Buddy Platform Open for Business, Raises $1M for App Backend Service

Buddy Platform, a Kirkland, WA-based startup that sells back-end services for mobile apps, is now open for business and says it has raised $1 million from investors.

The company was founded by two former Microsofties, David McLauchlan and Jeff MacDuff. Their investors include Transmedia Capital and Crestlight Venture Productions, along with angel investors.

The startup says it has some 6,000 customers who were added through a beta-testing period. Buddy didn’t say how many of them are paying customers, but CEO McLauchlan says most of Buddy’s customers qualify for its current offer (through August) of free service for fewer than 2 million calls per month to its application programming interface.

The idea is relatively simple. App developers may be great at crafting a mobile app that does all sorts of cool things for users, but that doesn’t mean they’re great at plugging the creation into the online services that run behind the scenes—providing maps, purchasing functions, and more.

Buddy and companies like it offer software that developers can easily link to their otherwise complete app—meaning they get their product shipped without having to hire a server-side developer to finish the job. Buddy says its developer customers are building thousands of apps across an array of platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Facebook, and Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

Buddy Platform certainly faces plenty of competition. As the number of mobile apps and devices continues to expand, a bevy of startups are jockeying to give app developers software tools that make their job easier.

The field includes all-in-one backend services like Buddy and others attacking a similar niche, including Parse, Stackmob (both based in San Francisco) and Cambridge, MA-based Kinvey. Other companies, like Portland, OR-based Urban Airship, focus on providing a specific piece of the app infrastructure—in Urban Airship’s case, “push” advertising messages. McLauchlan says Urban Airship is more of a partner—Buddy Platform refers people looking for in-app purchase services to them, for example.

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