Modded Android OS Cyanogen raises US$80m in funding with Murdoch and Twitter

23 Mar 2015

The Cyanogen logo on a OnePlus One phone. Image via Cyril Gauthier/Flickr

Creators of the modded Android OS, Cyanogen, are gaining serious traction among the tech community after raising US$80m in funding with backers including Rupert Murdoch and Twitter.

Cyanogen was developed as an open source modification of Google’s Android OS by a number of software developers, but after gaining considerable popularity online, formed as a dedicated start-up in 2013 to push its OS to Android phones.

Perhaps its most well-known collaboration was with OnePlus, the Chinese smartphone start-up, that used their OS to launch with the OnePlus One, but the two have since gotten bogged down in arguments with the general consensus appearing to show that the two would part ways, despite agreeing to launch their version of Android Lollipop soon.

Regardless, a number of major players have felt that Cyanogen have a bright future ahead of them with backers of this round of funding including – aside from those already named – Qualcomm, Telefónica Ventures and Smartfren Telecom bringing their total investment to-date worth approximately US$110m, according to Re/code.

Can be the third-largest OS in the world

The company have been reaching out to some of the largest names in tech – most notably Microsoft and Amazon – about raising further funding, with a deal with Microsoft believed to have once been relatively close when they were in discussions earlier this year.

The company is expected to pump this new funding into getting a higher profile for themselves with phone manufacturers as well as improving the technical side of the business.

Speaking of the reason for making this US$80m investment, Sandesh Patnam of Premji Invest, who facilitated the funding from Twitter et al, believes the company are going places when it comes to developing a successful OS.

“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 Patnam. “Cyanogen is well positioned to become the third-leading mobile OS, and we’re excited to back them in growing their business on a global scale.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic