Cyanogen goes commercial: $7 million raised, partnership with hardware maker to be announced soon

by: Bogdan PetrovanSeptember 18, 2013

cyanogen team

The rumors were true – Steve Kondik, Koushik Dutta, and the rest of the gang at CyanogenMod have established their own company. Their ambitious goal? To make the popular aftermarket firmware the third option, in a market that is heavily dominated by Android and iOS. While that sounds like a starry eyed endeavor, the firmware already has 8 million users, without counting those who choose not to report statistics.

$7 million raised, 2 offices, 17 employees

Kondik, who created CyanogenMod in 2009, said in a blog post that the new Cyanogen Inc. company raised a total of $7 million from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures back in April. Since then, the startup has hired developers (the team is now 17 strong) and opened offices in Seattle and Palo Alto.

According to Kondik and Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster cited by The Verge, the first goal of the company is to simplify as much as possible the process of installing CyanogenMod, which, in its current form is “pretty brutal”. The first result of this effort will be a CyanogenMod installer app that will become available in the Play Store “in the next few weeks”.

The other big development is a partnership with a manufacturer maker, that Cyanogen will announce “in a week or so”. The team also thinks about rebranding next year.

The pace of development has really accelerated for CyanogenMod in the past few weeks, with developments such as a new camera app, a slew of security features, and integration with Chromecast. Security and productivity are two areas on which the Cyanogen Inc team plans to focus.

Needs Google's blessing

Despite the team’s public commitment to keep CyanogenMod free, questions abound around the new startup’s plans for monetization. Also, a commercial CyanogenMod backed by a hardware manufacturer could be perceived as a threat by Google, who, so far, has largely ignored the growth of CyanogenMod. Because Google doesn’t open source its apps and services, such as Gmail, Maps, and others, Cyanogen would need Google’s certification to ship software with Google apps on board. It’s not clear yet what Cyanogen plans in this area.


  • dogulas

    Oppo could be the hardware partner maybe? Would be sweet.

    • blanco112

      my first thought as well.

    • Luka Mlinar

      It would make sense. <3 OPPO

  • JosephHindy

    So anyone remember that breakfast Koush had with Google about the Chromecast thing a while ago?

    How much you wanna bet it had something to do with this ;)

    • There’s nothing like a free breakfast ;)

    • dogulas

      I wonder. But he said in the reddit thread that they tried to hire him there. And he let slip that they had huge investors.

      You mean you wonder if they suggested he do this after he turned them down? Or that maybe this was his response to Google?

      • JosephHindy

        I was referring to the Chromecast support in CM. Can’t have Chromecast support without Google approval eh?

  • Nathan Borup

    its totally going to be motorola :P

    • Dey Anand

      ohh u mean Google’s Motorola ? :P

    • lil bit

      …What?? I hope im right in thinking that was irony.

      If its a tier one manufacturer it has to be Sony, they are the only ones who goes to lengths to support open source, but it isnt them this time. Probably ZTE or some other more “adventurous” manufacturer, ZTE have the skills to maneuver fast and can easily pull this off on short notice.

      • ninjawarren

        Sony would be fantastic, since they’ve even made some of their own commits on CM’s Github, but you’re right that it’s more likely to be ZTE or OPPO.

  • Ares

    stupid google.
    google should have hire them.

    • vaghoust

      Why to spy us even more?Google is an add company,this is a company of good developers with good purpose that I would follow.

      • Peter

        (clears throat) Um, it’s “ad” and not “add.”

        • Mike Reid

          They add ads to the Internet. :)

        • vaghoust

          do you type with your throat?

      • Amine Elouakil

        “good developers with good purpose” words from a naïf man.
        They want your money as anyone does, and that’s one of the main reason they are not labelling their company as non lucratif.

        • Abdel Aziz Farhi

          OFC they do.. You expect a group of men to work their butts off and spend money from their pockets just to satisfy your needs regarding your smartphone.. If they come up with something better then both stock android and modified ones such as touch-wiz then i’ll be more then happy to use one of their products.. I’m paying money ether ways :)

          • blahblah

            What exactly do they “spend money from their pockets” for? It doesn’t cost money to write code last time I checked…..

            They do it for free, it costs them nothing to write code. To charge for their ROM would be like any developer charging you for their builds. It’s not legally or morally right.

          • Abdel Aziz Farhi

            If so.. Quite your job or what ever you do in your life and spend time writing codes for us :). Though there is something you will need to worry about, While you’re doing that think of a way to make money in order to live. Time is money and they’re dedicating time to make this happen.

  • Balraj

    Google must buy cyanogenmod team or help it grow under control
    I just hope by this new strategy..cyanogenmod will be available to many more devices rather then just high end

    • A.M

      no not high end devices they are available to low end devices as well you must not remember CM7 – CM10.2

  • NeedName

    I wouldn’t mind paying a few bucks per upgrade, as I stated in the past, for CM. . . just make it work perfectly on the devices you charge for the upgrade, and make it uber easy to install.

  • gommer strike

    I have to say it.

    The chick in the photo’s cute.

    • chump

      Sure, if you have a fetish for underage looking chicks. i.e. paedophile

      • weed

        Have something to hide by projecting your feelings to others? What a pervert you are, disgusting. The girl is kinda pretty and obvious well above 20, and dont worry, she wouldnt like you anyway, noone does.

      • gommer strike

        you need to broaden your cultural mindset more. the young lady is asian and obviously above the age of 20.

    • smokebomb

      Both are

    • Ben de Guzman

      asian girls ftw

  • Sañket Shah

    Project nemesis might be to rescue for the google apps

  • Benjamin

    CM is real good! If CM and Google were to join force, they will certainly be unbeatable.

  • Christian Koch

    If they manage to get a one-click installer that works on 90% of the phones, they probably won’t even need much hardware support.
    Cyanogenmod is way better than vanilla android, even when it comes to battery, some good advertisement and open bootloaders and they might pull it off.

  • Knightpt

    Google will eventually just buy them if they become too important and anoying or even remotely a “threat” ;)

  • wezi427

    I think a lot people will be turned off by this.

  • giorgi darbaidze

    I wish to see CM on my device without loosing warranty on it.
    Sounds very promising!

  • raju


  • arana

    its not like a third OS, more like an android Variant (as if it was android plus or something)

  • Ray

    Eventually, CyanogenMod will become an evil empire like the rest.

  • Ray

    3rd most popular operating system? Isn’t it based on Android OS? lol

  • lol

    This is horrible.

  • jacknjill

    booooooooooooo. totally over cyanogen, i hope google gets your buts.