto and Seattle, the company will leverage the infusion of new funding to hire talent and accelerate the development of its open OS platform.

The financing was led by Premji Invest and includes participation from new strategic investors Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm Incorporated, Telefónica Ventures, Smartfren Telecom, Index Ventures, Access Industries (the US-based industrial group headed by Len Blavatnik), Rupert Murdoch, Vivi Nevo, and several yet to be announced partners. Existing investors Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, and Tencent Holdings Ltd. also participated.

"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."

"We invested in Cyanogen because we're big proponents of what they're doing in opening up Android and supporting global and local ecosystem players," said Sandesh Patnam, Technology Sector Lead of Premji Invest. "Cyanogen is well positioned to become the 3rd leading mobile OS, and we're excited to back them in growing their business on a global scale."

To date, Cyanogen has received a total of $110 million in funding. Cyanogen is known for both its commercial distribution, Cyanogen OS, and open-source project CyanogenMod.

Derek Kessler

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm (the old one), and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.