Cyanogen Gets $23 Million in Funding, Ponders a Future in TV, Cars and Wearables


Three months ago the CyanogenMod team had announced that they are incorporating themselves into a company and will be taking their custom ROM -based off of the latest official Google Android iterations – commercial. Since then we have seen much activity from the Cyanogen camp, including their innovative tie-up with Chinese manufacturer Oppo for releasing a limited edition Cyanogen device – the Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Edition. In the latest news from the Cyanogen team, they seem to be getting their stuff in order and their coffers filled up to expand into other horizons -including TVs, cars and wearable devices.

For the uninitiated, the Android ecosystem is open source and as such developers have access to all the code they need to create unofficial custom ROMs. CyanogenMod is one of the most widely known custom ROMs with "tens of millions of installs", which offers users the freedom from unpredictable and much delayed carrier and manufacturer upgrade cycles, as well as offers custom features which are not present in vanilla versions of Android.


Steve Kondik aka Cyanogen, the lead developer who developed CyanogenMod in 2009, is now the CTO of Cyanogen Inc. He says that "We feel that the existing devices you can currently buy aren't really designed for the end-user. They're essentially designed as cash registers for the companies that make them," he further adds that "A lot of people are starting to mistrust the software and devices that they use because of that fact. It's an opportunity for us to make really good software."

Presently a team of 22 people constitutes Cyanogen Inc, which the CEO Kirk McMaster, intends to remedy in the next six months' time. At the time of their founding, Cyanogen had managed to fund $7 million for expanding their business.  With the help of VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, they have added another $23 million to their funds, which will be used by McMaster to acquire talent and help the company expand into other devices, including TVs, cards and wearables.



Presently Cyanogen does not have a clear-cut strategy to monetize their OS; however they are looking into a freemium model wherein they plan to charge for certain premium services or apps. Steve Kondik believes that this can be attained by adding more users to their already extensive user base and is focusing primarily on consumers in China, US and Europe. Cyanogen hopes to reach 100 million users in the next 8-12 months, which would entice other developers to start building for an app store they plan to launch. With developers building apps for their brand, Cyanogen hopes its expansion plans will be smooth sailing.

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My involvement with Android - as a fan and user - started in 2009-10 when I had dual-booted Android 2.2 Froyo on my SE Xperia X1. I have been following the rapid (and much deserved) rise of Android since then and have been rooting and flashing every android phone I could get my hands on. A self-proclaimed tech expert, in my free time I catch up on my reading and play with my one-year-old daughter.

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