Nextbit just finished a round of Series A funding and raised $18M from the likes of Google Ventures and Accel. Tom Moss, a big player in developing relationships between OEMs and wireless carriers when Android first launched, has partnered with Mike Chan, who was a Senior Software Engineer at Google, to build Nextbit into...something. Even though they just raised a pile of money and plan to use it to hire more engineers for the project, they are keeping their lips sealed about what exactly they are doing.
Nextbit is being referred as a stealth company, but we don't think they are actually working stealth technology. They are working on something that they want to keep under wraps. The two company founders fear that competitors might steal their idea. "We are actually working on something really hard," says Chan. "We wanted to make sure we wouldn't have the stress of raising money while we're building it." Knowing that both Moss and Chan have worked on Android in the past makes us even more interested in this new project.
Even the name "Nextbit" tells us nothing about what the company could be. The logo on the company site is a sheep, and the About section on their site just says the team is "building the groundbreaking technology that will take [mobile] to the next level." The project might launch this year, and the Series A funding also brings with it some new additions to the Nextbit board. Rich Miner of Google Ventures and Rich Wong from Accel will now be helping to guide the Nextbit team toward their ultimate goal, whatever that ends up being.
Moss believes that mobile technology can still be improved upon, from a foundation level. "A lot of people assume core mobile technology is done because it's so much better than it was in 2010," Moss said. "But you could have said the same thing about the Apple IIe and look at where we are today. Mobile still has a long way to go." Chan has similar ideas about changing the mobile OS landscape at the core level. We do know though, that Nextbit is not an Android fork. Moss also invests in other Android-related companies like CyanogenMod, and Nextbit doesn't compete with those companies either. Whatever it is that they are working on, we are very interested to find out about it.